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The Chocolate Skeleton

Updated: Jan 1

For those of you who don't know...

I am pretty thin by popular definition. 

I think back to the days when I was sometimes referred to as "The Chocolate Skeleton" and I can't help but laugh at its ability to stand the test of time. 

Now I know what you're thinking, or at least I think I do.  "Richie, just gain some weight." or "Eat some more food". 

I respect those suggestions and appreciate your advice, but give me a moment to go a little deeper into this conversation.

As a youngster, I always looked at food for 'fuel' not 'taste'.  Similar to a car, once I got up and my engine was started, there was no stopping me until the tank was on 'E'.  Just like a vehicle, if the tank was on 'E' before I got to the refrigerator, I broke down... 

Wherever I was....With no intentions to get up until someone came and towed me to the nearest room. 

If no one came and got me, which usually was the case...

Well, I would just lay there.  When I got up, I knew I'd have enough energy to quickly grab something and get back on the road.

This was never very logical on my part, but I had important tasks as a child, that demanded my direct attention. I couldn't be bothered by some cereal or a sandwich.

For example, I was a proud owner of a plethora of WWF action figures who fought every weekend from around 8 am to roughly 11 am. Breakfast time.

Afterwards, I usually had to make my rounds throughout the house to see what my siblings were up to, and how I could potentially aide them in whatever tasks they had.  If they were not awake, they needed to be woken up.  If they were playing video games, I needed to compete against them.  If they were with friends, I had to talk with the friends just in case anything needed to be reported to the higher ups.  If they were playing with Barbies, I had to destroy the Barbies. 

I did not enjoy Barbies in the home.

As you can see, I had my hands full once I was done with my action figures.  Rounds lasted anywhere from 11:01 am to about 4 pm, when agitation crept into all of my sibling's souls, and separation from the group was my best option.  This is when I knew my job was successfully carried out.

Lunch usually was something quick. Couldn't afford to waste time preparing, eating, and cleaning up afterwards.

After rounds, the most important task of the day arrived.

Gym class. 

Some days it was laps around the house. Other days it was dancing until my feet burned. Most days it was basketball. 

Basketball was a staple in my daily routine.  I dunked on door baskets, shot into cribs, or even sometimes shot the basketballs into my dad's plate of food. 

My dad was undefeated in those game, even though in retrospect I don't think he ever agreed to play. My basketball would always be taken away right after my first point.

Given that gym class usually lasted right up until my mom was about two seconds away from showing me why I should have listened to her the first time she called me for the shower, dinner was usually rushed or missed entirely.

Over time, this habit became frustrating and I was determined to change the narrative attached to my name.  I was no longer interested in being the Chocolate Skeleton and was going to become the Chocolate Body Builder.

I began to talk much bigger than I could eat.  I would brag about how much food I could or would eat but didn't ever really follow through.  The image of being a championed eater was more important then actually being one, and boy was I good at it. 

But in every alternative fact, comes a time where you have to show and prove.

My demise came at the Chinese Buffet.

Now, I love everything about the Chinese Buffet, but that was exactly what ruined me.

My family and I got in, found our seats and proceeded to go grab food.  I wanted to show my family that I have retired my old ways, and could eat as much food as I wanted.  What better place to show them, than at a buffet.

I went up to the serving areas, particularly the ribs station, and filled my plate accordingly.  This wasn't an abnormal choice for me, as I loved the ribs, but the amount I took was borderline insane. 

I made sure that not one inch of my plate could be seen.  There was a mountain of ribs on my plate about 6 inches high.  Now, I may be exaggerating a little, but even at the time where I was not very good at noticing mistakes until much later, I can recall saying to myself "this feels like a poor decision"

When I hurried back to the table, since the plate was a little too heavy for my arms to carry, my siblings and parents alike erupted into laughter.

"Richie, let's be serious..." they said.

"You really think you are going to finish all of that?!" they said. I didn't think I could finish all of this, but the pride in me said yes.  A passionate, defensive, almost in tears, yes.

They continued to laugh, and just let me be and watched me crash and burn.

After about 3 ribs, my stomach was ready to explode.  All the Root Beer in the world couldn't decompose the ribs quick enough to make room for more.  I was failing miserably.

Naturally when we left, everyone just enjoyed the spectacle, and as I sat in the back of the minivan reliving my horrific collapse, I learned a valuable lesson.

There is no reason to pretend you are something that you are not.  No matter how many XL T-shirts I wore throughout school, I still had a bird chest.  In reality, you aren't fooling anyone but yourself.  The denial of who you are only increases the amount of nonsense you say to people who don't believe you anyways. Everyone knew that I had no chance of finishing that plate of ribs, but I refused to accept it.  And for that, I got exposed to be exactly what I was and what they all knew I was.....the Chocolate Skeleton.

Self promotion is good, but make sure you are ready to back up anything you are claiming before you run with it. Make sure you are putting in the work first.  One of the best forms of self promotion is results.  Get the job done.  Selling a dream doesn't work, because one day someone may want to purchase it.  If you don't have the product, the customer will be upset.  That's just the way of life. 

It's like calling everyone to come eat at the dinner table, before the food is ready and set. Sure, it may be there soon, but you're painting an image of something that doesn't exist and nobody likes to be lied to. Everyone is going to be restless. 

As for me, I'll probably just make rounds around the table the same way I did as a child.  If that happens, there is a very good chance that the food will get cold.  Set the table first, it's in your best interest.

We made again.  Once again, take what you want from this, or leave it right here.  Either way, I appreciate you sitting down for another story time with me.  Good day my friends.

Until next time,

Long Live The People

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