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  Ellen Davignon: Lives of Quiet Desperation

Going, Going, Gone!

April 15, 2001

"Isn't it a shame, the way Ellen has let herself go....?"

Neighbours, it isn't so much that I've let myself go, thereby implying that I had a choice in the matter.  It's more that I just turned around, one day, and found that I'd left without me.  And it is rather a shame, because I miss me.  I miss the narrow waist, the trim hips, the perky...no, wait...I think I'm getting me mixed up with someone else.  Actually, as I stop and give it some thought, I don't believe there ever was a sleeker, shaplier me. Truth be told, I was well on my way to being let go before I'd even got nicely started: eight and a half pounds of bouncing baby girl and never looked back!

Oh, that's not to say that I simply sat there and let it happen, oh dear no. I fought the good fight, on all fronts (and backs and sides and bottoms), winning the battles but always realizing that the outcome of the war was never in doubt.  And through it all, I've tried to keep a sense of perspective about it, never allowing myself to get into a desperate, take-no-prisoners frame of mind.

But I want to tell you this.  Don't you EVER sit there in your silky  size-nothing peek-a-boo blouse and your slit-to-there micro-mini, and tell me in your oozy, smarmy little voice that I "...really should do something with your weight, dear..."  Eeee, that gets me irritated!

I should do something like what, pray tell?  Cut off my hand as it reaches for yet another butter tart?  Staple my lips together before I can slip one more chocolate truffle into the bottomless pit?  Put acid into the Murine so I can't read the recipes in magazines or see the tantalizing ads on the telly, the ones that put my pilot on automatic and start me back towards the kitchen half an hour after the supper dishes have been done? 

Will power, did you say?  WON'T power would be more like it.  But will or won't, I don't think I've got some.  Too bad they can't dispense it, like headache pills from behind a druggist's counter. "Yes,        please, I'd like a bottle of Mother McCorkindale's Self-Control. Large size. Yes, extra-strength, thank you very much."

I wonder what the people at the Canadian Consumer laboratory would have to say about that bottle of Dieters' Friend?  Probably nothing.  It's a very strange thing, you know, that when I seek reassurance from their magazine, I find that my product or appliance is either not on the list of comparisons, or else figures so far down in the ratings that I have to wonder why no one paid me to buy it.  It does terrible things to a girl's self-confidence to find that her favourite brand of peanut butter won the C. C.'s annual Cup-Grease award four years run- ning.  Or that her deoderant was  found to be ineffective after one onion sandwich and two polkas; sooner, if the sandwich had been washed down with a cool draught of Old Sweatstock Pilsner.

If, indeed, the Consumer crew ever got around to testing Mother Mac's

Will Power, I'd likely find that the only brand avaiable to Yukon customers would bear the warning: Not recommended; could cause anor- exia nervosa or lead to other aberrant behaviour.

In my quest for that perfect and well-tuned body - the New Me, so to speak - from time to time I've purchased the odd implement or two, the better to wage my war.  A while back, I bought a mini-trampoline.

And is it ever fun, it says so, right in the instruction manual: "Ex- ercise every day on the mini-trampoline jogging mat will aid in devel- oping and sustaining reasonable lung capacity and stamina and it's fun, easy and exciting."

Wellsir, it's been exciting, no doubt about it, and easy, yes, that too.  But as to the benefits, well, so far they've been a smidge difficult to discern.  The thing, of course, is that as you make correct use of the trampoline, all of your various pillows and pockets of avoirdupois get to jiggling and jouncing up, down and roundabout. Friends, that much adipose tissue in locomotion could quite conceiv- ably have you ending up with herniated saddlebags or, worse, striation of your rosy red kneecaps!  And I haven't even started talking about the bazooms that have gone from a fairly shapely 40 C to a 44 triple-A and are looking more and more like candidates for a full-colour photograph in National Geographic.

What's more, not only are they acquiring a decidedly undesirable contour, but you have to know that when you get one of those babies in full revolution, you're going to be spending a lot of time ducking and weaving, which no doubt adds to the exercise value but can also be dangerous to life and limb.  One day, one of them went sailing past my ear with such velocity tha it swept me backwards off the tramp. 

Fortunately, Phil just happened to be passing through and cushioned my fall so I wasn't seriously injured.  He'll be fine, too, back on his feet in a day or so.  But it's obvious that he's not the man he used to be, a bit out of shape and slow on his feet.  Maybe I'll offer him the use of the trampoline, that should speed his recovery.

But now that I have this real, honest-to-goodness job at Mac's, I have felt some pressure to upgrade my public appearance.  And Lord knows, what with the new Apricot facial scrub and the l942 beauty-queen hairdo and the mini-tramp and all, I've given it my best shot.  But it's a losing cause, and more and more, I'm beginning to realize that what you see is all you're ever gonna get. And maybe that's OK.

A few days ago, I swept down the hill and into town for a meeting, hair teased out like a lion's mane, a four-foot silk scarf tossed carelessly around my neck and hangling down in a gay splash of colour, sunglasses tucked just so into the sculptured wave above my delicately arched brows, brown leather briefcase on the seat beside me.  A quick glance in the rearview mirror confirmed my pleased suspicion: I was the personification of the 90's woman on the move.

Unfortunately, I couldn't maintain the look long enough to get it into the office. 

As I stepped, with considerable style and grace, from the car, a gust of wind infiltrated the lion's mane and turned it into a bird's nest.  The door slammed on a few feet of scarf and the combined effect of instant strangulation and Watermelon blusher turned me into a sickly shade of Lavender Lament and the sunglasses fell to hang under one of my chins like a bridle gone askew.  Clasping my briefcase to my elongated bosom, I scurried into to meet my fellow executive.

"Ellen," he cried, leaping to his feet and hurrying to greet me with a warm hug.  "It always give me a lift know that, in this changing world, YOU never do! Just seeing you makes my day."

A lift, huh? I thought, patting down my hair and resettling the sun glasses.  Tossing the silk scarf back over my shoulder, I smiled at my friend.  Failed diets, unrewarded exercises, beauty-queen hairdo gone ratty and I'd STILL made his day? 

Try bottling THAT, Mother McCorkindale!

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