I Don’t Know Who the Fat Guy Is

In the story, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, I write about a time when I was able to do something beyond my natural strength and ability when my brother, Ken, got hurt water skiing. This story is one about a skiing weekend where I had sub-human strength, and luckily wasn’t required to save anyone!  The picture below is how things looked to me for a good part of the weekend, as I waited for the boat to come back.

We were on vacation, and one of our stops was at a lake where we’d arranged to meet my brother and some of my cousins for a weekend of camping and waterskiing. We had a blast, but I had a problem in the skiing department; for some reason that weekend I wasn’t able to get up on one ski. After numerous tries, Ken swung around, tossed me the second ski, and told me to get up on two skis then kick one off. Getting up on two skis is much easier, and though I didn’t like the idea of having to stoop to such an amateurish tactic, I reluctantly agreed.

I popped up on the first try, kicked a ski off, and went for a short run. It was short, because after having spent so much energy trying to get up on one ski—not to mention I was really out of shape—I was quickly exhausted. (There’s a reason I was so out of shape and easily exhausted, and you can read about it in my story, The Old Man And The Tree.)

We’d been home a week or so and were showing some friends pictures of our trip, and when we came to the one of the group at the lake, my wife asked me to name all my relatives in the picture. I named each one, but a big round-faced guy in the middle of the group stumped me, and I said, “I don’t know who the fat guy is.” My wife elbowed me, and I gave her a “look”. She just smiled and told me to continue.

Later, alone with her in the kitchen, I asked her why she’d elbowed me. She looked at me, eyes wide, and whispered, “The fat guy in the picture…” She searched my eyes then finished, “Is you.”

I stared at her with a look that said, “Frankly, my dear, you’ve lost your mind,” then marched into the living room, snatched up the packet of photos, and rifled through the pictures. When I found the group photo, my eyes went straight to the fat guy.

In my mind I screamed, OH-MY-GAWD!


Sharing this story on Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. Check out Kellie’s fabulous new book of down home style poetry, Magic in the Backyard. <– click


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Hate it when I get that picture and see myslef!!! Loved the visual!!!

    • I’m a bit camera shy these days. It’d take a big boat to get me out of the water!

  2. Raivenne said

    Interesting… A couple of years ago, I had a similar situation but in reverse. Looking over high school yearbook with friends I did not recognize the shapely teenage girl in leotard for a dance recital. My friend thought I was joking at first and had a good laugh when she realized I was serious. I have been a plus-sized woman for so long, I no longer recognized the smaller girl I used to be. I don’t know how you feel about being fat now, especially given your logging history. I can honestly say I am so much happier with my Rubenesque self now, than I ever was back then in that picture of perfect health.

    Perspective indeed is everything.

    • I fought the battle of my bulge for years, and finally decided this is who I am. I feel good, I’m happy, and I am never sick. I could go on–get all riled up aout the healthcare and pharmaceutical crap–but I think you understand. I am totally okay with my size. I’m a BBWG! HA!

  3. Susan said

    Ha! You are quite a goober!

  4. terri0729 said

    Love coming to see what your take on the prompt is each week Charlie!!! marvelous, refreshing and always a joy 😉

  5. Haha wonderful write but I too have that OMG feeling when looking at myself in pics and realize I am that obese person.

  6. Deborah said

    Only ONE of the reasons I’m looking for a little kid photo of myself for all profile pics! Love your stories.

  7. Just so you know, Charles… I always click “Like” before I read your posts because i KNOW I am in for something entertaining. =) This was again one of those that made me giggle and this time for personal reasons. I have always battled my weight and one summer, all because I was “in love” with this cute guy, I nearly starved myself to lose weight so he would like me (he never did). I managed to keep the weight off for a few years and looking back on pictures of myself was embarrassing! I swore i’d never get fat again…but, I did lol. Anyway, I know that shock of seeing yourself like that all too well.
    I was very happy to have you back this week, sorry I scared you off with last week’s prompt but, I really do encourage you to watch the video even if you don’t want to write for it…it’s just beautiful and I’m sure you would enjoy it. =)

    Thanks for writing for me and sharing your story. I enjoyed it so much, as I always do.


    • Thank you, Kellie. I might watch the video one of these days, but, with the exception of when I’m writing, 30 minutes is a long time for me to sit still!
      As for diets, the last time I did one was a no fat jobber, and I had to have mygall bladder removed as a result. Same thing happened to my mom. I decided this is just me. I won’t let myself get any bigger, and I exercise a lot, but no more diets!

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