I have made one of the most stupid decisions of my life.
I have bought a new set of bathroom scales.
The old scales and I were pals. I could trust them. If you want to be pedantic they were broken. But like a broken clock is right twice a day, the bathroom scales were right whenever I stepped onto them. “Close enough,” I’d mutter, and skip cheerfully downstairs for a bacon sandwich.
But I’ve finally cracked. Yet another night of red wine, red meat and the wretched cheeseboard and I’ve stabbed my mate in the back. The scales I conspired with for so long are in the bin. Replaced by a shiny new hi-tech set of scales. And these scales not only tell you your weight – with depressing accuracy – they also do something much, much worse.
They reveal your body fat percentage.
I locked myself in the bathroom – even after twenty years of marriage some things are going to stay secret – and ploughed through the instructions. I stepped confidently onto the scales. It was just like the start of a Grand Prix. Lights flashed. Five bars appeared one by one and then blinked off. This was it…
“What do you mean ‘error?’” I said out loud. “Don’t be an idiot.”
Repeat procedure. Step back on scales.
There are only so many times you can read an instruction book while you’re stark naked (my apologies for the mental image: I trust you won’t be needing therapy). I therefore decided that the old scales were right after all and retrieved them from the bin. Then my wife injected a depressing note of common sense.
“Obviously they don’t work. The bathroom floor’s got carpet on it. You need a hard, flat surface.”
“Like my stomach?”
She didn’t bother replying.
So it was that at 6am the next morning I carried the scales down to the kitchen and stepped furtively onto them. Weight in kilogrammes. Quite a lot of them, sadly. And here came my body fat percentage. Good God. Add on the red wine and bacon sandwich percentages and there’d be nothing left.
“That’s it,” I said to my wife as we went out for lunch. (Come on, it was her birthday. There’s an exception to every rule.) “I’m going to live like a humble Greek peasant.”
“A humble Greek peasant doesn’t eat everything with mayonnaise and a side order of fries.”
She was even less sympathetic a few days later when I explained that I had a serious problem at work.
“I’ll be forced to eat a bacon sandwich on Friday morning.”
“Is the Spanish Inquisition calling round, Dad?” Ben, my youngest son. Currently exhausting Monty Python on YouTube.
My wife was more forthright. “You can’t. You’re only having one a week now. Saturday morning. You said.”
“It’s a special occasion,” I explained. “Beth’s back. She’s been through a traumatic time. I need to support her.”
“You can support her without having a bacon sandwich.”
Over dinner I patiently explained about Bacon Sandwich Friday – “Damn it, I know a company that has ‘Gin Friday’” – and the need for team bonding.
My family’s expressions could best be described as sceptical. Except for Jessica, of course. Was that cynicism? Or could it be contempt? No, it was both.
“Why don’t you take the scales into the office?” Jane suggested. “Explain your problem. Everyone can join in: a group weigh-in. You can have an office body fat league table.”
It was an open goal. My children were in harmony. “Success at last, Dad. You’ll be in a league of your own…”
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.