Saturday, May 15, 2021


I was six years old when we moved to Southern California and in extremely poor health. Two doctors diagnosed me with leukemia and one told my parents that I'd never live to be twelve.

I won't go into the excruciating details of all that happened - it would take too long. Eventually another doctor pronounced that I might have very severe anemia. He took a homeopathic approach, with strict diets and numerous medications.

Despite having many health issues I never missed school and lived a reasonably normal existence.
I was never coddled or catered to.

As a child I was always an extremely picky eater - and it didn't help that my father's violence inevitably erupted at the dinner table.
Mom and I often had to grab a plate of food and go into another room to escape him. Or, more likely, run outside and not eat at all.

As I entered my teens and started to grow physically (eventually over six feet) I was still in poor health and pathetically skinny. By the time I was 14 or 15 I looked like an Auschwitz survivor. There are photos of myself taken then that I would never dare let anyone see.

In desperation, I soon became obsessed with trying to gain weight. My appetite was a little better than when I was a child, but not much.
No matter what I ate, I couldn't gain weight.

Somehow (I don't recall exactly how) I heard of a product guaranteed to help people gain weight - called Wate-On. It came in tablets and also a liquid form. To me - from all I discerned - it seemed to be a magic elixir of instant physical metamorphosis. 


When I finally persuaded my parents to buy it, I was ecstatic. In my eagerly delusional mind I figured in a week or two I'd look like Ron Ely or Johnny Weissmuller.

Wate-On liquid came in several flavors, but for some reason it was only available in banana - which tasted rotten. You had to mix it in a large glass of milk. In retrospect, I think the only thing that provided any calories was the milk. The Wate-On didn't seem to serve any discernible purpose whatsoever.

Despite faithfully consuming the odious stuff for several weeks, I absolutely didn't gain any weight at all.


An Aside: I was recently shocked to discover that Wate-On is still being sold. I can only imagine how many disappointed skinny people consumed it. 

When I was eighteen or so I still only weighed about 125 pounds, but was intent on making a major physical transformation...and eventually did.

I was never in the least athletically inclined - but I forced myself to do physical exercise, lift weights, walk, jog, swim, surf, and eat like a pig. I remember making nearly-lethal concoctions in a blender which contained cream, raw eggs, wheat germ, bananas, and anything else I could think of.

I got contact lenses, and soaked up California sunshine until my skin was like brown velvet and my hair golden straw.

I was never a gorgeous hunk, but I created a potent illusion - and was completely astonished at how many people of both sexes were attracted to me. And I eventually took full advantage of the opportunities (that's another story for another time).

As for my weight:  over the years I eventually went from 125 pounds to 185. It wasn't an easy journey.

Age 19 or 20, wearing an over-sized Kennington shirt

I initially wore large, bulky clothes in an attempt to look heavier - but it only made me look ridiculous.

During my Hindu/guru transcendental meditation phase, I exclusively wore clothes from India, including handmade sandals.
That phase didn't last very long.
A guru advised me to give up my worldly possessions and abstain from sex.
I abstained for about three hours.

Strangely enough, despite weight gain and physical transformation, I've always felt much too skinny. To this day I often wear long sleeves because I think my arms are too thin. Go figure. 

Time-worn and way over fifty
not great, but not dead yet



  1. I worry about you, alone up there. But you still say things that make me smile.

    1. Lately I haven't been in a smiling mood, but humor is about the only thing left that saves me.
      I sometimes worry about being here alone, too...

  2. You were and still are a very attractive man, Jon. I was just the opposite of course - ugly, fat and an outcast all through my school years. I was picked on all the time - the girls thought I was an easy target because I was quiet and shy (boy, have I changed lol) and the guys hated me because I WAS ugly. No matter, I hated school at any rate.

    We all have both good and perhaps not-so-good memories or even a few regrets, but one thing is for sure - and this reminds me of something my dad said to me a week before he passed away - he said, "For better or worse, I lived my life the way that I WANTED to." So true indeed.

    1. I hated high school and was a complete nerd - - a genuine goody-two-shoes. I was a late bloomer and didn't become the Devil's advocate until I was about 20. Then I made up for lost time...

  3. Oh, dear man! The struggle is real! Unfortunately, I sturggle with the opposite problem. (Yes, my pediatrician once told mother, "She's healthy as a horse.") Determined if I couldn't change my face, I would change my body. That worked well for most of my adult life until last year. There are days I just don't care anymore.

    BTW, you're still handsome. Go look in the mirror and tell yourself. Outloud!

    1. At this point in my life I try to avoid mirrors at all costs - - but your kind words have definitely served to boost my ego.....

  4. Funny that you would think of yourself as "always Skinny" even when you gained weight. Like many others, I have the opposite. I am always fat..even when I lose weight and fit into a 34 waist. ( That is as thin as I have ever been.) I used to lift weights, only to rip my shoulder apart now so I can't throw a baseball. I think it is the Human condition to hate whatever we have been given to work with. Even blond hair, blue eyes, thin frame and a head full of hair... Oh wait! Scratch that... It may offend people who have been christened from Mount Olympus. (Those Lucky bastards!)
    Funny that the Wate-On still exists. I guess Placebo's never go out of fashion. They did not even have to change the name! ( Like Cordosol or Cordoslim... or cordo-snake oil.) I tend to like Placeos, they have less side effects than the "real drugs" (um... Heroine, Meth, Coke, even tobacco...) But I still have refrained from using them. ( And all those hard drugs the "Doctors" prescribe. Eventually, I got old and stopped caring. I don't have to impress the babes anymore since I'm married. And now I just want to be able to continue to function normally well into my old age. But fitting into better looking clothes would be a plus...

    1. It's amazing how many people are dissatisfied with their looks. When I was young, I hated being blonde and tall. Now, I'm glad that I am - despite the fact that some deranged liberals have called me a Nazi (I'm not kidding).

      I could hardly believe that Wate-On is still being sold. I suppose snake oil products will always exist. And so will the idiots who buy them..

  5. My situation is just the opposite, Jon, as I would like a product to instantly make weight go away. Of course, exercise and dieting might help, but I am not very good at both.

    1. I think I gained weight just looking at the photos of those delicious meals you prepare. Exercise is probably one of the reasonable ways to shed some pounds.


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