suitup,

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“Hi Doctor. You dress beautifully of course.. however a question i have that comes to mind every time i see you and begs an answer. That question is..

When do you intend losing around 100Kg. It would make a great difference to your look.. besides promising the possibility of a much longer and healthier lifestyle

Meant with respect.”

First let’s rewrite this this email to what it is truly asking.  “Hi, you dress really well but you are ugly because you are fat.  When are you going to make me, an anonymous online presence, happy by acceding to my personal and society in general’s standards of beauty?  If you don’t, you’ll probably be dead within a week.  I respect you.”

One of the most amazing aspects of the English language is when you caveat disrespectful comments with the words “meant with respect”, It simply negates any negative repercussions.  Phew!  my feelings were like this close to being hurt but now that you said that you meant to hurt me nicely, I’m almost ebullient!  My first thought was “Ugh, why is Donald Trump writing to me again?“

So a quick metric review for those of us who are Americans. 100kg is approximately equal to 220lbs.  So either 1) this man thinks I am an overly-sartorial giant on top of a beanstalk made of Super 150s wool or 2) He’s actually a Smurf that can’t grasp the nature of weight at human scale. Currently, me losing 100kg would leave me around 22kg or 50lbs.  Given that my head would not shrink, and it’s too big anyway, I’m estimating that 80% of my body weight would be my skull. I admit I am confused as to how approaching the physique of E.T. or Gollum after he fell into Mount Doom’s volcano would dramatically help my look.  It’s like saying “Look I don’t mean any disrespect but don’t you think you would look better as a victim of famine or maybe Sauron?”

And is it me or is the tone of his email akin to how you ask your dying elderly grandmother’s doctor her prognosis? “How much longer does she have to live doc?” said in that tentative breathless whisper over her deathbed.  “Well,” he would respond, “she’s fat, so probably not too much longer…”

Now the question itself, while simplistic, is rather bold in its sentiment. "When do you intend losing around 100Kg.” with a period, not a question mark.  The implication being that this has been on my calendar for years and I just keep forgetting to do it.  Is it my fault that I find myself inexplicably smoking the free-based crystalized remnants of Cherry Popsicles (I don’t do the grape though, I haven’t fallen that far yet) and snorting lines of crushed Wonder Bread?  I’m just a man damn it!  Well, a fat man.

But I forget, this man cares about me and my health.  A guardian angel that just wants to help (sniff) the poor people who suffer (weep) so much with health issues and if it happens to rid the world of ugly people, so much the better. I mean, won’t someone PLEASE think of his tumblr feed?  Screw the Caitlyn Jenner vs every police/fireman/soldier debate. We’ve found the real hero here people.

This fundamental problem with this email, which is a microcosm of society’s way of addressing this issue, is that there is no sincere compassion at all in it.  No acknowledgement that I may have struggled with weight, attempted to lose weight in the past, become depressed and been mocked for my weight or had any issues what so ever.  Does it matter that I do lift weights, go to the gym, live in a walk up condo and walk to work every day?  It implies that a person’s weight is a lack of willpower alone which I am just ignoring.  “So when ARE you gonna get to it? because all you have to do is stop shooting up all that emulsified Oreo filling and you would pretty much wake up a Jonas brother tomorrow.”

Anyone who has ever had extra weight has experienced this sort of comment in one way or another.  I am not trying to minimize the negative effects of obesity and its various issues but the only outcome of this type of email/comment is to make the recipient feel poorly about themselves while wrapping it in effusive good intentions.  It’s like watching some bad S&M movie or the Republican National Convention.

We get bombarded with this same message every day.  Much of the human race seems to get a serious kick out of making other people uncomfortable and self-conscious (please see your Facebook feed and reality TV shows for references).  If you are losing weight because others are making you feel poorly, you’re doing it wrong.  If you’re a big person, you can still feel good about yourself whether you are attempting to lose weight or not.  In the end, the only measure of whether you truly succeeded in life, is whether you ever managed to like yourself.  It’s the only person you have any measure of control over.

4

By day he’s a mild mannered overdressed doctor, but at night the tie stays on and he sometimes reads a book or has a glass of wine.  Actually pretty much nothing changes (especially his clothes)

Floating in the Blackness of Space #SuitUp by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Today is the 50th Anniversary of the First American Spacewalk!

Astronaut Ed White, pilot for the Gemini-Titan 4 (GT-4) spaceflight, floats in the zero-gravity of space during the third revolution of the GT-4 spacecraft. His face is covered by a shaded visor to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun. He remained outside the spacecraft for 21 minutes during the third revolution of the Gemini 4 mission. In his right hand, he carries a Hand-Held Self-Maneuvering Unit (HHSMU) with which he controlled his movements while in space. He was attached to the spacecraft by a 25-feet umbilical line and a 23-feet tether line, both wrapped together with gold tape to form one cord. He also wears an emergency oxygen supply chest pack.

Read More: www.nasa.gov/