DAVID did not mince his words when he recently told his best friend, Michael, that the latter had gained much weight.
Their meeting in a clinic had been entirely fortuitous. Michael was waiting to have a swelling excised from his wallet. The first words of David were: “ What’s up?” Before Michael could reply, he added, “Your weight, apparently. Your hair is thinning but you are not. How much do you weigh now?”
“Eighty-two kilos,” Michael said. “I think I’m too short for my weight.”
“Why don’t you crack a bad joke somewhere else where I can’t hear it?” David said.
Michael smiled politely, for David had just paraphrased a line from David’s favourite musical, West Side Story.
“I can’t understand why the west side and the east side of my body have grown so far apart,” Michael said. “I do my daily dozen.”
“You are developing a paunch,” David observed. “Abdominal obesity can become problematic.”
“The American cartoonist Tom Wilson wrote, ‘ The waist is a terrible thing to mind,’ ” Michael said. “But when a person becomes abdominally obese, the upside is that he can’t get food stains on his lap.”
Ignoring his friend’s levity, David said, “Here’s some food for thought for you – in some countries, the people who die of too much food outnumber those who die of too little food. May I give you a piece of advice?”
Borrowing a line from Dickens, Michael said, “You can’t be more ready to speak than I am to hear.”
“You should have regular meals and eat until you are about 90% satiated only.”
“That is very sound advice,” Michael said. “Perhaps I should also refrain from eating between meals and consuming junk food.”
“ Now you’re talking,” David said. “You can take it from me that a weight problem can cause havoc. Two years ago, I was so abdominally obese that when I weighed myself, I had to hold my stomach in so that I could see the scale. To cut a long story short, I’ll never forget the words a doctor said to me that sounded like a cross between a warning and an entreaty.”
“What words?” Michael asked, his eyes alight with curiosity.
“If you are overweight from an early age, you may have a slimmer chance of reaching old age. Don’t dig your grave with your teeth.”
Not mince one’s words: To speak plainly without trying to be polite.
What’s up?: What’s going on?; what’s the matter?
Daily dozen: Physical exercises done every day on rising.
Food for thought: Something for careful thought and consideration.
Now you’re talking: (An expression to show agreement, acceptance or encouragement.)
Take it from me: Believe me when I say.
To cut/make a long story short: To omit the less important details. Write to: Mind Our English, The Star, Level 3A, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Fax: 03-7955 4039, 7955 4366 / e-mail: email@example.com / website: www.thestar.com.my/english