[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ey, Bobbin. I am totally ready to start this essay with you, and I am definitely going to stay on topic, so if I start to ramble just give me a good solid jab with your finger! Like a witch jabbing a chubby kid that she’s thinking about putting into a cauldron.
“Well, kid, how about it? You got enough meat on your bones to make a good stew? Huh? Speak up! I don’t have all day. I’m a witch.”
The tried and true method for figuring out if kids are fat enough to make them into stew is to jab them with your bony old witch’s finger. Or your slender young witch’s finger! Who knows what kind of fingers you’d have if you were a witch? Witches is pimps too—go on brush your shoulders off (with a broom that you fly around on).
‘My, what beautiful fingers this witch is jabbing me with,’ the chunky kid might think to himself. ‘I bet she soaks them in a bowl full of lotion and rosewater everyday.’
You and I both know that this is not the secret to soft manageable hands, Bobbin, but let’s cut the kid some slack—he’s just a kid, and he’s about to get eaten by a witch. How the hell is he supposed to find the greatest skin care tips? Read them on the back of his Lunchables?
Maybe the witch will leave him a dog-eared copy of Cosmo in his cage. Read and learn, kid. I think I read an article about how some new hotshot editor at Cosmo has been sneaking quality writing amid all the sex tips and vapid stuff.
While she’s at it she should sneak in an article about escaping from a witch’s cage. Betrayed by your own Cosmo subscription, witch! Guess you should have gotten the New Yorker, which almost never features witch-escape tips.
I wish there were some kind of chart or graph or national registry of witches that let you know which witches had the softest hands. Like, softest to roughest. The Mallory-Wages Witch Hand Texture scale! I guess the government hasn’t stepped in and made this chart already because witches aren’t real. Thanks a lot, Edward Snowden!
Anyway, Bobbin, all I’m trying to say is that witch’s fingers are like space age meat thermometers that can measure body fat in an instant, delivering more accurate results than a hydrostatic weighing tank, which when you think about it is just a fancy cauldron.
If we could just figure out a way to convince witches to jab our nation’s schoolchildren and then NOT lock them in a cage lined with Cosmo articles for later consumption, then we could finally accomplish the goals set by Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George H.W. Bush when they formed the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1990!
And then you and I could join forces with Obama to form the President’s Council on Witch Hand Texture and Sports and Better Cosmo Articles. Let’s jab our way to fitness, Bobbin!
Well, kid, how about it? You got enough meat on your bones to make a good stew? Huh? Speak up! I don’t have all day. I’m a witch.
Jason, I am critical of most body composition measurement techniques and therefore thrilled about the development of a new standard such as the Witch’s Finger Poker. A bony witch’s digit probably would distinguish better between muscle and adipose tissue than the body fat calipers that textbooks cite as less precise but more efficient and therefore more popular than hydrostatic weighing tanks, the most effective measurement of all. I would allow Glinda the Good Witch to stab my abdomen with her nails, freshly coated with the classic OPI color Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie. But if the cafeteria lady masquerading as a BMI specialist at my former high school’s Wellness and Health Fair came charging toward me with a pair of mystery meat tongs she swears are state-of-the-art body fat calipers, I would click my heels and scream that there’s no body mass measurement more accurate than the Witch’s Finger Poker.
My latest BMI test occurred a decade ago in my college’s gymnasium and was performed by an Exercise Science undergraduate student. At the height of my struggle with laxative abuse and over-exercise, I finally had plummeted to the upper threshold of the Underweight category. I beamed with victory, fatigue, and constipation.
“You are so skinny!” the undergraduate exclaimed in a tone of jealousy and praise.
“Thank you!” I curtseyed.
Had Glinda the Good Witch been there, she would have floated in on a basketball and confronted me about my eating disorder instead of congratulating me on looking haggard.
“A brittle frame wields no power!” she would proclaim. “Begone to the Oz Eating Disorder Treatment Center!”
Glinda would thrust her wand up my butt, release my wizened bowels, and transport me to Oz, where staff members force patients to follow the 12-Step Yellow Brick Road Recovery Program. “If I Only Had a Healthy Body Image,” sung in unison, would kick off each morning’s group therapy session.
I was a chunky kid but still excelled during our school’s Presidential Fitness Test because I was terrified of being abducted from the playground by a pedophile and being thrown in his basement, which is pretty much the same thing as a witch’s cage littered with Cosmo sex tips promising to blow his mind, whoever “he” is. And the playground seemed like an ideal spot for both child predators and witches to snatch the students who fell behind during the various activities the Presidential Fitness Test requires. A witch lurking around the track while my class completed the one-mile run would have encountered difficulty catching me, a pleasantly plump first grader wearing a neon orange t-shirt under a neon pink t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up in order to reveal a range of blinding colors – not only to reflect early ‘90s fashion trends but also to impair my potential abductors’ vision. Plus, I could defend myself with the trio of slap bracelets curled around my thick forearm.
I would like to think my body meat would have added flavorful protein to a vat of soup, perhaps mixed with some lentils, onions, and carrots for diversity of texture and taste. But all the witches creeping around my school for food never found out how amazing I tasted because I was faster than I looked. I passed fat Georgia Ellis on my last lap and didn’t look back when I heard a witch swoop out of the woods and trap her in a cage, its iron bars rattling while she screamed. No one noticed Georgia’s disappearance as we filed back inside the building for nap time. Which is the message I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George H.W. Bush intended to convey when they formed the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1990: manage your BMI or you will find yourself at the bottom of a hydrostatic weighing cauldron.
Bobbin, we never had any BMI tests in the cafeteria/gymnasium of my elementary school, but a bat flew into the cafeteria of my 5th grade alma mater West End Elementary during lunch period once, and it may have been conducting its own informal BMI tests with its bat sonar, but we’ll never know the results because our guidance counselor threw his Members Only jacket on the bat and hustled it out of the cafeteria. Congratulations, bat! Now YOU’RE a member!
The bat was all like “scree! scree!” from underneath the jacket, which translates in bat language to, “These children are too fat!”
Seems like this whole essay is about Halloween-type creatures figuring out how fat kids are. What’s next, a mummy whose bandages can wrap around your arm and take your blood pressure? The whole cast of the Monster Mash is working at CVS now!
Although if a mummy is taking your blood pressure, it seems like your blood pressure would always be high, because you’re terrified of the mummy. Maybe we put the mummy inside a box and then you stick your arm in the box and you don’t know a mummy is in the box. And then put a big sticker on the side of the box that reads NO MUMMIES INSIDE or MUMMY-FREE BLOOD PRESSURE READINGS.
Anyway, Bobbin, that bat was probably just hanging around in the cafeteria hoping to inspire any nearby orphans to avenge their parents’ deaths. You think the bats want to stop at Batman? “The way I see it, if we can get one guy to dress up like a bat, why not keep it going? Why not just lurk around elementary schools looking all inspiring? Some of those kids have got to have murdered parents. In this country, you gotta inspire the orphans first. Then when you get the orphans, you get the Batmen. Then when you get the Batmen, then you get the women.”
That’s the bat from my elementary school talking, by the way, in subtitles because all you hear is “scree! scree! scree!” And it looks like he’s quoting Scarface! Or at least he was, before he got a Members Only jacket thrown over his head. To be fair, Scarface was a relatively new movie when I was in 5th grade, so everybody was probably like, “say hello to my little friend!” and it still seemed fresh. My guidance counselor might have even said it as he was releasing the bat back into the wild from his Member’s Only jacket. “Say hello to my little friend, wooded area behind the science classrooms!”
Awww! It’s so cute to think of the bat as “my little friend.” This is my little friend, everybody! He’s a cute little bat who loves Al Pacino movies.
Anyway, Bobbin, Batman’s costume is the Members Only jacket of the bat world. People used to love it, then they thought it was corny, now it’s cool again, and eventually everyone will be wearing one if an influential group of bloodsuckers have their way.
“Eeeeeee!” she screamed, followed by Flap-flap-flap-flap. Flap-flap-flap-flap, “Eeeeeee!” Flap-flap-flap-flap, “Eeeeeee!”
Jason, it’s cool that a bat flew into your school cafeteria, but a bat flew into my house when I was in junior high while watching a dance competition on TV with my sister. Because of the blaring Prodigy song that accompanied the University of Georgia Gym Dogs’ piece, we barely heard my mother stumble through the side door and drop two armfuls of groceries, the cans of chicken broth and kidney beans denting the hardwood floor. So while your bat must have been attracted to the smell of pizza crusts dipped in Ranch dressing, my bat preferred homemade meals, or the 1997 hit “Firestarter.”
Only after my mother sprinted a dozen laps around the kitchen island shouting “Eeeeeee!” followed by a series of flaps did we saunter over to check on her. We found her cowering in the corner, one foot inside the lazy Susan smashing a brand new box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as though she planned to cram herself in the cabinetry amongst the family’s cereal selection and hide.
“Eeeeeee!” she screamed, followed by Flap-flap-flap-flap.
Flap-flap-flap-flap, “Eeeeeee!” Flap-flap-flap-flap, “Eeeeeee!”
“Errr, herherher. Let’s get Deddy,” I suggested á la Beavis.
“Girls, you know I hate it when you talk like that,” Mother groaned while using a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran as a shield.
Timber disappeared into the back of the house and returned with our father, barefoot and gripping a fly fishing net.
With one whack Daddy knocked the air out of the bat, which landed in a puddle at the foot of the refrigerator. Daddy scooped it up and meandered outside to a Christmas wreath attached to a trellis. He pulled the bat out out of the net by the tip of its left wing and placed it upside down on the wreath, partially covering a sparkly red bow.
The bat froze to death overnight.
I later learned that Daddy had intended to capture the bat unscathed and felt guilty for slaying it. Maybe he ended up using the bat’s body as a template for a suit to wear while avenging the death of his grandfather Luther, who got shot during a high-speed chase in the early 1900s. People say that killing their loved one’s murderer doesn’t ease any pain, though, because that doesn’t bring back the original victim from the dead, and it would have been preferable for the loved one not to be murdered in the first place.