“Does this Stress Make Me Look Fat?” (Chapter One: Now Is Not A Good Time)

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

NOTE FROM WALLACE: Hope you enjoyed the intro yesterday! Favorite the author’s Glossy News Satire account here.

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I am over the moon!

In all sincerity I have had it with that stupid thing.

Okay, there’s a few other things I’m over.

It’s been a difficult period lately, with no end in sight.

Like, I just found out I’m on a need-to-know basis.

Also, it turns out, nobody knows I’m famous.

Some people have accused me of being passive-aggressive.

I feel so sorry for them and hope they have a nice day.


I’m the only person I know who has never owned a cell-phone.

(I don’t count old people the elderly – sorry – those who’ve already lived too long).

I feel like it has kept me grounded.

It has also put me in an increasingly small minority.

We non-cellphone owners should probably organize and then caucus.


How do I put this?

They say that some people are born great; others have greatness thrust upon them.

And so that leaves the other 99.9%.

I think we’re screwed.

Screwed like the homely girl in a bad porn film.

Just this past week has been an emotional ferris wheel.

I have not been sleeping well lately.

Last night, it was because of all the pounding and sawing.

We have carpenter ants.

Finally – when I did doze off – I had a logistical nightmare.

I can’t remember the last time I slept eight hours straight.

Okay, okay – I have never slept eight hours “straight.”

So today I got up at the crack of noon.

Then, I took a dump that was so huge I didn’t know whether to call my plumber or my doctor.

Then, I decided to put on my suit of armor because that always cheers me up – I guess because it never makes me look fat.

So, I went to my close where I keep it and – would you believe – there was a chink in it?

A big, ole’ fucking chink.

There’s no point in trying on your suit of armor when there’s a chink in it.

I grabbed the hammer and chisel and I spent half the morning trying to get that chink out.

I gave up and decided to go out, run some errands, get some fresh air.

Speaking of China, what do people in China do when they need some fresh air, go back inside?

I live in San Francisco.

As I will sometimes do I went down to Fisherman’s Wharf and threw small rocks at the birds.

I did this for a while.


Because I wanted to leave no tern unstoned.

In a related matter, I’m trying to register the term “goo-gulls.”

Feeling a little better, I decided to do some shopping.

I first went to Staples.

I got some flour, sugar and, oh, some salt.

After that I went to my pharmacy and asked the clerk, “Excuse me my good sir, do you have any placebos?” and, as his eyes wandered about, he said, “Maybe we do, maybe we don’t.”


Then, I went to the hardware store to buy skyrockets and couldn’t believe how much the prices on those things have gone up.

This is a store I liked but was suddenly not so sure about.

They had their Christmas merchandise out on the shelves.

Tree ornaments, decorations, giftwrap.

I joked with the clerk that they hadn’t yet gotten around to putting their holiday items away.

She – name-tag said she was a Kendra – informed me that no, this stuff for next Christmas.


I mentioned it was July.

She played dumb or she was genuinely unclear on the problem.

“Is there something I can help you with?” she asked.

“You mean something else? I really don’t understand why this store has
Christmas merchandise out in July.”

“I guess some people like to start shopping early.”

She shrugged and pulled a file out of nowhere and then started on her nails.

That’s when I knew I was in some sort of sketch.

“Halloween merchandise would be way early,” I reasoned.

No response.

I waited for the gum-chewing to start.

Finally: “Is there something I can help you with?”

Clearly not.

I wasn’t going to ask to speak to a manager over this.

“No – I’m going to go home now and stay there for a long, long time.”

I decided that Kendra was just really wishing she were on her period – her lunch period, I mean lunch break – because as I walked away she said with complete insincerity, “Have a nice day,” to which I replied, “Not if you have one first.”

Because zingers make me hungry I then stopped in the grocery store.

The produce section was right inside the front door because Americans are least likely to steal fruit or vegetables and go running out.

I almost put a honeydew in my basket that was more of a honey-don’t.

I do stay away from citrus fruit because I don’t want to get lime disease.

Over by the deli case it occurred to me that America will eat anything that has a dipping sauce.

They also love finger food.

I asked the guy behind the counter if a knuckle sandwich was considered a finger-food and he threatened to call security.

I found myself browsing the frozen food section, disappointed that they still
hadn’t fond a way to stuff pizza with ice cream.

Some day, someday…

Hang in there!

It’s been said that pizza is like sex: only Lesbians like anchovies.

I also had an epiphany about “junk food porn” being some sort of epidemic in this country.

If so then pizza is its #1 Superstar right now.

Nabisco did research and found that Americans were getting tired of unscrewing Oreo cookies to get at the white stuff in between, so the company finally started putting out little containers of just the white stuff – sorry, The White Stuff ®.

Some Americans – the classy ones – even use a spoon.


I don’t like pasta.

Never have.

I’m anti-pasta.

So I eat healthy now, or try to.

The dairy/milk-like product section had a new soy-based butter called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better!


My diet now has one major rule:

I try not to eat anything that has parents.

I make sure they too are slaughtered.

Venison is my favorite meat.

I love venison deerly.

Bambi-back ribs, yummmmm!

Finally, I left that grocery store with my money and my dignity intact.

I thought of grabbing some sushi at We Be Swishy until I remembered that I was highly offended by the name; also that I don’t care for sushi.

Also, it’s right next to the Lesbian taco place.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: “taco fest” is mentioned again in Chapter 10 so leave now or forever hold your taco.)

I finished my day of adventure with a leisurely, non-judgmental walk through my neighborhood, heading for home.

Didn’t even ask any of my fellow pedestrians as we crossed the busy street: Why are you texting?!

I passed our police precinct with its curious sign at its front entrance:


We like things clean in these parts.

We even get blind people – sorry, otherwise sighted people – to do their part by putting metal points on the end of their walking sticks so they pick up litter when they’re out walking around.

When I meet up with a blind person I like to start “speaking” in sign language.

Really pisses them off.

People in wheelchairs are so lucky because they cannot get walking pneumonia.

Even our meter maids do double duty.

They are in charge of dusting and vacuuming and have to wear those little French maid outfits when it’s nice out.

Ha… I said double duty.

We no longer have a problem with homeless people in our neighborhood.

That’s because we refer to them as “home free!”

I finally arrived back at my crib only to discover that my suit of armor was

Someone had walked off with my suit of armor.

I wonder if they noticed the chink in it.

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.