In a stirring monologue from the film “Big Daddy,” Adam Sandler poetically laments to his surrogate child the slow, agonizing degradation of the human shell:
“When I was your age, I could eat anything I want and wouldn’t gain an ounce. Now, I have a chocolate shake and my ass jiggles for like a week.”
I was fourteen when I saw “Big Daddy” in the theater, and I laughed at this line. I laughed. Oh, if I could only see myself now.
Because, you see, I’m there. I feel like this has been the year of no return. I’m thirty-three now, and while I’m not exactly Antoine Von Livinghabits, I like to think I lead a moderate lifestyle—certainly more moderate than in my twenties, when my main source of exercise was the occasional sprint from the late-night bar to the imminently departing last train. (Those nights may well have taken years off my life.) But my body’s acting like a spiteful teenage son or daughter, impervious to my best attempts to make good. “YOU’RE TOO LATE,” it seems to say. “NOW GET OUT OF MY ROOM.”
That is to say, uh, I’m getting a little doughy.
Like, take yesterday. For breakfast, I ate a small leftover scone from the delicious batch my wife made over the weekend. Indulgent? Slightly. But it was small, and I think some of the more contentious, complex carbohydratious ingredients had been swapped with oatmeal. For lunch, I had a nutritious vegetable-and-egg scramble. Good, right? And for dinner, well, we were out of the Elements of Cooking, so my wife splurged and bought each of us a calzone from New York Pizza, and while the restaurant doesn’t quite earn its name, it does make calzones that are roughly the size of New Hampshire. So yeah, it’s not like I’m on a diet.
But listen, man. I used to put away an entire one of those NH calzones on the regular. They were like aspirin to me. Last night I was like, “Oh, dear, there’s still more calzone left. I’d better leave an entire half of it and save it for tomorrow’s lunch.”
Also yesterday, I jogged a mile, did a hundred push-ups (going all the way down), and about sixty reps of an exercise I don’t know the name of where you plant your upper back on a yoga ball and raise your hips from the floor to that level, giving your ass the flexing of a lifetime. All of these are things that, if you told me to do them when I was twenty-four, I wouldn’t have been your friend. Plus I hydrated like a champ all day.
Today I woke up and went out to the couch to watch a video of Texas Senator Ted Cruz defending his shitty self to a reporter (our bedroom is a wifi dead zone, due, I theorize, to its original layers of lead paint dating back to the fifties—I can only hope this comes in handy when they drop the big one), and I looked down from my phone screen at one point and noticed that my thighs were squooging out of my boxer legholes like rolled-up sleeping bags squooging out of sleeping bag straps. I poked one of them and it was like poking a finger into a merengue pie topping. Just no resistance at all.
“Aw, come on!” I screamed. A starling outside the window flapped away with a start, kicking up a little eruption of twigs and leaves. Then Ted Cruz said this was no time for politics, people were suffering, and I screamed again.
Ah well, at least I don’t have any illegitimate children.