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Tony Kornheiser

Oh, for Heaven's Sake, I Have One Foot on the Scale, Not in the Grave

October 11, 2000|Tony Kornheiser

Recently, I ran into a woman I hadn't seen in a few months. I greeted her enthusiastically. She stepped back and looked me over, and said hesitatingly, "You've lost weight?"

But while her voice said, "You've lost weight," I was quite sure from her intonation that what she was really saying was, "Are you ill?"

I assured her I was trying to lose weight. I'd been schvitzing like a cockapoo on a treadmill five times a week since January. And I'd gone down 10 or 12 pounds and a full notch on my belt, which felt sweet--although probably not as sweet as waking up next to Anna Nicole Smith.

"Oh," the woman said with noticeable relief. "Well, you look great."

But I knew what she was thinking. I could see it in her eyes: He's dying. I ought to put in a bid on his house.

"Really, you look 15 years younger," she said.

Please. The last decade, I've lost 10 pounds of hair alone. I'm Baldio, not Fabio. She's only saying I look 15 years younger to smooth over the situation. I couldn't look 15 years younger if I went to Costco and bought plastic surgery in bulk.

And I am by no means gaunt, thin or even slender. I am still a flabby tub of goo. But now when I walk into a room, the lamps don't jiggle. Clearly, though, I've reached that age where losing weight makes folks nervous. Where I see the possibility of wearing size 36 pants, they see hospice care.

My colleague, Michael "I Brake for Trunk Shows" Wilbon has shed 25 pounds. None of his clothes fit. "It's getting to the point where I'm going to have to wear a rope around my pants, like Ellie Mae," he said. This could be a financial tragedy for Wilbon. If he doesn't start chowing down again, he'll have to scrap his current wardrobe. He's looking at a net loss of $400,000 worth of Italian designer suits. The way I see it, it's either cannoli or Canali for Wilbon.

But enough about Wilbon. Let's get the focus back where it belongs: on me. A couple of weeks ago I did a TV show. Imagine my shock the next morning as I was listening to the radio and I heard the host say, "Did you see Tony Kornheiser on ESPN yesterday? He's lost a lot of weight. He looks terrible. He was wearing a shirt where the collar was three sizes too big. He looked like he had a puppet's head."

I worked hard to lose 10 or 12 pounds. I started to run last winter when I couldn't fasten my size 38 pants, and I couldn't bring myself to go to Macy's and ask for the "elastic department." I bought a treadmill, and I walk 15 minutes, run 25 and walk five. My goal is to sweat so much that if I dropped a transistor radio at my feet I'd electrocute myself.

My friend Nancy believes my losing weight is symptomatic of something larger. "I think you're going through a midlife crisis--but you're too self-absorbed to know it."

I asked Nancy for the prime signs of a midlife crisis.

"A man in a midlife crisis gets a brand-new wardrobe," Nancy said. "That's why you've lost the weight. So you could get all black clothes with tomato red accessories."

So I could look like a 1974 Chevy Impala?

I told her I wasn't having a midlife crisis. I drive a Cadillac. Nobody in midlife drives a Cadillac. By driving a Cadillac and going to sleep at 9:30 every night, if I have any kind of life crisis, I've got an afterlife crisis.

I just got frightened when I realized my greatest pleasure was to be able to unbutton my pants. So I began running. I didn't change my eating habits. In fact, I began running so I didn't have to change my eating habits. Now that I've lost 12 pounds, I'm eating Haagen Dazs and Cadbury chocolate bars like wild. If stop running, I'll weigh 240 by Halloween. And then I'll fit into Wilbon's old clothes.

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