Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Problem of Fatness

Too many of us are suffering it, this time of year. But what few realize is what an insideous problem it is year 'round, for the humble piano teacher. Oh, there are a few blessed with overactive thyroids and genetically hyperactive nervous systems, who manage to remain little sparrows through thousands of lessons. But they're in the minority.

As one trained in performance, I'd never had much of a weight problem. Only after about four years of teaching fulltime, did I begin to notice disturbing developments, yonder. The most notable was the addition of a round sort of appendage directly above my lap; in fact, it seemed to sit on that lap whenever one sat down. Admittedly, it did make a nice, dignified resting shelf for folded hands while one stood, but bending over to pick up a dropped pencil had become problematic.

And so, as middle-age approached, war was declared on the Problem of Fatness. (The current war hadn't begun yet, so there were funds.)

First target was the coffee. It was stripped of its enhancements in a single strike. Then all fats were thrown in the slammer, no habeus corpus. Daily walks in brisk marching time were undertaken with gusto, and the regime was strictly observed for four months.

Nothing budged.

Evidently, this was a far more complicated conflict than what had been anticipated, and could only be brought under control via a troop surge of formidable proportions. Venerably pear-shaped pedagogues would hereinafter consume the day's primary meal--generally protein and a salad--in the early afternoon before teaching began, and the evening meal would consist of celery or a piece
of apple. But ONLY after a Jane Fonda or Paula Abdul workout had been completed.

Finally, af
ter three months, the pounds began to shed. Three of them. What was with this body? Was it STUCK? This war was not going at all like the pundits had said it should.

An urgent call went out for private contractors, recruited from an infommercial on late-night TV. Though expensive, they provided a state-of-the-art arsenal of deadly fat-burning capsules that Melanie Griffith swore would destroy the insurgents.

And wouldn't you know, Melanie was right. Within a month, suffering nary casualty nor side effect, our long-suffering soldier had dropped twenty pounds, KERBLAM. It was Shock and Awe's finest hour. The Evildoers had been wiped off of the map. The masses cheered. But the fireworks had only begun, folks. Never, ever underestimate the power of American advanced technology.

As time progressed and all remaining insurgents were obliterated, some rather disturbing collateral damage began to surface in the Press. Whenever Miss Priss sat down, the jolt of bones hitting chair harkened for her visions of Auschwitz. Then there was the matter of the numb feet. "Now, why would my feet be going numb, when they get so much healthy exercise?" she would ask. A team of investigators tried repeatedly to discover the actual ingredients in the deadly fat-burning capsules, but the contractors responded only with a stern, "State Secret!" Executive Order had forbidden public inquiry, citing Security concerns.

And then the suicide bombers began. While eating peanut butter toast and salad one day, our heroine suddenly became aware of a rock of some sort, rolling around in her mouth. Next she knew, she was staring in disbelief at a chunk of a molar sitting in her palm. A crater lay where healthy tooth once had grown and prospered. The following week, it happened again. The Shock and Awe campaign had spilled over into the homes of innocent civilians, and Miss Priss was hot on her way to looking like a meth junkie.

As this was a simple person, rather than an unwieldy nation, it took no debate whatsoever to enact a prompt, thorough troop withdrawal. Major disarmament treaties were signed, and all WMDs were thrown in the garbage.

If piano teachers can't stay trim through regular healthy exercise and diet, then perhaps they might simply try to enjoy the extra padding? Fat was once considered a sign of wealth, afterall, and there are a whole lot of people in Africa and India who'd give their eye teeth and even a molar or two, to have some of it.

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