Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Footprint Theory

I have an idea I like to call "Footprint Theory." It has little to do with actual feet and more to do with nuclear weapons. A weapon's footprint is the area that will be affected by it. The footprint of a nuclear weapon doesn't just include the material that is destroyed with its detonation, but the matter damaged by the shock of its detonation and even those infected with radiation sickness. The footprint of a nuclear weapon is much broader than it seems.

A human's footprint, following this theory, is more than just the ground we inhabit. It includes the people we have relationships with, the products we use, the resources we consume directly or indirectly, and the impact of our ideas on other people. (Keep in mind at this point that I haven't formalized this theory, and that someone else might have, so what I have to say here might sound crackpot or familiar, depending.)

Most of the time I'm allowed to get along with my life without having to consider my size relative to those of others I know. It's just not an issue most of the time, but sometimes I drop something delicate and despair at my gorilla hands, or I bump a shelf because the passage is too narrow for my shoulders. I have to acknowledge then that I'm large. This happens a lot when I see pictures like this one from my honeymoon: Or this one from Cinco de Mayo, where I won an award:
And definitely this one, from graduation day this last spring:
What am I, a frigging chin smuggler? Did I imagine someone would have forgotten their chin at home and I'd have a spare? Wow. Time to lose a few tons, Simba. Thankfully, I think I've dropped a bit since then, but nowhere near enough. I've hovered between 215 and 235 pounds for most of the last two decades, going as low as 198 and as high as 255 in that time. I'm somewhere near 220 right now, but all the charts tell me I should be about 195. And I always believe charts.

More seriously, I want to decrease my footprint. I want to consume less. I want to demand less of the world around me. I want to place less stress on the ground beneath me. I want to stop hoarding energy (on a physiological level).

I know I'll never be 6'1" and 135 pounds again, like I was after basic training. I wouldn't want to be--I looked like a science-class skeleton then. I wouldn't mind dropping to 6'2" and 200. That seems reasonable. And then I wouldn't be double my wife's weight.


Anskov said...

You can do it, man. For me, it took a lifestyle change like not having a car and living in a country where I don't have ready access to Cap'n Crunch and sweets every day. I am down to 200 and need to lose about 15 more to be at a place where I am happy.

Mike said...


I feel your pain, to be anywhere near 200 lbs again would be fantastic. Anskov mentioned the Cap'n Crunch as I sit here now munching on the little bastards with crunch berries. It is a lifestyle change that I have not been able to master as of yet. Till then consider me a fatty with high BP and enough cholesterol for a few people.

Diana said...

I like the look on your face in the Cinco de Mayo picture.

Just This Girl said...

They say you should be at 195?! Eeep! You're so tall! Really? I think those charts are lying to you. Stupid fucking charts.

I like the picture of you from your honeymoon because it appears as though you are bathed in some sort of otherworldly light.

I also really love that picture of us at graduation. Don't we look super happy to be unemployed?