An old joke with new nuance.
Your mom is so fat that her doctor fidgets.
Your mom is so fat that she sits around the house: routine movements for healthy adults are, on the bad days, prohibitively exhausting for her.
Your mom is so fat that she should definitely do something about it.
Your mom is so fat that she is frenemies with hope.
Your mom is so fat that people look at her either too intently or not at all. Social interaction creates a negative feedback loop of self-consciousness for your mom, a black hole neither she nor those around her can escape.
An actual black hole would swallow your mom normally, except that she would cross the event horizon larger than most people, and the pictures of her younger self at her funeral would be unusually poignant.
Your mom’s hypothetical trip to outer space has nothing to do with her size.
Your mom is so fat that her BMI is rising like the stock market, neither of which offer any help for the average American, who your mom is bigger than, despite the fact that the average American is already large by both global and historical standards.
Your mom cried at the ending of Click, which is totally understandable.
Your mom is so fat that my self-esteem looks almost healthy by comparison.
Your mom is so fat that she has assumed the symbolic weight of the national obesity epidemic, in addition to excessive literal weight; a well-loved joke format is now tinted with despair.
Your mom is so fat that I’m considering having an opinion about “personal responsibility.”
Your mom wonders if inspiring art about the beauty of human experience was made, finally, for other people—not for her.
Better health? Fat chance. (Your mother.)
Your mom thinks pictures of her suffer in comparison with pictures of her sister, but on the other hand, she realizes, don’t we always “suffer in comparison”? By not recognizing our own worth? Your mom rarely flosses.
Your mom is so big that her world is getting small.
I’m worried about your mom.
Your mom is so fat that she’s become open to drastic changes.
Your mom is in a 12-step program for food addiction.
Your mom is afraid of being honest with others; there is a heavy load on her shoulders in at least two ways.
Your mom is taking it one day at a time.
Your mom is assuming a leadership role in Overeaters Anonymous, and beginning to throw her weight around, but not literally, because she is becoming less heavy.
Your mom’s cup runneth over with joy but also Coke Zero, which is apparently a total wolf in sheep’s clothing for blood sugar, although the other changes she’s making apparently outweigh that one, am I right?
Your mom’s family always loved her, and it’s not that they love her more now, but they might admit to themselves in quiet moments that loving her has gotten easier, even as the thought itself is instantly warped by guilt. Your mom and her loved ones each take a deep breath in their separate bathrooms, regarding their reflections anew, their understanding of their own image imperceptibly different than it was the previous day and yet evolving inexorably in just that fashion. Still, the true nature of each one’s relationship with their own self remains elusive, the elephant in all of our mental rooms, which is abetted by the face, alight and aging—both because the face is an imperfect synecdoche for the whole self and because it is an embodiment of the way we’ve been, the face of the past, for others and for us. Your mom is not that fat, anymore.
Your mom is a HUGE inspiration.
Your mom’s aura is average-sized.
Since weight is negatively correlated with income, it is now your mom’s paychecks that are fat, in a sort of reverse Dorian Gray mechanism. Her cat was always fat and remains so.
Obesity is the last acceptable prejudice, except poverty, but again, they’re correlated, so it’s easy to remember. Your mom is practicing “self-care.”
Your mom is “phat.”
I’m having sex with your mom.
If there’s anything that your mom is consuming too much of now, it’s my penis. We’re codependent. She also still smokes.
Your mom is so loving that—it’s just tough for me, you know? Affection in general.
Your mom’s trajectory puts her in the statistical “fat tail” of successful outcomes. Her own tail, well: her ass is great, if that’s what you mean.
Your mom is so real, so human, that I feel the need to cheapen things with crude language.
Your mom’s ego is now a little oversized, which isn’t exactly ironic but is definitely painful: it’s causing a rift in our relationship. These things are supposed to be give and take, right? I can’t tell if she’s hungry for control or if I’m just starved for autonomy. The metaphors are eating at me—it’s almost as if our relationship with food is consuming us. Some people are skinnier than other people.
Your mom is no 9/11 truther, but she can see that the official narrative is a little… convenient.
Your mom is gaining some of the weight back. Like losing coaches say, it is what it is. Old issues reappear like shells at low tide. Were the underlying problems ever gone? And—but! Are they even problems? The Gordian Knot of prejudice, shame, and actual health concern—that hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s a lot to digest.
But also, the media.
Something is different with your mom though, even still.
Your mom celebrates herself, both for her contributions to the world around her and for her basic irreducible value as a person, for some reason.
Your mom’s intelligence is around the 65th percentile.
Art by Yvonne Martinez.