Sorry, this isn't going to be as exciting as some superhero origin story. I wasn't bitten by a manatee, nor was I inspired to eat by a bag of potato chips crashing through my window at night. No, my transformation from a scrawny dude with a gut to a full-on fatass was a much longer process, and happened so slowly that I felt like a casual smack user waking up and discovering that I was an addict.
First off, from puberty on, I have always had a gut. My arms and legs were scrawny, but I still had a little bulbous bag of fat protruding under my chest. I never even noticed until one time I was at my friend's house and he decided that we should work out. I took my shirt off and him and his asshole brother both started laughing at my gut, immediately giving me a complex (I got revenge by not becoming an alcoholic and just in general being more successful in life. FUCK YOU, BUDDY). From puberty to my mid-twenties, I'd had pretty much the same overall shape. Thin arms and legs and a gut of varying sizes. It was never really anything for me to take notice of, since my clothing never hugged it and my pant size stayed in the 32" range. Then, all of a sudden, a perfect storm of events happened:
1. I became a library tech, and spent most of my time at work sitting down.
If you work in a library it's almost by design that as you move up the ladder and get paid more you start having to do less moving around. That in combination with continuous birthday pot lucks, candy jars, and other button-bursting bullshit leads one down the path of expanded waists and fuller faces.
2. I stopped walking to places and relied more on driving.
I used to love going for walks. For a while it was by necessity because if I needed to go to a video store I couldn't always depend on a ride there, but when I got a car I started getting lazy. Why spend half an hour on a walk when I can get the movie in ten minutes? Sadly, my reliance on a car instead of my feet also took away an activity that felt meditative most of the time and kept me in generally good health.
3. I spent hours upon hours on the internet, in addition to the hours I spent watching movies.
I used to brag about not watching TV, all the while being planted firmly on my ass clicking away on a keyboard. If I turned on the TV at all, it was to pop in a movie, one of the arts I'm the most passionate about. So after a work day of sitting down, I would sit in my car to drive home, only to come in and sit on a chair to go online, or sit on my bed to watch a movie. Seriously, it's like I was picking hobbies that would specifically limit the amount of movement I had to do. Hell, I love writing, and that activity only requires the slightest finger movements.
4. I felt less guilt, and in fact took a degree of pride in, being able to eat an entire bag of chips.
Instead of feeling some justified shame that I could finish an entire jumbo-sized bag of Doritos in one sitting, I pounded my chest in pride about it. Look at how talented I am at mashing up and swallowing large amount of cheese flavored corn! Hey, it was a weird time in my life. Doritos were like corn angels that used my tongue as a water slide down my throat, leaving a cheesy film in their paths. I can't stress enough how much I fucking love those chips.
5. I stopped going to clubs entirely, which was my only form of exercise at that point.
My favorite dance clubs in LA stopped existing, and I started feeling a tad on the old side for it. I'll still go out every now and then, but my enthusiasm has tapered off considerably. If I'm going to be perfectly honest here, being in a relationship did take away some of my desire to hit up mediocre night spots where the primary purpose was meeting people for either sex, love, or both. It's like pulling teeth to get me to go to the few good night spots I know about just because I'm so out of the loop that I feel like an outsider there. Plus I don't drink anymore. So there went the one exercise I was sure to do at least once a week, but usually twice.
So for a few years I started eating more crap, and the majority of my time was either sitting in a car, sitting at a desk, sitting in front of a computer, or sitting in front of a TV. At that point my ass started taking on a Persistence of Time quality as it dangled loosely off the sides of my seat. Ok, maybe it never got that bad, but the point remains: I got fat and gross. Hell, you could hear my goddamn breathing, need I say more? My girlfriend and I started dieting, and by starving myself and exercising like a madman I was able to drop 50 pounds. Granted, I gained almost all of it back in the span of a couple years, but that's life for you. Being fat is no fun, especially if you're not into Hawaiian shirts and your body's all out of proportion. Some people can wear a suit of fat well, but I'm not one of those people since my body takes on a Weeble-esque appearance. I'm not as fat as I once was, but similar to my constant battles with trying to learn French and Spanish, the fat battle rages on.