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Chapter 1

Something changed in my head about ten years ago. One surprise too many I guess. The result was, my dials got spun a little too hard. I decided that the answers were all hiding in the refrigerator.

It doesn’t matter why, really. It just gradually added up to a hundred and forty pounds. I gained a hundred and forty pounds, over about three years.

Before that, I was in better than average shape. I worked out about five times a week. Jogging, weight lifting, hiking, climbing, whatever. If someone said lets go somewhere and sweat, I was in.

Anyway, I have had enough. I am tired of this kind of life. I want to be strong again. I don’t need to be good looking, or young, I just want my strength and energy back. And I already checked. There are no answers in the refrigerator, the pantry, the drive through, or on any menu.

And most of all, I just heard from our oldest daughter that in a few months, I will be a grandfather. I gotta get ready.

Of course, being a fat guy still leaves time for other activities. Until about three years ago, I was working at a communications job for a medium sized, city fire department. After being a regular, truck riding firefighter for many years, I was assigned to the admin office, in the community education and media relations spot. A few years after that I was lucky enough to be able to retire.

Now days, I write, teach a couple of days a month, pick up an occasional contract job in graphics or video production and help to raise our two youngest kids who are still at home.

My wife is very kind about my work as a writer. As long as I don’t go up to my office in the evenings, she never complains about my small income or my hyper fascination with all things story related. It also helps that she loves to read.

Like many writers, at any given moment, I have several different projects under way. And now I have one more. I didn’t plan it, and I usually only write fiction. Oh well, most of us lie to ourselves all the time. So maybe this will be fiction too. I hope not. It feels like this is something I need to do.

I also think that the part of my story that I need to write about is the now part. I had a great time being a firefighter. But that part of my life is over. And all the best parts of those stories are either unbelievable, or the kind of stories that upset my wife and family.

After my daughter and her husband gave us the good news, I started thinking about the cool things that my Grand-dad did with us. We went on fishing and camping trips, listened to music, talked about nothing in particular. He made me a working model sailboat, told me stories about joining the navy at age sixteen, and going to Europe during world war one. He was the most interesting guy in our family.

How can I live up to all that? Last night, before we went to sleep, I told my wife that I hoped to have at least one more adventure before we got too much older. It’s some kind of generational peer pressure. What will my grand-daughter think if she meets me and I can’t do anything except take her out for ice cream?

So, because I’m cheap, I got a card for the city recreation center. I’ll keep on walking in the neighborhood, but I’m adding in some bike riding and weight lifting at the rec center. But most of all, food will have to stop being entertainment, or a drug, or some ridiculous form of self abuse.

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One thought on “Next

  1. Mark,

    You are writing a story I want to read. A story I do understand. Food is simply fuel but we abuse it in so many way. I want to read more of your story!

    Good luck. Also, congratulations about your daughter’s news.

    I’m looking forward to reading more chapters and wishing you the best!

    Kathleen

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