My mother was a canasta maven. She played two or three times a week. I was always happy when the floating game was held at our apartment, because that meant there would be plenty of candy. I was a fat little boy, and my gluttony knew no bounds. My mother would leave out dishes of fruit and all sorts of candy. I didn't touch the fruit, but I ate about half the candy. My favorite was the bridge mix--chocolates with five or six different artificial centers. Every time I would go back for more candy, my mother would say, in front of all the canasta ladies, "Enough already! Aren't you fat enough?" It was embarrassing, but not enough to stop me.
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I remember an ad that always used to run in the Sunday Times Magazine. It was an ad for a fat boys' camp, and it featured a photograph of a now svelte boy in a pair of way-oversized pants. The boy held the waist out to show how much weight he'd lost. Sometimes I would stand in front of a mirror and hold my stomach in and try to hold my pants out like the boy in the photo, but it hardly made a difference.
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Every time I hear the word "tit" I think of what Lynn Kurland said to me in 1967. It was summertime, and we were both eleven. It must have been very hot out, as I had my shirt off, and I was normally loath to show off my chubby little body. So there we were, Lynn and I, girl and boy, puberty only a stone's throw away, when Lynn looked at me and said, "Boy, look at those tits! They're bigger than mine." And, indeed, they were.