Tropic of Avoirdupois
I made two weighty discoveries this morning. The first is
unquestionable proof that men and women are different. The second is
that there are lines of force, similar to those caused by the magnetic
poles of the earth, that control the weight of human beings.
Like many substantial discoveries, these were made completely by accident.
It was time for the morning weigh-in to see how much weight my wife and I
had lost during the night. Rebecca likes to weigh herself only in
the morning, totally naked and before she's put her contacts in to get her
absolute lowest weight. I think she must have a masochistic streak
in her because even I can hear the scale calling to her all day,
"Come weigh yourself. See how much weight you've lost in the
last five minutes." I don't have Rebecca's willpower, so I give
in to the siren's song and weigh myself all day long, bummed by the three
pounds I put on by lunchtime and ecstatic about the three pounds I lose
Yesterday, my mother-in-law contributed to the harmony of our married
relationship by bringing Rebecca a new scale. This new scale is
digital, so it doesn't change your weight by four pounds when you bend
over to read it. It also doesn't have one of those frustrating dials
in front which you're supposed to be able to use to zero out the scale.
I guess it just knows what zero pounds weighs intuitively, like how a bird
knows which way is south.
Everything would have been fine, but Rebecca just had to weigh herself on
both scales. (Important note: There is no known method of torture
you could inflict on me to get me to reveal my wife's weight, for the
simple reason that she would invent something even more heinous for me
once she found out.) Rebecca weighed herself on the new scale first:
36 pounds. Her face paled. This was her exact weight when she
started the diet. Frantically, she dug through the trash where she
had launched the old scale, silently glad that she had not destroyed it
for the crime of not dropping pounds off her for the last six days.
She stepped on the scale: 28 pounds, just where she had been stuck for
almost a week.
I knew something was terribly wrong from the way she yelled my name.
It resembled the cry an animal trapped in one of those clawed metal jaws
makes. I ran down the stairs. One look at her face told me the
Bracing myself, I stood on the original scale: 187. Then the new:
183! All right! I had lost four pounds in less than 10
seconds! "Wait a minute," Rebecca said. She got back
on both scales again. It was then that we made the first discovery:
men weighed more on the regular scale and less on the digital, and women
weighed less on the regular scale and more on the digital. (I see
very clever marketing behind this, trying to get married couples to buy
his and her scales.)
I could sense the emotional storm brewing, the way a dog knows an
earthquake is about to strike. "Here," I said, switching
the scales, "try it now." Amazingly, when I moved the
digital scale to the place where the regular scale had been, Rebecca's
weight changed: now she was 32 pounds. I didn't know how to react.
On the one hand she had just lost four pounds but on the other just gained
four. This looked like a real lose-lose situation for me.
Thinking quickly I said, "Let's try it in the bathroom."
Big mistake: 38 pounds. I saw my life flash before my eyes as the
digits 3 and 8 burned their red brands onto my retina. I looked up
to see the tears welling in Rebecca's eyes. "I want that scale
at Costco," she said. "Maybe it's better." The
scale they sell at Costco is called a Health-o-meter. It strikes me
that a more appropriate name would be Fat-o-meter, but I keep my mouth
Suddenly it all made sense to me. The Tropic of Avoirdupois, of
Human Weightiness. That's the latitude somewhere between the Tropic
of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer where people weigh less than
anywhere else in the world. Since the bedroom was closer to the
Tropic of Avoirdupois than the bathroom, of course we would weigh less
there. I haven't been able to conduct any more experiments to
determine just what avoirdupois lines of force really are, but I suspect
that they are like the lines of force from the North and South magnetic
poles that influence compasses. I have a few guesses as to where the
Fat Pole is located but I'll keep them to myself so that I can be the
first to discover it.
It's lunch time now, and peace has been restored in my household.
Rebecca has to go outside to weigh herself where the scale is perched on a
precarious ledge, but it reads 26 pounds and all is well. I figure
once I discover the location of the Thin Pole, we'll visit there for her