When I was about fifteen years old, I learned how to do the backflip on the trampoline. I taught myself. A backflip is actually a little easier to perform than a front flip, but it is a little scarier, because you cannot see where you are going.
Anyway, I am a little bit of a show-off, so when my grandma showed up at our house, I invited her out to the back yard so that she could watch me jump. Grandma watched me do a backflip. (wow. really neat, Bill.) I kept on jumping, but didn’t have much else to show her. Maybe I would do another backflip or something.
But Grandma wanted to chat.
How much do you weigh, Bill? Grandma asked.
“About 200 pounds, I guess.” Two hundred pounds would be more than anybody else weighed in my high school class. If I weighed two hundred pounds, I would be a pretty fat kid. I did not weight two hundred pounds.
“I think you might weigh more than two hundred pounds.” Grandma said.
I did another backflip. “That one is called a layout,” I said, “You keep your body extended. try not to bend your knees.”
The trampoline creaked and flapped.
“Are you sure you weigh two hundred pounds?” Grandma asked.
“It might be two hundred and thirty” I said. “I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while.”
What I said is not true. I stepped on the scale every day. That morning, for example, I weighed two hundred and fifty-four pounds, with my heels balancing on the back end of the scale. If I stepped on the scale flat footed, the needle inched up to two hundred and fifty-eight pounds.
Grandma kept looking at me. I kept on jumping.
“I think you might be closer to two-fifty” she said.
What do you say? I couldn’t think of anything cool, so I hopped off the trampoline and went inside.
Made myself a sandwich.
Anyway, that summer I lost one hundred pounds in the hospital, waiting for my intestines to stitch themselves back together after my appendix exploded. The summer after that, I started running. And got a bike to ride around on. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how history is made. Running and riding turned out to be pretty important.
|Skipping rocks at the unorganized territory of Fort Snelling|
Now, when people see me sometimes they think I am an athlete because I am skinny-ish and because I ride a bicycle. But I know the truth. I eat Nutella with a spoon. Still.
Steph helps me out. Sometimes, when I get back from a run or a bike ride, I open all the cupboards, looking for something to eat. I am so hungry! But steph does not by cookies, she buys flour, butter, and chocolate chips. And she hides the chocolate chips. The tortillas we buy, they are raw. you have to toast them in a pan before you can eat them. We don’t buy chocolate milk anymore.
Steph used to buy these huge bags of jazz apples. (crisp, like a granny smith, but red and orange, about the size of a baseball. Sweet.) I tear through jazz apples four at a time. I eat them from the north pole to the south pole, leaving nothing but the stem.
“Why do you eat the core of the apples?” people ask sometimes, as they watch me chomp through the seeds.
“Hiding the evidence.” I say. and people laugh, because that cannot possibly be the truth. Maybe if I were hiding candy wrappers, it could be true, but apples are good for you.
It is the truth. I don’t want people to know how much I still eat.
I hide candy wrappers too. And after I have a spoonful of nutella, I carefully wash the spoon and put it back in the drawer.
If Steph is upstairs and when I get back from a run, when she comes down to the kitchen it is like that scene from “The Sixth Sense” where the kid is sitting at the table and all of the cupboards are open.
I will find those chocolate chips.