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Before/After

Dear Kim:

My father called the other day to ask what was new.

(Kim: Whenever I'd call my dad I'd ask him "what was new" and then he would laugh and then he would tell me about the latest thing he had learned about. It was never something trite like how he was feeling, or the weather, or that someone had kicked the bucket. It was always something of immense consequences, like a new take on Adam and Eve.)

"Oh," I said, "I have written a new song."

He thought that was great.

Then I told him I had lost 14 pounds since last year.

(Kim: We've never really figured out the obsession of both of our parents with weight. Nor have we talked about the obesity of the poor (which I see at school every day). Even if education could occur, the combination of related illnesses and not being able to stand up all day, and not being very attractive all will keep them from moving into a more hopeful life.)

He thought that was really, really great.

I'm inclined to agree. While I have never appreciated my family's preoccupation with my body, I do understand their concern.

I know how to write a song. I don't really know how to have an appropriate relationship with food. My problem goes way back, probably originating when I was hospitalized as an infant.

I will write more about that another time. It is a full course meal of a story.

So, while writing a song is great, losing 14 pounds is really, really great.

My sister called later to tell me how the packing is going at my parents' home in Chicago. She said that my father was very excited about my weight loss.

"Isn't that something about your sister," he said. "When she loses the weight, she will look exceptional, a real beauty."

My sister laughed and said to him," Joanie would say she already was a beauty, Dad."

Well, some days, yes. And other days, I'm not so sure.

But how I love my sister's answer. My poor and fortunate father. Surrounded by feminists to help him see the light.

(The obesity I'm talking about isn't just a matter of taste of a certain body type . . . it is about being a victim of a marketing ploy that, perhaps unintentionally, touches on genocide of the poor. Do you have any idea of how many people have never eaten a peapod, or even a fresh carrot? If it isn't packaged and preserved and fried and sweetened, it isn't fit for their mouths.)

Later,

Joan

Friday, Feb 17, 2006

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