On The Cuff

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Our humble narrator goes to great lengths (well, ten meters or so) to lose weight

Submitted: April 19, 2017

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Submitted: April 19, 2017



On the Cuff



Harris Proctor



I think I made a huge mistake.


I’m reclined at a 45-degree angle, as the instructions to my TrimSlimmins Thinnation Weight-Shed SleeveÒ recommend.  The patented Supra-Dental anchors have molded around the base of my gums, and the Sleeve has proceeded far enough down my digestive tract that I can stop breathing exclusively through my nose.  I’m dying of thirst, as the directions indicated I might be at this point.  There are hours to go before the device is fully installed.  The manufacturers suggest, “trying to be asleep, or binge-watch a television’s programme.”  I’m not bothered by pidgin English when it is attached to some-assembly-required furniture or an online recipe for fondue.  This is a little different.


I can feel the Sleeve winding through my guts.  It’s uncoiling like a snake, slinking its way through my intestines.  I’m trying to remember my high school biology classes.  I think the contraption has paused at the threshold of my ileum.  There is nothing I can do but wait.  I brought this upon myself.  I realized I was getting fat, and I took the easy way out.  I bought a Sleeve.


For anyone who has just emerged from a life spent in a dim cave, the TrimSlimmins Thinnation Weight-Shed SleeveÒ is a semi-porous, sheer tube of space-age fabric.  It has the feel of silk stockings, and mine is a loud shade of teal (I understand there are four different colors.)  It is about ten meters in length- that would be roughly thirty feet to those of us who struggle with the metric system- and doesn’t appear much wider than a garden hose.  The “anchors” are at one end.  The other end, the one I’m waiting for, is the “Cuff.”  The part I swallowed.  The part I can feel inching through my person.


“Remain Calm.”  The words are repeated over and over in the instructions.  Many have found themselves in a panic while their Sleeve was halfway down.  Some of those pulled it out in defiance of the fairly clear instructions.  TrimSlimmins release form #5 is very straightforward in describing the risks of an oral removal.  Basically, the cuff keeps unfurling while the panicking customer pulls yard after yard of semi-porous tubing out of their mouth, like some kind of a ghastly magic trick.


I’m remaining calm.  I’m reminding myself that the human digestive system is a one-way avenue for good reason.  I’m feeling like I made a huge mistake.




It was the commercial with the pudding that sold me on the idea of buying the contraption.  Of all the ads.  It was the pudding.  The guy was elbow-deep in a punch bowl full of chocolate pudding, with his “before” picture on one side of the screen.  Once a four-hundred-pound man, the pudding guy was now lean as a marathon runner.  Only he didn’t exercise.  He didn’t have any surgery or medication.  He just had a Sleeve.


“I can eat all the pudding I want!” he squealed with a delight usually reserved for six-year-olds on Christmas morning.  I had seen ads for the Sleeve for months.  I thought it was the most insane thing I’d ever heard of.  A thirty-odd-foot sock you swallow that doesn’t let you digest “the bad stuff!  Only vitamins and minerals!”  The pudding ad caught me in a moment of weakness.  I didn’t want to eat a vat of pudding.  Strawberry ice cream, sure.


I had just that day accepted that my weight was trending in the wrong direction.  It had been sliding downhill for a while.  A couple of years.  The income of a writer can be so inconsistent.  Thus, a lot of crap food.  And, yes, a decent amount of alcohol.  So a six pack of domestic beer and a couple Bing Bong burgers from Buckee’s will only run about ten dollars.  The cumulative effect on the waistline can be so cruel.


My friend and mentor, Karl Jabbar, asked that day if I had gained weight.  Karl is super-morbidly obese and confined to his apartment.  I felt very insecure and defensive, being asked about my girth by a bed-ridden man eating fig preserves with his fingers.  I know the strange turns of fate that led Karl to his unique situation; I bottled up my indignation and changed the subject.  Yet I vowed that I would address my fitness before I was in a pachydermous state myself.


I caved in to the sleeve after one week and one pudding commercial.  I know what I am.  I am a weak and lazy man.  After seven days of eating leafy greens and abstaining from all but the clear liquors, I was miserable.  Exercise doesn’t come naturally to me.  I like walking and exploring- most of my travel pieces have been described as pedestrian ramblings- but I typically wrap up those explorations with beer and fries.  And, yes, occasionally ice cream.  I looked into programs and procedures.  Everything was damn expensive.  Ridiculous compared to a sixer and a couple Bing Bong’s.


Then I saw it.  There was my salvation.  In high-pudding-relief.  The Sleeve.  Three easy payments of $49.95.  They sold me.




I have been researching fad diets for most of my sleeve experience.  There isn’t much else to do when you are waiting for a sock to pop out of your colon.  The desire to look good and still eat whatever you want is older than the proverbial Roman binge-and-purge affairs.  An Egyptian monument known as the Hamencheteph Stelae are a series of three hieroglyph-covered stones discovered in Amarna.  The monuments suggest an elaborate series of potions and invocations to eliminate unwanted pounds.  No less than twenty-six gods and demi-gods are called upon to keep a royal waistline in check.  The Greeks had a potion themselves.  Modern scholarship has determined that the juniper-infused concoction most likely caused extreme nausea.  Nothing like a few days of barfing to curb your appetite.


For the most part, however, the weight-loss gimmick is a recent phenomenon.  The average person throughout history has struggled to find food.  The inability to push oneself from the dinner table was a luxury, and proverbs from diverse cultures applaud those whose good fortune has contributed to a fat ass.  A Mongolian expression, “If you’re eating your third helping of yak stew, I have a daughter I’d like to sell to you,” is believed to be about 2,000 years old.  It wasn’t until the age of empire that flab became a growing problem.


Spain had an era known as: La Colina de Gordos, a wave of obesity that followed the influx of riches from the new world into Madrid.  The colonies provided the solution to the problem.  It was a drink called “The headache” made from chili peppers, coffee and cocaine.  France had a baroque bulge in he waistline that was addressed with tinctures of mercury and unisex corsets.  Huskiness remained a rich person’s problem until the Victorian era, when a more democratic sharing of wealth and leisure spawned a plumping of the middle class.  Without question, the most infamous fad diet of that era involved the humble tapeworm.


The idea is simple.  Consume a tapeworm egg you purchased through the mail.  The creature will hatch in your intestines, and presto!  The pounds will drop as you feast on whatever you like!  The phrase “tapeworm diet” has become synonymous with a crash diet of questionable scientific foundation.  Despite its unsettling imagery, there is no certainty that anyone actually participated in the real tapeworm diet.  There certainly were advertisements for the eggs.  People almost certainly bought them.  There’s a tricky thing about snake-oil salesmen, though.  What they are selling might not have any snake-oil in it.  Or tapeworm eggs as the case may be.  It was probably easier to contract a tapeworm accidentally than through a mail order service.


We could use a few tapeworms today.  Every year America gets more and more corpulent.  We seem determined to stay on this track.  The government subsidizes sugar and corn syrup.  We spend more money on drive-thru cheeseburgers than we do on nutritional education.  And while the food industry fattens us up with one half of our buck, the fitness industry takes the other half.  There’s no end in sight.  Unless you are willing to actualize change in your own existence and do the hard work necessary to live a healthy, fulfilling life.  Or if you have three easy payments of $49.95.




This may have been a big mistake.  I’m feeling a little sheepish as the Sleeve heads toward my jejunum.  Soon the messy part will begin.  I will be in the bathroom for a while.  The final push is a sort of colonic, which the instructions claim will eliminate a couple of pounds “right out the chute.”  After several wipes, swabs, and a disinfecting bath, I will be able to “trim and clip” my Cuff to the desired length.  The good people at TrimSlimmins (from Norway if I’m not mistaken) suggest enlisting a friend or lover to assist in the final phase of installation.  I’m not sure I have ever had a relationship intimate enough to rise to this occasion.  I remind myself that if I end up house-bound, I might never have another intimate relationship.


The Sleeve just turned a corner.  I farted pure brimstone.  I wonder if I should have tried meth instead.  I hear you can get a lot done if you don’t sleep for a week.  I feel buyer’s remorse like never before.  Not just for the Sleeve.  It’s like the ghosts of burgers past are snickering from the shadows.  Remain calm, I tell myself.  Things often have to get worse before they get better.  It is always darkest before the dawn.  I fart brimstone again.


Time to head to the latrine.  It’s definitely going to get worse.  But once I’m dropping “two to four kilos a week” (five to ten pounds), I’ll be doing the laughing, not the ghosts of burgers.  The TrimSlimmins folks say I should find my ideal body shape in four to six weeks.  I’m putting my faith in Norwegian engineering.  It might be the closest thing to finding religion that I have ever experienced.  I pray they can deliver the body that nature intended me to have.  Gotta go.  I’m farting like Dizzy Gillespie in the throes of a wild solo.




Coda: It’s been in for two weeks and I’ve dropped thirty pounds!  I’m born again!  Hallelujah! 

© Copyright 2018 Harris Proctor. All rights reserved.

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