Does This Stress Make Me Look Fat? (Chapter Eight: Back Before the Beginning of the End & Chapter Nine: Say Goodbye To Hope)

More from Anthony Rhody’s book serial: “Does This Stress Make Me Look Fat?”

It was the late 90’s when I felt like I was someone who was misunderstood and decided I would much rather be someone who cannot be explained.

Then the new millennium started.


I don’t have a great history with personal physicians.

My first doctor was known as “Dr. Dolittle” and not because he looked like Rex Harrison.

He was such a quack that when duck hunting season came around he had to go into hiding.

My current doctor is currently a woman.

A handsome older woman.

She looks like acclaimed film actor, James Cromwell.

Early on she diagnosed me with Egomaniacal Tourette Syndrome because I liked to cuss at my reflection in the mirror.

I was checked into a mental hospital briefly:

The Rick Santorum Sanitarium.

They put a straight jacket on me as soon as I arrived but it wouldn’t stay on.

They also tried a coffee enema but had a hell of a time getting the sugar cubes up there.

Then there was the insomnia that became an issue.

Have you ever noticed, insomnia – like a terminal illness diagnosis – has five stages: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and finally acceptance.

The big difference is terminal illness promises the sweet embrace of eternal nothingness.

Insomnia promises a day filled with more anxiety and irritability than usual due to lack of sleep.

Fuck you insomnia.

While I have had lots of medical conditions, I have yet to find out:

Can you do roofies while you have shingles?

Whoever said laughter is the best medicine has never been fucked up of Vicodin with a nice morphine drip chaser that you can crank up as you damn well please.

Besides, most people’s insurance doesn’t cover laughter.

I’m in good physical health right now (What time is it?) – at least compared to all the self-destructive over-eaters, over-medicators and texting jaywalkers I’m surrounded by.

It’s good health by default.

God bless ’em, my fat fuck fellow Americans.

Remember, being fat is not a crime.

It’s a sin.

(See Chapter Five)

Massage is essential to optimal health.

I have found that after the very best massages the massage therapist and the client share a cigarette afterward.

Americans are known for having digestion issues.

Imagine how different the world would be if flatulence was visible.

It could become the Great Equalizer.

Like you, I have always felt that people in wheelchairs are so lucky:

They can’t ever get walking pneumonia.

Also: they don’t ever have to buy new shoes.

I once referred to the “older generation” and someone thought I said the “odor generation” – or maybe it was the other way around.

Anyway, we all had a good laugh at the expense of geriatrics.

I used to think that “elderly abuse” referred to abuse by the elderly –

Like when they make you repeat things or they won’t leave you alone.

I do like it when they refer to me as “sonny boy” as if I’m in my twenties or thirties.

This much is for sure:

Abusing the elderly will never get old.


I would like come up with ways to help make the end times for them more fun, like Glow-In-The-Dark Bingo.

I once had a friend with epilepsy and he once had a grand mal in The Mall of America in Minnesota and everyone stood around and pointed and laughed because if Americans are anything they are clever enough to understand irony when it’s right in front of them!

Okay, I made that last part up, about Americans being clever.

I hear colon cancer is twice as deadly as semi-colon cancer.

They say women seldom get colon cancer because of all those years they spent getting their periods; I guess the universe feels that that would just be too much punctuation.

I’ve heard that zombies have a hard time getting health insurance.

It’s because of a pre-existing condition.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Anita Bryant died of scurvy?

Is she still alive…?

Does she at least have one cloven hoof in the grave?


The minute Mozart died he started decomposing.

I wonder if Marie Antoinette and John the Baptist ever run into each other in the hereafter and if so is it because they can’t see where they are going?

“Hey, Marie,” John the B. probably says, holding his head under one arm, “Where you headed?” and then Marie, raising her head by its giant hair, I imagine, says something about going to eat cake and John the B. might reply, “I like cake…” and then Marie rolls her eyes ’cause she’s afraid this old perv is going to invite himself along.

“But I have a headache,” she says, “OMG it’s like literally so bad…so, I think I’m going to just, like, go buy a scarf and go home.”

“Okay,” he says, “feel better – oh, and say hi to Ann Boleyn for me.”


And then they go their separate ways, until next time.

It could happen.

Why do people avoid saying “died” and say “passed away” instead?

The truly p.c. just say “passed.”

I always ask them, if I have the chance and in a gentle, sympathetic tone:

What did they pass?

The salt and pepper?

A gallstone?

An exit ramp?

A test?

If so did they pass with flying colors?

And what the fuck is a flying color?

Not to mention, are they any less dead if they passed or they passed away?

It’s especially funny when the death is not one of those peaceful affairs in bed, surrounded by loved ones but a violent, gruesome mess that people in hazmat suits have to come and clean up.

I want my obituary to read, “He died at home, surrounded by loved ones, plus his family.”

If I am murdered I have arranged for the paper to refer to it as an ASSASSINATION!

I wonder if, when we check out, we get some sort of security deposit back.

Suicide, I feel on a personal level, is and would be wrong.

But for others it is probably a good idea.

According to Miss Manners, a proper suicide note should not exceed 500 words.

More than that and it starts to become self-indulgent.

Once, when I was convinced I was “on my way out” I tried to get all of my affairs in order but I didn’t know if that meant chronologically or alphabetically or what.

Conveniently, my first-ever affair happened to be with a guy named Aaron Aardvaark.

You should see my bucket list; it is beyond the pale.

I also have “Fuck it list” which consists of things I was going to get done but don’t care about anymore because life is hard.

I want to die of natural causes because is it would be better for the environment.

And yet, I’m so superficial that when I die I want to be buried in a shallow grave.

I think (overly) patriotic people should be buried standing up, in case at some point, they hear the national anthem.

On a lighter note, Confucius once said:

He who walks at night in cemetery at risk of grave injury.

That Connie was such knuckle-head.

I want my tombstone to say,

“If you can read this then you’re too close.”

My sister – the morbidly plus-sized one – wants her Tombstone to be a pizza with everything on it. !

But, since there’s no telling when the Grim Reaper will arrive, I like to stay active.

I get plenty of exercise just wrestling with my past.

Author: Anthony Rhody

My name is Anthony Rhody. I was born in a small midwestern town when I was very young. I am a recovering Catholic and lapsed homosexual. Henceforth I spend a lot less time on my knees. I was a film major at Columbia in Chicago after my career in high school ended in scandal and must-deserved notoriety, plus a diploma. After two years of life in a seventeen-story dorm I was told I should go to the west coast (true story). Since then I have been a screenwriter primarily and a playwright on rare occasion. When I realized a couple years ago I had too many notes on humor and funny schtick to ever use in screenplays I decided to try to see how many of them I could throw together as a book of humor. "Does This Stress Make Me Look Fat?" is that book, not a medical journal on over-eating. I don't have any children and as far as I know, no sexual partners. I have lived in San Francisco since before there was a homeless problem - sorry, before so many folks were home free.

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