Friday, September 01, 2006

Teeter, No Totter

The only thing worse than being a fat adult is being a fat kid. Especially if you were a fat kid like me and chose to only have ultra skinny friends. (What's with me that I did that? Masochist). Anyway, I was on the phone with Lindsey the other night and reminisced that once upon a time ago, when I was a wee little chubby child, I hopped on a teeter totter/seesaw while at summer camp with my best friend Katy. Katy was, of course, tiny. She was not only skinny but she was short. Needless to say, she was stuck up in the air a long time, with no totter to speak of. If I had gotten on the seesaw too fast, she would have catapulted over tall trees.

Obviously, playing with this contraption with me was not fun for Katy. The whole point of the thing is to go up and down and with my weight being much higher than hers, there was no even distribution of weight to make the seesaw, well, fun. She had a great idea...she invited another girl to sit on her side. Yes, because two skinny kids equaled one of me. (I wonder why I have self esteem issues now?).

While telling the story to Lindsey, I got totally embarrassed about around 11 years too late. I didn't even remember the story until I told Lindsey about it. Being a fat kid is hard.

I wonder how many other stories I have in my head that I have repressed. Does anyone else have any horrible, embarrassing fat kid stories?


Anonymous said...

Ugh...that's horrible. But that catapulting comment made me laugh very hard.

Anonymous said...

I remember being in 3rd grade and the teacher asking each child his/her height and weight. I can't remember what the purpose of this was...maybe to show how you calculated averages? Anyway, I was a chubby kid and remember hoping/wishing/praying with all myn might that when I revealed my weight it would not be the highest in the class. I was not the largest child, but still feared my weight would sound horrendously high compared to everyone else.

This, and many other, memory still haunts me and I'm 30 years old now!

Tim said...

Other than the occassional name calling I had moobs as a kid and at the pool various other kids would want to grab/squeeze them, always against my will. Funny how male bullies would call me names but want to grab my moobs?!? Latent homosexuality perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I actually saw a skinny kid get catapulted into outer space. It happened during a field trip. We were probably in grade three or four. This boy who was really chubby got onto the see saw with a rather skinny kid. He decided (foolishly) to give the smaller kid "the bumps"
The next thing I hear is wailing. He actually bumped the kid right off the see saw. I felt sorry for him because I knew he was embarrassed. Several years later our class went horseback riding for the day. His horse actually ended up falling onto its knees and hurting itself. I felt so bad for him. He was a nice kid, but that would be horribly embarrassing. Needless to say on both occasions he was laughed at very vigorously by the rest of the class.
I didn't laugh though. I felt too badly for him.

Anonymous said...

Ah, let's see, there are many...back when I was in about 7th grade, spiked belts were all the rage. Remember those? They wrapped around your hips a couple of times and were covered with silver studs...anyhow, my parents wouldn't let me have one ("too tough looking") so the coolest girl in school said she'd let me wear hers. Flattered by her attention, I said great - only to discover when she tried to put it on me, that it wouldn't go around me. It was several inches too short from being able to be buckled. Lucky for me, she didn't make a big deal but I was humiliated.

About the same time, we did some dopey project in art class where the teacher traced your shadow in profile on butcher paper and then you decorated it with things you liked or whatever. I remember mine having a big double chin, and I remember being amazed by it, that my chin didn't go straight back to my neck at a nice 90-degree angle. I think that's where a lot of my self-consciousness began, at that age, and it never really ended. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

OHHHHH--i have like 6868658 million!There was the time I was sitting in the desk at school and of course, this was high school and the desks were made for like...elementary school kids, and i got stuck trying to get out (oh, did i mention i could barely breathe?! OH, and try putting your head on the desk like that! NOT EASY MY FRIEND!). Then there were the times in gym when we did track and i was ALWAYS the last one to finish. Oh, and the time i was in elementary school and they weighed us in p.e. and everyone asked what my weight was (" not sure. this scale gave me one thing and my scale gave me another-so im not sure" *beet red*) lol...oh, and that time in gym when i was NOT ONLY the most uncoordinated girl in the class, i couldn't even hold myself up on the bar to even ATTEMPT a chinup. Seriously sad.

Dolly said...

Well one of a million that I really remember was one day I was sitting in my char and it broke! I cried and ran out and even the teacher was laughing! There was never an apology not even from my teacher. I loved across the street from school so I just walked home. I refused to go back to school, but instead of telling my Mom I just pretended to be sick for a week. That was in 6th grade.

Marly said...

In the fifth grade my class had to do chinups on the bar outside, and I couldn't even bend my elbows. When I got down a boy in my class poked me in the stomach and said "NOBODY could pull YOU up the bar!" and everybody heard him.

In the 7th grade I confessed my love to a boy and he said that he would never ever ever be with me because I was fat, had bad acne, a funny voice and was annoying.

Thankfully by the beginning of the tenth grade I lost about 30 lbs. Life is much, much easier at 115-120 rather than 150.

Anonymous said...

I only realised I was fat for the first time when I overheard my Mum describe me on the phone as "big boned" when I was going horse riding! Till then I'd led a fairly sheltered life. Now I'm average size, but I had an embarrassing moment last week when I sat on a bench in a crowded cafe and it broke, just as I was tucking into food. There were families everywhere and they laughed (with me, not at me, I think)!

Anonymous said...

I actually don't really understand how a child can be fat. I mean, I see that once you go through puberty and if you eat a lot gaining weight is quite usual, but I just NEVER understand when I see a fat child...every child I personally know is skinny and most of them (incl. me & my siblings) eat a ton. I don't mean to come off as bitchy, because I genuinely appreciate this blog, but how can one be fat as a child? Did your parents forbid you to run around?

buffpuff said...

Personally, no. Although running was never my thing. Swimming was, and riding my bike. In truth I wasn't all that fat anyway, simply fulfilling my genetic inheritance. I had long slim limbs and a round middle, which started getting significantly rounder at around 8 or 9 years old. I get my shape from my dad's side of the family - though my short-waist and long legs I inherited from my mum. In addition, there isn't a flat-chested woman to be found anywhere in my lineage.

Both my parents had been way fatter than me as children - my dad was a keen swimmer like me, while my mum was a sprinter. They grew up in World War 2 during rationing so there wasn't a great deal of pigging out going on. And although I liked junk like every other kid I didn't actually have that much access to it. Plus the UK didn't get Macdonalds, Pizza Hut or what my stepbrother used to refer to as "Kentucky Fried Rat" until I was well into my teens.

I was a fat kid with fat parents and grandparents. I'm decended from Russian Jewish peasant stock who fled the pogroms at the turn of the last century. Some children are just fat because they're fat because they're fat. Be grateful you weren't one of them.

tara said...

I have a billion embarrasing fat stories since I was 200lbs by the time I was 10. By the way, I ran around, danced and played hopskotch I was just fat. We all have different bodies-it probably has something to do with a combination of genetics and metabolism-as well has how we eat.

But anyway even though it was a LONG time ago, I can't think of any of those stories as amusing. Only being able to wear clothing meant for old ladies sucked, breaking furniture was awful, being tortured by former friends who wanted to get "in" with the skinny popular crowd is something I haven't gotten over yet!
I would love to do an anthology someday of our experiences, I think it would be interesting.


Anonymous said...

I was fat as a child just because I was, then I lost quite a bit of weight when I hit puberty, just because I did. I've never been sporty but I ate more after puberty, if anything. The podgy childhood haunts me still.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't really a fat kid but I wasn't a skinny little girl either. However I have always liked to eat and in second grade when I asked the teacher for a jolly rancher instead of a toy prize she called me little miss piggy in front of the whole class (she was disciplined by the school at least, and I got to switch teachers)

littlem said...

"Did your parents forbid you to run around?"

Actually, yes.

The story I'd choose to tell (I have other horrible ones, of course) is sort of inside out on the topic. I went to music camp sort of round but came back SKINNY SKINNY -- as a result of having walked to and from orchestra practice 4x a day, and eating only one daily meal because I didn't want the cute 1st chair boys to see me eating -- but with the first boobs of my life. Neither parent really had the chops to deal with the blossoming tweener body image thing, my dad didn't really give a damn what I did as long as I brought home straight As and was no trouble, and my mom was a terrified control freak as a result of her own Ray Bradbury circus of a childhood.

As a result, I was kept in the house for the rest of the summer, never let out to go out and run around, and really had no well-honed rebellion skills, and put every ounce back on that I lost at camp.

I think -- ballet class (ordered to lose 30 pounds to get in to the college company, "moves well otherwise" was the instructor's comment) and all other madness and crap aside -- that was the real beginning of my body image ruination.

Makes me sad to think about it again.

Tree Trunk Legs (which is what they chose to call me, the mf 's) said...

Oh God, how could I possibly decide which of the bazillion stories to tell? The fact of that matter is that I wasn't nearly as fat as a lot of kids I see today. I still have a pair of shorts I wore in 8th grade, and when I look at them now, they're quite small. In fact, my 8 year old neice can't wear them, and she's considered average.

I think one of the worst stories I can recall was a school bus fire drill. I was in 8th grade, and at my Catholic school I was the current favorite to be picked on because of my weight.
Anyway, I knew that if you sat in the rear section of the bus, you would be required to jump out of the emergency exit rear door, so I desperately tried, unsuccessfully, to get a seat in the first half, so I would have to endure what I already knew would happen.
But I didn't get that lucky, I was juuuuuuuust over the invisible line that landed me in the rear section of the bus. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the door to do the jump, all the bullies (approx 95% of my classmates) had already evacuated the bus and where actually waiting for me to do my jump so they could yell BOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!! when I hit the ground. I fantasized for mere moments before I took the leap about jumping and kicking the worst of the bunch in the mouth, but in the end I just jumped, endured the Boooooooommmmmmmm!!!!! and later licked my wounds, dried my tears, and daydreamed about the revenge I would someday take on those assholes. I'm 34 now, that was what? 21 years ago? and I STILL fantasize about some sort of satisfaction! lol

katie said...

They made me eat poo because i was fat and would eat 'anything'.

Buffpuff said...

Biiiiig hug, Littlem! And Booooooommmmm!!!-Girl, if I were you I think I'd probably have donned the requisite spooky mask and gone Brian DePalma slashy on your ex-classmates the night of the senior prom.

Either I underwent such serious traumas I've repressed them or I simply didn't break any furniture or catapult any lightweights into the stratosphere, but for the life of me, I can only remember one wince-making anecdote, but it was definitely character forming.

When I was 8 I lived about 20 minutes bus ride from my junior school and used to get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way with a couple of friends who lived closer. One of their mothers took to making us each a grated cheese sandwich, which we used to eat on the way...and our extra mural nibbling activities got clocked by our teacher, who absolutely hated my guts.

To make a long story short she went on a rant about how unseemly it was to be eating in the street but singled me out in particular. She asked me if I'd had breakfast, (which was unlikely as I've never been a morning person and eating too early in the day always makes me feel nauseous). Then she started jabbing me in the stomach I've been sensitive about all my life, yelling words to the effect of, "Look at you! Look at the size of your stomach! It's enormous! You're revolting! If you carry on eating like a pig, you'll end up the size of one!" front of the whole class.

Never mind I was out walking in the fresh air with my non-chubby friends. Never mind those friends had been eating their sandwiches too. Is it any wonder I smell BS the moment fat-bashers start insisting their insults are motivated by health rather than appearance?

Anonymous said...

When I was in middle school, I was biking home from a friend's house and I was hit by a car. The only injury I received was losing most of the tip of my thumb (*GORY DETAILS* it, er, kind of got ground off, so to speak, as I flipped over my handlebars).
Being one of the few fat kids in my small school, I had always been the object of teasing and bullying. When I came back to school after the accident, a rumor immediately started that I had "bit my thumb off because I was hungry" - and of course, it stuck. Some jackass from my hometown found my myspace account a few months ago, and left me a comment along the lines of "Eat any thumbs lately, fatass?"

GoBetty said...

I won the school-wide chin-up contest when I was in grade 2. It was a junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 school. I did the most chin-ups, like 90 or something. I wasn't fat though.

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, the see-saw was a scene of one of my proud "fat kid" moments. My little sister was three years younger, and of course a lot smaller than me. Her class and mine had recess at the same time, so we'd try to use the see-saw together. Somehow I figured out that if she stayed seated at the end, but I moved up closer to the pivot, we'd balance out and it would work. I don't remember anyone ever commenting or embarrassing me about it, and I remain proud of my little ten-year-old self for figuring that out.

Of course kids were horrible in phys ed, and in other general ways. But I'm proud of the see-saw.

Anonymous said...

BuffPuff- what are your opinions on Posh Spice? Do you find her inane? Just wondering, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I can't help it. AWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

Sorry, Anon. 12;24, but that was just adorable.

Hallmark is probably spying on us now, waiting to make a commercial out of that story.

Laura said...

I think my most horrible fat kid story is the time I got a 5 inch water beetle dropped down my shirt simply because I was the biggest girl in the class. I was not even fat then. Small wonder I am now. And I hate bugs.

:( Kids are cruel. So are adults.

buffpuff said...

BuffPuff- what are your opinions on Posh Spice? Do you find her inane? Just wondering, thanks.

Curiously, I recently read an article about the pernicious influence of extremely thin celebrity role models on young women. This piece made a connection between the downward spiral of Posh's singing career, (which pretty much ceased the moment the Spice Girls split), and her physical transformation, alleging that her body had in effect become her career.

I have to say I think about her as little as humanly possible.

5" water beetle?!!!! Ugggggh!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering (about Posh spice) because there's a times journalist that writes about her (occasionally at the end of her articles), and you've got a similar writing style. India Knight- I really like her writing. I was wondering if you were her, which is why I asked. Wow, this seems incredibly weird now....

Izzy said...

Oh god all of the bad memories flooding....I mostly remember HATING fourth grade because there were rows of those godawful chairs-attached-to-desks, mine was the second in (thank god) but the FIRST chair in the row was such a tight squeeze oh hurt so bad!! I would go past the SIX people on my left to avoid going past that ONE chair. Ugh. After fifth grade through the rest of my schooling years I wasn't teased for being fat (thank god, somewhat due to going to school with a bunch of the same people for a long time and I got kinda "gothy" in high school) except I remember during my first month of high school walking to class smiling to myself because I was having a good day and passing two guys, one of whom said, "Why are you smiling? It's not like you can eat me or anything!" ARRRRRRGGGH.

Buffpuff said...

Oh, wow, Anon, I wish I was India Knight! Thank you for the compliment. I like her writing a lot.

littlem said...


Why did you NOT jump and kick the worst of the bunch in the mouth?

I have seen that used as a really effective "taunt deterrent".

I will say no more. :D

Anonymous said...

How much time do you have?

When I was in third grade parachute pants were all the rage. I was rocking my cute pair of purple synthetic parachute pants with zippers everywhere when I was sent on a special assignment with one of the cute "popular" boys to go to the principal's office to pick something up. It was quiet since everyone was in class and after a few minutes the boy turned to me and said, "what is that sound?" I knew instantly that he was talking about the swooshing sound my thighs made when the synthetic parachute pants material rubbed together but I was too embarrased to say anything. After a minute he kind of looked over at me and said, "oh" when he too realized what it was. I cried that night and refused to ever wear those parts ever again even though I loved them so much.

buffpuff said...

Did you know, Anonymous, that the word "Frou Frou" was originally coined to describe the swishing sound French noblewomen's silk skirts made when they walked? I reckon he was way more embarassed than you for asking such a dumb bunny question.

Anonymous said...

I'm 40 and I still remember embarassing fat moments from grade school. In 6th grade, I attended music school in the summer. My mom picked me up every day, but one day our car broke down, so she called and let the school know that she wouldn't be able to get me and she would be sending a cab. This was a big deal, because I lived in the suburbs in the Midwest and NO ONE took cabs, except for rich people and we weren't. The teacher announced that I was getting a cab in front of the class and the other kids were visibly impressed. A boy that I had a crush on yelled out "yeah, but she won't be able to fit in it, she's so fat."
In 7th grade, my "best" friend thought she was being kind when she told me that another girl had mocked me that day. My friend was talking about me and the other girl said "who?" and she proceeded to explain who I was and then the other girl said "oh, I know who you mean" and then she puffed out her cheeks and spread her arms out, to indicate how fat I was.
Finally, this isn't about me, but when I was in high school, there was a very overweight girl. She was walking down the hall one day and some kids started teasing her and sang "I feel the earth, move, under my feet..." She stopped, grabbed one by the neck, slammed him up against a locker and told him to shut the hell up. And he did. And NO ONE ever made fun of her like that again.

littlem said...

I thought everyone's parachute pants swished when they walked.

I've seen it happen with skinny people (guys and girls, although guys more; I don't know what that says), not just us non-skinny types.

Wear your swishy pants with pride! Especially if you love them. Life is short.

Stacia said...

My P.E. teachers were deliberately mean. One "accidentally" got my age wrong and made me run a mile for the annual physical fitness thing when I was 8 years old. Everyone else had to run about 1/4 of a mile. In front of all the parents at the PT conference she claimed it took me that long to run just the 1/4 mile and made fun of me deliberately. My dad stood up for me though and the bitch P.E. teacher suddenly went "deaf". She was hearing impaired but could read lips, and she obviously saw what dad had said, but pretended like she didn't. I was so embarassed.

When we moved to a small town called Alma, in Kansas, the P.E. teacher refused to let me participate in some sports and then flunked me. I got so nervous around her (she hated me, was huge, missing teeth, very hairy, and didn't bathe regularly) I got nauseous and sick one day and went into the gym just in time to hear her calling me a "lying bitch" in front of all the kids and claimed I was feigning illness. Unfortunately, her student teacher got busted for the remark, not her, because (surprise surprise) she lied when confronted.

littlem said...

"She stopped, grabbed one by the neck, slammed him up against a locker and told him to shut the hell up. And he did. And NO ONE ever made fun of her like that again."

Now THAT's what I'm talking about.


M said...

See-saws still cause flashbacks for me!
One of my earliest memories is from when I was in first grade and we had public weigh-ins in gym class. I was always 10 lbs more than the other kids, so it was torture. I got on the scale and the teacher (of course) was announcing the weights. This boy Eric K. (I do remember his last name and what he looked like, but I don't know that it would be appropriate to post the full name here!) said "63 lbs? Whoa!"
I still have that voice in my head when I step on a scale, and I'm now 24.

mariabellissima said...

When I was in third grade, there was a "nutrition" club for the heavy kids. So... at about 2 in the afternoon, the voice over the loud speaker said:
And I had to stand up in front of my whole class and go to the elephant club.
For people with degrees in education, didn't they learn about sensitivity?!

Buffbuff said...

And what activities took place in the elephant club?

Enquiring minds are dying to know!

mr-school-club-namer said...

Thats the most hilariously - albeit cruelly - entitled school club ever! In some ways, you've got to respect them for calling a spade a spade. It might have been worse if it was something ridiculously optimistic like "Butterfly Club". Still, being called an official elephant - ouch.

I wear my scars on the inside said...

39 comments before me. I read them all. I have my own awful memories, some of which mirror the ones mentioned before me. But the asshole who found one of the previous anon. commenter's myspace years after she was hit by a car and asked "eat any thumbs lately, fatass." has to be the biggest ASSHOLE of all time. Kids are jerks, but I guess they have the excuse of being kids and not knowing any better. The fact this grown person did this is totally effed up. Same goes for the asshole teachers in previous comments. (I'm a teacher, and I hate what they do to my profession. Some teachers suck serious ass.)

I was also made to feel singled out and AWFUL in my gym classes by the teacher and the kids. WTF? If adults want heavy kids to get active and bring their weight down, rediculing them and allowing their peers to bully them isn't going to work!

I'm all fired up now!

For me, the worst comment I really remember was from my own grandmother. I have a "pear" shaped body, and even as a kid always carried my weight on the bottom, but looked pretty average on top. When we were at a doctors office, the receptionist had the same body type as me, except she was extremely obese. And by today's standards, I wasn't even that fat back then! My grandmother actually told me that she knew I'd "end up just like that ugly fat lady over there" when I grew up. Jesus! My own grandmother? That is effed up!