|Me circa 1990|
I guess I got some ‘splaining to do.
In the time leading up to Oshkosh, I had gone through a rather monumental personal metamorphism. Not only had I been promoted to Human Resource Director at Koos Inc., but I had also lost some weight. A considerable amount of weight. A whole lot of weight. Without getting into exact numbers, let’s just say that I was half the man I used to be. Literally.
It was a gradual process, taking over a year before accomplishing this tremendous physical feat. By the time I made that trip to Oshkosh, I was the lightest I ever was since junior high school.
Reminiscing, it was sort of surreal. My appearance was totally different. People that I hadn’t seen for awhile didn’t recognize me. It was amazing being able to buy clothes off the rack at “normal” stores. I even wore shorts in public.
This was all fantastic. I definitely enjoyed being “normal” and all of the perks that went along with it. The numerous compliments that I received were appreciated but unnecessary.
The thing is, in my mind, I was still Paul the jolly fat guy.
Perhaps because I never mentally morphed from Paul the jolly fat guy, I never accepted the whole concept of being “normal”. No matter what the package on the outside looked like, the inside hadn’t changed. I was still Paul the jolly fat guy, not some “normal” guy.
That is the reason the week in Oshkosh was so exceptional. These were people that never knew Paul the jolly fat guy. They had never met me before and yet they liked me. They really liked me!
Don’t get me wrong; even before I became a “normal” guy, I had no problem meeting and socializing with others. After all, I was a jolly fat guy.
But it was always on my terms. I had to initiate the interaction; I had to be in control of the circumstance. It was my defense mechanism. There was an unmistakable need to be sure the situation was comfortable. I needed to be prepared for anything that might happen.
The lack of being in control is what made the Oshkosh event so unforgettable. I was completely unprepared for total strangers to be friendly and to spark relationships with me.
The icing on the cake was when the ladies asked me to dance with them in the nightclub. Women weren’t supposed to be attracted to me. I was Paul the jolly fat guy. I never saw this coming and was totally flummoxed. Things like this weren’t supposed to happen to me.
But they did. And that is why those five days in Oshkosh at the Pioneer Inn during the summer of 1990 were a such remarkable period in my life.
Over the years I have transformed back to Paul the jolly fat guy, both physically and mentally. Looking back, I never quit being Paul the jolly fat guy. Not even when I was “normal”. I will never forget Oshkosh. It will always be special.
I hope that now you understand, because I’m done ‘splaining. This was originally posted August 5, 2011. Until next time…from the booth.