My friend Tess LeMarr tells me it’s situational, and the pounds will melt off. I’m not so sure. And we both had a good laugh about Lance Armstrong’s remark to the whistleblower, a statement that appalled Oprah and the nation, “Listen, I called you crazy. I called you a b——, I called you all these things, but I never called you fat.”
Each January some folks make New Year’s resolutions to eat better and exercise more. I do that every night before I go to bed. That resolve lasts until the next morning when I pick up a triple-chocolate muffin and a Diet Coke. That’s what I’m having right now as I peck away at the keyboard, writing another column (My computer stopped working recently, and when I called my son Lance to ask him to troubleshoot the problem for me, he finally said, “Mom, the only thing I can tell you now is to pick up the keyboard and turn it upside down.” When I did, enough food crumbs fell out to feed a small mouse- or maybe a medium-sized one).
I was always thin or average size until I came to work at Southeast as an administrator. A librarian at the college Carol Carlton and I said we could, with our extensive experience with the cuisine of virtually every restaurant in the county, write a book called “Dining Out in Harlan County.”
Before Southeast, I would eat small, nutritious meals, but in Cumberland I found myself at lunch time each work day eating meat, two veggies, bread and desert, with a diet drink, of course.
Before Southeast, I exercised regularly: riding my bike, swimming, or playing volleyball. After coming to the college as a full-time administrator, I sat at my desk most of the day.
I came to Southeast in August of 1978, and when I went for my annual physical checkup in December, I was amazed at what the scales revealed.
Other folks, however, were more aware than I was, because one day then-president Dr. Larry Stanley said something to this effect, “Vivian. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I want you to know I wasn’t always this big. Look at this photo of me when I first came to Southeast. I’m just saying…”
I saw further proof a few weeks later. Parker Boggs, Cathy Creech Whitson and I were at a conference in Memphis, and someone took a picture of us in front of the gate to Elvis’s mansion. There I am in a new gray coat, looking quite pudgy. I have a new coat because the one I wore the winter before was too small for me.
I’d like to ask you, very politely, that the next time you see me in Harlan or Cumberland – and I’m there four or five times a year — please don’t say, “Lady, you’ve put on weight.”
And don’t give me diet advice. I could write a book on the subject of nutrition, exercise and living the healthy life.
In conclusion, a few years ago I was at a high school reunion, and someone made a remark about my size. I didn’t say it, but I thought it, So I’m not the svelte thing I was in high school, but I’m sure prettier than you.”