A just-finished book of humorous essays chronicling my life growing up as a lonely fat kid in Duluth, Minnesota. Below you can read the first chapter for free. The remaining 29 chapters in the book are available to any book publisher in exchange for a book contract, an author photo of me smoking a pipe and a cherry Blow-pop. Now, that's a good deal.


I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t fat. I know there was a time - in fact, there’s actual photographic proof - but to me it’s like trying to piece together the events of the previous night’s bender. In other words, I remember being thin like I remember making out with a gay guy at a college theater party.

The reason for the hazy recollection is because I haven’t been skinny since I was a baby. I feel some resentment about this, because what good is being skinny if you’re at prime baby fat age? That’s the time when it’s not only okay to be overweight, it’s downright adorable. Your cheeks are all chubby and squeezable, your feet have that strange swollen look that makes people want to play “This Little Piggy” all day long - this is when you’re supposed to be fat. Well, this and when you’re elderly.

As a side note, these are also the only acceptable points in your life to poop in your pants.

The other problem with my svelte years coming before most of my motor skills was that I was born with a birthmark. Not a tiny, sexy lip mole either. More like a giant crimson stamp smack in the middle of my forehead. It’s pretty hard to attract the toddlers with your rippling baby abs if they can’t see past the brand your mother’s pelvis gave you. The birthmark faded right around the time my second chin appeared, so there is literally no point in my life when I was firing on all my hotness cylinders.

Still, I’d like to think I was never grotesquely obese. I could always find my size of Wrangler jeans and I always fit in the desks. I was, however, blessed with the DNA of my mother. Meaning I got her blonde hair, her blue eyes, and her breasts.

I spent most of my childhood trying to conceal my man boobs and, as I aged, my methods became more advanced but no more effective. In grade school I didn’t hide them so much as I got teased about them and cried. In middle school I labored to convince my classmates that they weren’t boobs but, in fact, pectorals. I had seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pectorals in “Commando” and thought they looked a lot like mine. To counter this, my classmates would jiggle them and say, “Pectorals don’t jiggle.” Then I would cry. In high school I employed a pseudo-corset method that involved wearing undershirts in sizes three times too small. They gave a nice level of compression and support – a bra for men.

It was because of my heaving bosom that I felt I had it worse than my fellow fat schoolmates – the ones who carried their weight in their gut. The belly fat people got poked like the Pillsbury Doughboy and were given nicknames like “Tiny” or “Buddha.” I got my boobs squeezed and twisted and had nicknames like “Double D” and “Dolly Parton.” When their potbellies would poke out from under their Hypercolor shirts in gym class, the gut fat kids seemed endearing, almost playful. When my boobs would get to bouncing as soon as I attempted anything faster than walking, it seemed somehow unnatural, foreign. Even the fat kids called me fat.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. The point is; I wasn’t always fat. When I was born, I was a normal, healthy weight. I remained normal and healthy for the first few years of my life. But then things changed. The progression is clear in family photo albums:

Here’s Andy at two weeks. That’s his birthmark. We’re already looking into plastic surgeons.

Here’s Andy at one year. Yes, he does have his mother’s blue eyes. Yes, I think the birthmark is fading too. Maybe we should stop calling him Gorbachev.

Here’s Andy at two years. He’s a walking and talking machine. What was his first word? “Pie.” No, we thought it was “Bye” too, but then he kept saying it. It was “pie.” Isn’t that cute?

Here’s Andy at five years. It’s still baby fat, right?

Here’s Andy at eight years. Nope, he’s eight. Really. We feed him three times a day. I am being serious. Just what the hell are you implying?

To be fair, it’s not like my family hooked me up to a mayonnaise IV or chained me to a bed of Twinkies and told me to eat my way to freedom. They fed me normal-sized portions of normal-sized meals. So what was the first cause, the tipping point?

What moment in my young life was, for lack of a more appropriate term, my Big Bang?