Love Letter from My Life Insurance Company

Happy Holidays, everyone.  Yes, it’s trite, but also it’s safe.  I contend that no one reasonably can be offended by those two words.  Happy Holidays  is as safe as painting the office in a rich shade of white. Further, the desire for happiness is a near-universal human aspiration.  It’s written into the US Declaration of Independence after all, and thus, it must be true.
founding fathers
More than a few of us spent (or wasted, depending on one’s perspective) much time and energy during your youth in the relentless and frequently unrequited pursuit of happiness.
cookie monster

Inasmuch as it’s been months since I’ve posted about anything at all of any consequence (save for the occasional picture of a family member of inane internet meme),  it seemed appropriate for this blog to be about changes since then.   Change, for me, arrived via the US Mail.
Several days ago came a seeming form letter of sorts from my life insurance carrier.  You know the kind:  you can convert your really cheap term insurance to some extremely pricey alternative that has the additional benefit of (insert insurance industry gobble-de-gook here) and it will only cost you the full purchase cost of a large new boat each month, in addition to the hundreds you already pay.  Yes, I too throw those form letters away.
This one was different. Here it is:

“…The 20-year term life insurance policy you purchased 20 years ago is about to expire.  You are still alive somehow, so we won and you lost.  We have your money and you are not getting it back.  We’ll be happy to sell you another term life insurance policy, maybe, depending on what our doctors think of the sorry state of your health….”

“… Of course, you are now 54 years old and not 34, so your policy will cost an arm, leg, and another arm – because we really doubt you’ll live long enough to see the plan mature and we are not in business to lose money.  And   by the way buddy, that medical screening starts with and focuses on (drum-roll please) – your weight….!”

“…Fat people die early all the damn time, and if you are not skinny enough to cast no shadow standing sideways, your premium will be exorbitant as we laugh all the way to the bank. Love, Your Life Insurance Carrier.” 
oy gevalt
Maybe not in those exact words, but may as well have been. Well and as some of you know, at least twice before in my life I have lost several dozen pounds and it seems that need – motivated my dollars and cents – is here again with not a moment to lose.  This blog, therefore, will recount my trials and tribulations with (yet another) endeavor to undo a lifetime of unrepentant gluttony.  Anyone who wants to embark with me is more than welcome.  As we prepare for a January 1, 2016 start (what are resolutions for, if not to resolve?), here are some considerations I have pondered over the years of fighting and losing the Battle of the Bulge:
Pounds are Lost Through Liquid Elimination – Doubt it?  Drink a bunch of water.  Wait until you badly have to go to the bathroom.  Hop on the scale.  Pee.  Hop on the scale again.  If you are like most people, you have lost a pound or more, right then, right down the drain.  Stepping up the water intake will help your body eliminate pounds more regularly, particularly if you also curtail sodium.  Don’t use the salt shaker, and if you can see or taste the salt, whatever you are eating is too salty.
cat pee
It’s Push-Aways More Than Push-Ups – A couple of weeks ago, I am at the gym and overhear the conversation between a couple of 20-somethings in the locker room.  “I can eat however much I want because I come here every day” is what I gleaned from their conversation.  My experience is more comparable to most middle-aged people:  easily 80% of weight loss is achieved through portion control.  Push-away from the table.  Push-ups (and more generally, exercise) certainly helps muscle tone, cardio-vascular health, energy and such.  However, without portion control (yes, you can call that calorie counting), the odds are that a gym program alone at best will achieve weight maintenance but not loss.  Calories out must exceed calories in.  Eating and drinking fewer calories is the easiest and most direct path.
Trust The Experts – At age 54, I’m running out of time to be wrong if I try and lose weight on my own.  Weight Watchers (and its competitors) are tried and true programs that work for many.  Some derive benefit from the camaraderie at the meetings (particularly, it seems, if they are female, for whatever reason).  Several years ago I identified (or a friend identified for me) a “free” online system for guided weight loss through tracking nutrition and exercise.  It’s called “Sparkpeople.”  I have an account there – I’m boss61 if you want to find me and follow along – and I have found the web site easy to use, convenient and reasonably motivational.  It’s also free (though like many web sites, they’ll try and up-sell on the margins of your screens unless you use ad-filtering software.

So, two weeks to go.  Or better yet, start now.  Who’s with me?


Darmok – Or All The Calories He Had Had Had

Space, the final frontier of the campy and inane?  Not always.  Bear with me here.


The most thought-provoking and conversation-elucidating Star Trek episode all time, by far, was a story from Season Five of “The Next Generation” called Darmok. Our intrepid Space-Farers, living in a future where there simply was no energy crisis, unresolved Middle Eastern conflict, global warming, national debt, or obesity, encounter a powerful alien species and endeavor to communicate.


The aliens are chatty enough, but what they have to say is completely nonsensical. As the TV audience gradually learned at the same time as the Enterprise crew (which is a writing style that made Star Trek great, when pulled off), that they speak in metaphors. Metaphors, all the time. Nothing but metaphors. With the TV audience as bewildered as the crew, one astute Starship crew member remarks that the alien conversation is as though when meaning “romance”, the words used would be “Juliet on the balcony.” A grounding in the culture and history of the alien world would be necessary for comprehension, even if the words themselves could be translated (and in the Star Trek world, a universal translator exists).
Even the metaphors, used frequently enough, were shortened to the first word. Much like the court case that established the rights of the accused being called Miranda. Out-of-context and without cultural references, Miranda means nothing. Try “tea party” – a political effort to reign in excessive government spending and its manifestation of taxation. Not obvious, from the words. We know because we are familiar with the words being metaphorical for a philosophy favoring smaller and less costly government.
Ultimately, through trial and error with the TV audience learning right along with the crew-members, some halting basis of communication was achieved and a potential war was diffused and the credits rolled. So let’s try this means of communication out in the world of dieting and weight loss. It might go like this:

1. Hindenburg – I ate so much I feel I could explode.


2. Richard Simmons wear – tight, fitting, shiny spandex gym clothes


3. Perrier Poisoning – Overdoing water consumption in an effort to be healthy and pee off the pounds

4. Bugs’ Plate – lots of raw veggies, like Bugs Bunny would have eaten


5. Jake and Elwood – Four whole fried chickens and dry white toast (not a good diet)


Bonus entry – “All the calories she had had had had no effect on his effortless attainment of his weight loss goal.”

Now you try it. Do better than me. Be metaphorical, alliterative, or grammatically accurate if in a most incongruous way!


Copyrighted images from