I’ve caught a lot of flak recently for a few things I wrote on facebook about obesity. Things that are objectively true, but are offensive by virtue of the fact that some people wish they weren’t true. I got attacked, in fact, for being cruel or heartless. A couple of people were shocked, shocked, that I would say such a thing considering that I used to be fat myself.
They don’t seem to realize that it is precisely because I was fat myself that I’m in a position to point out how reality actually works for fat people.
Let me tell you what makes me anxious right now. This project is part of it, but it’s actually much broader than this. We’ll see if writing this is a helpful way of me talking it out, so to speak.
If you’re around my age – late 20s and early 30s – then The Goonies is another one of those movies that really defined the generation.
Part of a movie like that is identifying with a character – that’s the point of a giant rag-tag group of misfits, right? – and naturally I saw myself as Chunk. Chunk was clumsy, fat, uncoordinated, kinda dumb, sweet-hearted comic-relief. Chunk is near the center of the story because he’s the first one to witness the gunfight and is usually the one holding the keys to the group’s salvation. But no one remembers Chunk for his narrative power, do they? Of course not. Probably the most memorable part of the character was near the beginning when he finds his friends at the house and they refuse to speak to him unless he does the Truffle Shuffle.
Chunk pulls up his shirt and dances around like he’s electrocuted. Kinda sad and kinda hilarious at the same time. It’s one of the most prominent moments in the movie for me (apart from Sloth saying “Hey you guys” or “Sloth love Chunk” haha).
Why this scene sticks with me isn’t really clear to me, but when I was younger I remember being terrified that someone would make me do the Truffle Shuffle. If I wanted to get into the treehouse, in my back of my mind I’d think, “I wonder if they want me to do the Truffle Shuffle?” Or if there was a club I wanted to be in, or even just a gathering of friends I’d subconsciously steel my nerves and get ready to lift my shirt and jiggle. Totally a rational belief, I know: it was in a movie! Of course that’s exactly representative of real life!
But the only time I ever actually did the Truffle Shuffle was in college at my fraternity… and not even as part of an initiation or gatekeeping type thing either. I was just drunk and dug up the memory at a party one day.
I’ve mentioned before that I think that the fitness industry has glaring blind spots. That’s part of the premise of my entire project here at Former Fat Boy: that there is a demographic that isn’t being served (or else why create one more generic fitness regime among thousands?). With few exceptions, the fitness industry seems to ignore those people who suffer most and serve those who need it the least. In particular, fitness programs just don’t seem to aim at the seriously obese or the chronically – or lifelong – obese. Fitness programs are for those who are incidentally fat.
By why? Well there are a few things going on and a few reasons for them.
My first video for Former Fat Boy… Rough, ugly, and meandering, just like everything else when it first starts out. But I do give a decent outline of the purpose of the project and what you can expect from me in the future.