For Whom
the Scale Beeps

I lost five pounds this week. Without even trying. What's my secret? Well, I'd tell you, except I've always thought I could make millions if I ever combined all the most popular book genres into one and wrote "The Mafia Quick Weight Loss Diet Mystery."

Unfortunately, I'm really bad at keeping secrets, and besides, this diet is so simple that the book would only be one sentence long, so here goes:

I call it the "My wife's on a diet Diet," and it simply involves having your wife go on a diet. This automatically puts you on one, too.

I don't believe in diets. If you saw me you'd probably say, "Well, that much seems clear." But I just think diets don't work. Yes, I can lose weight. I've lost enough weight to create a dozen David Duchovney's. But I've always managed to find the Davids again—plus at least one Olson twin.

I also believe that people, like dogs, naturally come in different sizes. No one expects all dogs to weigh the same, so why do all those stupid weight charts expect people to weigh the same?

Besides, people weren't designed with supermarkets in mind. Or TV commercials. Pay attention and you'll see every diet ad followed by a pizza ad. On one single night of "Must See TV" every show had the characters eating pizza and brownies. This all plays on our animal nature that's constantly telling us to stock up because who knows when we'll eat again. I mean, it might be hours.

So I spent my time accepting myself, rather than reducing myself.

See, ever since I can remember I've been what I like to call "larger than life." Or "Above average in weight." Or at the very worst, "the ideal weight (for a taller person)." I avoid the word "obese" because it sounds so awful even "junkie" sounds better (the FDA and pharmaceutical industry seem to think so).

I now prefer "husky" which sounds kind of sexy. And my current favorite is "chubby" because a seven year old girl recently said to me "You can't be very old because you're chubby like a baby." I love that.

Then, last week, a box arrived from eBay. That's a normal occurrence around here, but instead of something decorative and useless, it contained something ugly and useful—a horrifying electronic scale that not only flashes your weight but then has the sheer unmitigated gall to tell you what percent of your body is fat. I was stunned. I checked the address to make sure it wasn't a mistake. It wasn't.

"I'm on a diet," my wife announced casually. The words went in my ear and out my open mouth.

"Diet? But... but..." I said, as articulate as I could be in a state of total shock and disbelief.

"It's not to lose weight, it's to help us avoid having massive coronaries," she calmly explained in her best Doris Day voice. There's no way to argue with that. She handed me the scale. I touched it and it started beeping as if it was frightened. I knew now for whom the scale beeped.

"I'm not getting on that thing," I proclaimed. I don't want to know. I'll just get depressed if it tells me that I'm over 100% body fat," I exaggerated. I could still feel a few bones, like an elbow or knee, so I knew there were bones in there somewhere and I couldn't possibly have over 97% body fat).

"It's not for you, I don't even want you to get on it" she smiled, nonchalantly, knowing that not allowing me on it would ensure that I'd have to secretly try it.

I finally remembered to close my mouth as she left the room with her "lunch," which consisted of a few raspberries. This just wasn't like her. This was the girl who had chocolate ice cream for breakfast. The woman who claimed cream was the source of her ever-youthful complexion. Butter's best friend.

She'd always been immune to the unhappy, pasty-faced dieticians glowering from the TV news, proclaiming things like, "eating movie popcorn is like injecting motor oil directly into your veins" or "deli food is like putting a corned beef to your head and pulling the trigger."

"How'd they get to you?" I asked, worried they might get to me. "Well, I had these pains... they were probably just indigestion..." she began at which point my brain started screaming "if I had an odd feeling in my chest area I'd be at the doctor faster than you can say 'EKG.'" I regained my hearing just as she was saying, "So I went to the library and checked out every diet book" and realized by this time she'd probably already become a diet Rosetta stone.

Suddenly, all the diet doctors she made fun of were gurus. As she told me about the various diets designed to clean out your arteries I heard what sounded like distant thunder; it was my stomach rumbling.

"I'm hungry," I said. "You can eat whatever you want," she said, with a saint-like smile. And true to her word, she never told me what to eat. She also never made anything to eat—that's the key, right there.

And yes, I did finally succumb to the scale. Before I stepped on the hateful thing I cleverly set it to Kilos so the number it displayed would be a lot smaller than pounds. And no, I won't tell you what that number was, or what percent of my body is fat (though I will admit the possibility that a large percentage of it is in my head).

So I've lost weight, something I haven't revealed to anyone else yet because I don't want to hear them say, "You look so much better now," as if I had looked awful before.

My wife says we'll live longer. Personally, I think it will just seem longer.

Daniel Will-Harris

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The End Of The Best Screen Fonts

Unfortunately, Microsoft recently removed all their free web fonts from download. This means that Georgia (the best serif face for the screen), and Trebuchet, as well as Andale Mono, and even Comic Sans and Impact are no longer available for download (or even purchase). 

A Microsoft spokesperson said "Most users who wanted the fonts have downloaded them already." That would be like Microsoft saying, "The people who want Microsoft Office already have it, so we're taking it off the market." Hmm.

The removal happened the same day arch-rival operating system Linux had its big LinuxWorld convention and Linux can use TrueType fonts. Coincidence? You decide.

Whatever their reason, Microsoft's action is causing problems for everyone on the web—including their own customers! If you want to show your concern, e-mail them at typotypo@microsoft.com and let them know what how it adversely affects your opinion of their company and brand.

While you can still specify Georgia or Trebuchet on web pages, you need to make sure you have alternate fonts in your HTML, like this <font face=Georgia,Verdana,Times New Roman,Times>. 

NetObjects Fusion does this for you automatically. If you want to customize it (using Georgia,Verdana as I do), just edit the file fontmap.txt file in your "\NetObjects System" folder.

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Great Classic Printers' Art—Free

http://www.briarpress.org is a beautifully designed site devoted to the letterpress, an important part of printing history. That's reason enough to visit, but they also offer some great FREE art.

You can download hundreds of beautiful old "printers cuts" (clip art) and ornamental caps (for drop caps and things). The clip art is in EPS format (so you can scale it to any size).

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Grrrr. (Yes, that was my stomach talking :)



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The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.