Perspective to scale


What did the Apostle Paul, Puff the Magic Dragon and Themis all have in common?

If you said, “Scales,” you were right — and deserve a free year of Mensa membership.

Paul had them over his eyes — until they were shed (Acts 9:18). He was spiritually blind became physically so — and left his God encounter with new, “vision.”

Puff had them, green ones, and they “fell like rain” midst the sorrow of losing a friend that helped him with his bravery issues.

Themis has been in the news a lot lately, but most of us don’t know her by her street name — she’s “Lady Justice — and resides at the Supreme Court.

Multiple images of her exist in one form or another. In most she stands blindfolded (because justice is supposed to be fair, blind to bias), holding a sword (presumably for judgment, or, the Word of God) — she stands on a book (some say the Mosaic Law — the foundation that our country is built on). She likewise stands on a snake as well (some allege victory over evil) — and — she holds scales, presumably to bring balance to the legal process, weighing the evidence.

The Amy Barrett Cornet hearings are (possibly) a topic for another column, but for today, we’re focusing on the kind of scales most prevalent in our lives — namely, those found in doctors’ offices — and home bathrooms everywhere.

It’s sad but true.

Over the years, the reputation doctors once enjoyed has by and large plummeted, from a position of lofty mountain grandeur to that of used car dealership or snake-oil salesman (my apologies to snake-oil salesmen). Of course part of that has to do with the prescriptions they are able to write — prescriptions that bring with them a voluminous list of side effects that run anywhere from bad breath to gas—and the ever popular, death (“So ask your doctor about …).

Most of us fret the physician visit and with good reason. Not so much due to sharp needles or professionally necessary invasive groping — but the ever-frightening scale time.

First tip — take off your shoes.

That might sound obvious, but not all of us do that — and depending on your profession, that could easily add two or more pounds to the final count.

Next, empty your pockets.

Once, when caught up in the whirlwind of a cleaning frenzy, I found I carried around more than five pounds of receipts, business cards, and assorted knickknacks. I think the nurse grew grey hair and applied for Social Security in the time it took me to empty them.

Also, don’t neglect to take any belts off.

I wear a weight belt, made from leather, which is close to two pounds when all is said and done.

Getting down to as little as possible is important, because doctor’s offices will often conduct physicals on behalf of insurance companies, and if you reach a certain weight threshold, it could put you into a higher rating class, which in turn could hurt your wallet deeply.

The medical professionals will tell you their scales are adjusted for the expectation of three pounds of clothing. Well, to that I say, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

You notice, they will also take your height, under the guise of seeing how much you have grown or shrunk since your last visit. In reality, it is a brilliant ruse to keep you from focusing on how heavy you understand yourself to be.

Let’s not kid ourselves — the medical profession does in fact do many wonderful things for us, it’s just that we are accustomed to weighing ourselves every day at home — on equipment that is “more accurate” (haha), and the shock of the difference between the two can cause medical problems of its own, much less abundant cynicism.

In fairness, since we’ve given some tips to help, “reduce” the numbers at the doctor’s office, we should give some to help you start the day happier at home as well.

First, avoid talking scales. They never met your Mama, and she’s the one that said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

Second, avoid digital scales. If they give you an unpleasant number, you will think it’s accurate, because after all, it’s digital and cool looking. It could be that the batteries are ready to go (Yes, think positive). Try getting an older scale instead, one that has skinny black lines on a white background that are close together — lines that when easily obscured by your morning vision give a more optimistic report.

Third, complete all bodily functions before weighing — like the shoes, it sounds obvious, but we don’t always think about it.

Fourth, look straight ahead when weighing yourself — gravity adds to the numbers.

Fifth, do the math — round down.

Sixth, shave all body hair before the weigh-in.

Seventh, weigh yourself on only one leg (this is known as the Flamingo method — if you do this right after coming out of a hot shower, it is referred to as the Pink Flamingo Method).

Eighth, best of all (thank you Michelle, C.) — lay on your back — with the scale on your feet.

Some final notes.

Humidity is not your friend, and older, poorly insulated homes saturate your scale with outside air. Lose the humidity, lose four pounds. Don’t be foolish — insulate.

Make sure to crouch down to weigh yourself, pressing firmly with one hand on an adjoining vanity, rack, or toilet — takes five pounds off every time.

Inhale briefly and exhale forcefully — good for a one pound loss.

I understand muscle weighs more than fat, so (in my mind) I am now officially a threat to the late Charles Atlas. And, since, fat weighs less than muscle, my goal should be to get more and more fat, so I can get even lighter.

An explanation: I turned my scale over this morning to see what the bottom looked like. Here’s what the tag said: “Made in the netherworld with pride by Satan, Father of Lies”.

Yep — that explains it.

Les Linz is a Seymour resident who writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to [email protected].

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