Jill slammed her hands down on the kitchen table so hard and unexpected that it startled Brad. She gave him a look that chilled him to the bone. This wasn’t just any look, it was “The Look.” The look that our moms used to give us when we got into trouble, the look that meant she was serious. Brad looked at her with a child-like expression and asked, “What did I do this time?”
She cocked one eyebrow and proclaimed, “It’s not what you did, it’s what you're gonna do. What we are going to do together.”
“What are you talking about? You know I’m not good at reading minds,” Brad said with a puzzled look on his face. Jill took a seat across from him at the table and started to explain her proclamation. “This is a new year Brad… Duh! Don’t you think we need to make some resolutions so that we can better ourselves? Well, before you think too hard and give yourself a headache, I’ve decided for us. I think we should go on a diet. I need to lose a few pounds, and you need to lose a lot more than me buddy or pretty soon you won’t be able fit through the door.”
“Are you serious? I mean really, in all the years we’ve been married nothing has ever changed. In fact, most people never succeed at their resolutions. They end up quitting every time and fall back into their normal routines. I’m not that overweight by the way,” Brad said with the thought of cleverness on his part.
Jill snapped back at him and yelled, “We are going to do this starting right now before you gain another pound!” Brad knew there was no arguing with her, because she had already made her mind up about it. He reached over to grab another donut from the kitchen counter, it was breakfast time after all. As that sweet delicious glazed pastry was about to reach his lips, Jill had knocked it out of his hand with a smack.
Brad who was usually quite reserved found himself snapping back saying, “Hey what gives? That’s my breakfast. The most important meal of the day!”
“You're not eating that!”
“Yes I am!”
“No you're not!”
Brad let out a sigh of desperation, and yielded. Jill told him, “You need to take this seriously starting right now.” She knew that she was getting under his skin, she also knew that they needed to do this.
“I know we need to do this, but we need to do it in our own way,” Brad said with a hope of compromise. He watched Jill’s face lighten a bit. He always knew how to reach an agreement with her. After thirty years of marriage, this was common practice. She looked at him and asked, “What do you propose?”
Brad thought about it for about two minutes and came up with a plan. “First, I think we need to do our own diets. Secondly, I think we should not see each other for a month. This way we can step on the scales to see who has lost the most weight.”
With a look of shock Jill said, “I said go on a diet, not stay away from each other. How would that work anyway?” Brad smiled, “I will stay in the man cave while you get the rest of the house. After a month we can show off our new bodies. Plus, by doing this you won’t have any say in my own diet plans.” After much debate, Jill had agreed to Brad’s terms.
Brad did indeed move into his man cave complete with a kitchen and big screen T.V., which was his pride and joy. Jill stayed upstairs, and made some modifications to their living room. She had ordered a lot of fitness equipment, and removed the sofa and Lazy-boy recliner. She basically turned the living room into a fitness center complete with all the latest equipment. She also did a complete overhaul in the kitchen. She went through the refrigerator and cabinets getting rid of all unhealthy foods. She stocked everything up with all the natural and organic foods she could find. All the while, she wondered how Brad was doing.
Jill noticed that all of the unhealthy food she had placed in her car to take to the food bank had vanished. She surmised that Brad had taken it all out while she wasn’t looking. “Way to go you fat pig!” she said as she went back into the house. She thought to herself that Brad would not succeed in this goal and that maybe this was his plan the whole time. “Just what is he doing down there?” she said stepping onto her treadmill for her first evening workout.
Meanwhile, Brad looked at all the food he had taken out of Jill’s car. “What a wonderful feast awaits me tonight!” he said laughing like a crazed maniac. He proceeded to eat everything in sight, starting with the Oreo cookies. He ate the whole pack. Next he moved on to the potato chips of different brands, and ate them all. He noticed the peanut butter cups stashed away in a box and said, “Oh! I haven’t forgotten about you. You sweet little yummy bites of heaven.” As quick as lighting strikes, the whole bag of peanut butter cups were gone. Looking around for more to consume Brad said, “Now what can I get into next? Hmmm, I wonder…”
In the next few weeks, Jill had developed a good workout routine and diet plan. She knew that she had lost weight. None of her old clothes would fit her anymore. They were all too big. She was so proud of herself. Not a day past that she did not think about how Brad was doing. She had high hopes for him, but deep down she knew that he had let her down. With the big weigh-in coming up, Jill had invited all of her friends and family over to celebrate with them. She was getting excited to show Brad the new Jill.
The event was all done up with balloons and streamers hanging everywhere. There was a big scale in the new fitness room, where Jill and Brad would weigh-in. The point was not to see who lost the most weight, but to see if they were staying on track with their diets. This meant the world to Jill, and she was still having doubts about Brad keeping up with his diet.
Jill’s mother Betsy, had taken it upon herself to introduce them one at a time. “First up is my first born, the one I’m most proud of. She is my pride and joy, and now it’s time to step on the scale,” she said with great enthusiasm. The small crowd of people in the house started to cheer with anticipation.
Jill stepped out with great applause and stepped on the scale. She smiled at everyone as the numbers bounced around like a kid on a pogo stick. When the numbers settled, Jill had lost fifty pounds. The crowd roared with excitement.
Betsy now introduced Brad, “Here comes my wonderful daughter’s husband...Brad.” The crowd clapped with a low applause. The kind of applause you get when you know they don’t really care. Jill started to get really nervous as she waited for Brad to come through the door. Suddenly Brad appeared, and when everyone saw him they erupted. They started cheering him because he had totally transformed himself.
Brad immediately saw Jill, and took his shirt off to show what was the start of a six pack starting to take shape. He watched as Jill’s eyes started to tear up. He walked over to the scale to see what the numbers would say. When the numbers came to a stop, Brad had lost sixty-five pounds. He looked like a new man. Jill ran over to him and quickly gave him a hug and kiss. She asked, “How did you do this? I thought you were only eating junk food.”
“I did at first. I got the idea from my dad. When I was younger, I got caught smoking cigarettes. My dad made me smoke the whole pack, and it made me so sick that I never touched another one. I took that same approach to sugar. I ate so much that I made myself sick. I stopped eating that stuff that very first night. I took the rest of it over to the food bank that night in my car. Ever since then I’ve been sneaking out to the 24 hour fitness center down the road and worked with some pretty good personal trainers, and changed myself.”
Jill was so proud of Brad, and gave him another kiss. She looked at the crowd and yelled, “This is why I love this man! We both accomplished our New Year's Resolutions. Now all we have to do is keep it up!” Just then, Brad turned his head away from Jill to the crowd with his eyes wide open.
Daniel R. Hayes