Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Visit to the Hometown Buffet

Note from Candy: This is the only post I've ever written that I had second thoughts about. I was afraid it was too malicious. I wrote it on a night that I was sick to death of my own bad habits, one of which is eating junk food when I'm too "busy" to pay attention to what my poor wailing body needs. To stay somewhat sane, I occasionally just aim at a clear target when I write. Believe me when I say the target was me, even though I only have 20 extra pounds to struggle with. My vices are much more disguised. One can be obese with self destruction in many forms.





After Saturday night service at the Methodist church every week, a few of us go out to dinner. Usually to Panera. But when my friend Nancy has her two grandkids with her (ages 6 and 8) she takes them to the Hometown Buffet after church. They think this is a magical, heavenly place because they can choose any food from the vast array and they can just have it.

I had not been to the Buffet de la Hometown in 5 or 6 years. I now remember why.

It never fails. Every single time I've been there, I've had to stifle my startle reaction upon my first glimpse of a very very very very very fat person. My mother and I are both intensely fascinated by lard-asses. We can't help it. We become involuntarily hyper-focused when we see them.

She usually starts the lambasting with a long drawn out, half-whispered "holyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy sh*t." And I will know exactly which masticating manatee she is referring to, because it's not like trying to find an Easter egg in tall grass, is it?

Admittedly, we don't do much actual eating at Hometown Buffet, because every bite is flying in the face of a cautionary tale. It's like trying to inject heroin while staring into the nearly-embalmed visage of Keith Richards, or chewing sirloin steak while facing a Heimlich poster.

We watch as the ample-flanked ones waddle up to the sneeze-guarded trough, their giant buttocks moving in that way that giant buttocks do: one cheek independently hoisting upward, all on its own, only to smear downward against the other one as it heaves upward toward the sad equator of the Sisyphian-tortured belt. This slow, fleshy 2-step continues until the destination of the shiny silver buffet is reached. Some of the more massive cannot even make it to the buffet without help.

In one memorable scene, we witnessed a hugely obese guy being helped up to the buffet with a person on either side, holding tightly to one of his arms. He seemed to point with his sweaty forehead at the glistening delicacies he desired, then was assisted back to his table while one of the enabling sentinels went back to the pigatorium to fill his death-plate. The first of many plates. I know. I watched. And so did my mother. And by this time, we were allowing ourselves to split one mere chicken wing for dinner, lest we become one of the flesh monsters we so recoil from. It is, FYI, not a simple task to split a chicken wing.

I'm not talking chubby here. I'm not even talking fat. I'm referring to the kind of girth that mutates a butt into two of those blow-up exercise balls, glommed together and stuffed into billowing, special-ordered pants. And to accompany it, there is sometimes a horrifying front bulge that hangs completely off the bench seat of the booth until it comes to an uneasy rest on the Hometown Buffet carpet, sticky with meat sauces and hot fudge syrup.

Candy, you are so judgmental, you may be saying. These people are hurting, they come from dysfunctional families, they're crying for help. It doesn't matter what they're crying for. What they're going to get is an early heart attack or intestinal burst, and then an awkward funeral where the attendees pretend not to notice that Uncle Slugly is being lowered into the earth in a grand piano case.

Maybe I'm envious. Because the bottom line, for me, is that they've given in. There is no way I can look at someone who weighs 500 pounds and not think they've thrown in the towel. They might as well hire a plane and skywrite "I give up." And really, there is at least some kind of freedom in giving in to that constant insistent knocking and throwing open the front door of your life to let in your own ruination, in whatever form it takes, be it high-fructose syrup, department store credit card, tiny little line of coke, viscous cloud of remorse, hidden decades-old hubris, or charming quick-fisted man with the eyes of a shark. No more stabs at self-discipline, no more disappointing plummets into not being that person you were hoping to be. Stop the striving, end the failure. Finger-pointing onlookers be damned.


I need to go. Someone's at the door.

27 Comments:

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    Ok, I go running AND use the weights today ...

    NOT that I resembled those people yesterday. But- at my MIL's yesterday, there was ham, and twice baked potatoes, and TWO types of salads ... and this spinach/cheese thing. Then two desserts.

    My sil and I took two walks.

     
  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Mel said…

    New. Favorite. Blog.

    That last paragraph got me hooked.

     
  • At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    "Pigatorium."

    Heh.

     
  • At 1:16 PM, Anonymous oneavid said…

    As the hospital staff likes to say... "For every pig, there's a pig f****r."

     
  • At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    "...charming quick-fisted man with the eyes of a shark."

    Chills.

    [/end one word comments]

     
  • At 12:46 AM, Blogger Steve B said…

    Snicker laugh giggle chortle guffaw.

    Our golden trough is "Granny's Buffet." It's always a treat to watch a family of four, collectively weighing over a half a ton, eat, and talk, and waving their food while they talk, mouths continually churning.

    Your descriptions are so vivid I can almost smell the cellulite.

    Hmm Hmm good.

     
  • At 2:45 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Carin...I mostly watched TV. But I did walk to the kitchen for Doritoes.

    Mel...Thank you! Welcome to Candyland.

     
  • At 2:46 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    AAAAAAAAHHHHH. Lovely quote, oneavid! Gets me all misty-eyed.

     
  • At 2:47 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Steve, Ain't it funny how cellulite smells just like the food at H-town Buffet?

    "Churning." Perfect word choice.

     
  • At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sweating and gasping, they lumber to the steam trays, transferring ladles of battered, oily goodness to their groaning platters. The hard part comes next - balancing the load while lumbering back to the table.

    Unnnngchhhh.

    Lowering their massive, bulky panni into their laps as they wedge themselves into their seats, the gorging can finally begin. There is a brief, blissful wave just before the first mouthful is enjoyed, it passes over their faces individually in the nanosecond before the utensil meets a greedy mouth, slavering like a mastiff in anticipation of what is to come.....

     
  • At 2:25 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dang, "Anonymous,"
    Come and say hi next time you and I are in the same restaurant!

     
  • At 4:28 PM, Anonymous chubbyknuckles said…

    I canNOT believe that earlier today I wrote "vomitorium" to you, and then, in this blog: Pigatorium. (snort!)

    One time at the Belly-up-to-the-Food-Trough Buffet, sig oth and I watched as two people with those beach ball butts tried to pass each other back-to-back in a narrow aisle right in front of us.

    The sound that met our ears was (insert your own adjective here): FwopFwop...FwopFwop.

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Tony from the Bronx said…

    That part about a "hugely obese guy being helped up to the buffet with a person on either side...."? Well, it's a damn lie! I was never at the Hometown Buffet in my life!

     
  • At 4:57 PM, Blogger Renee said…

    I guess I’m one of these super huge individuals you and your mom readily make fun of and I have to say that I don’t like it one bit. People like you sit in judgment of us fat people and act oh so superior, simply because you eat less. Just because I eat more than you, it does not mean that I am any less viable as a person, as a woman, or as a wife and mother. So what if we are bigger and we love to eat. It’s a free country and the last time I checked it was not a crime to eat too much and be fat.

    Just remember almost 60% of the US is now considered obese and this makes us the majority. And the last time I checked, majority rule was still alive and well in this country. So the next time you see a person too fat to get to the buffet unaided, show some respect. It might just be me and I get awfully testy when total strangers criticize my size based on their own petty prejudice.

    BR.

     
  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Renee, aren't opinions nice to have? It's great that everybody gets to have one.

    Here's the thing: Had you read the Hometown Buffet post a bit more deeply, you might have realized that my point was that we are all struggling, or addicted, or hurting, and at some points, just barely hanging on.

    I struggle with extra weight. Only 20 pounds of extra weight, but the frustration is still there. I struggle with many, many things, visible and not visible. A superiority complex is not one of them.

    There isn't a person living or dead that I believe I am superior to. Not even the V-Tech shooter. I have no idea what went through his head or what made him do the hideous acts he did. It is not for me to condemn him. I don't get to have that role. I do, however, get to take out my daily frustrations on a blog that you have the freedom not to visit.

    But if you visit, please don't make idiotic proclamations like this one:

    "Just remember almost 60% of the US is now considered obese and this makes us the majority. And the last time I checked, majority rule was still alive and well in this country. So the next time you see a person too fat to get to the buffet unaided, show some respect. It might just be me and I get awfully testy when total strangers criticize my size based on their own petty prejudice."

    If 60% of the people in the U.S. were addicted to heroin, I would not "show some respect." Just because a sad number of people are making the same self-destructive choices doesn't earn them a parade. Or my respect. And if a person is so obese that he cannot make it to the buffet table unaided, I am be unable to respect them. I can't respect someone who kills himself, slowly or quickly, especially in public.

    I don't for one split second believe that a person's obesity makes them less viable as an individual. Nor do I believe they have committed a crime. You were arguing with the wind, Renee.

    Get as testy as you like. See me as petty. If you'd read any of the history on my blog, you'd see that the person who gets my skewering most mercilessly is me.

     
  • At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    Well said, Candy. Exactly right.

     
  • At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    And Renee, not to pick nits, but by the government's measure Tom Cruise is considered overweight.

    I struggle with 30 extra pounds myself, and judging by the size of many of my relatives, my DNA dictates that I weigh much, much more. It's an ongoing battle that I can only hope to play for a tie.

     
  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger Renee said…

    Sorry for the anger but can you honestly expect a fat person not to take offense when they read passages like this:

    "I'm not talking chubby here. I'm not even talking fat. I'm referring to the kind of girth that mutates a butt into two of those blow-up exercise balls, glommed together and stuffed into billowing, special-ordered pants. And to accompany it, there is sometimes a horrifying front bulge that hangs completely off the bench seat of the booth until it comes to an uneasy rest on the Hometown Buffet carpet, sticky with meat sauces and hot fudge syrup".

    I'm morbidly obese by anyones standards but your description of obese people with their bellys dragging on the floor is more than just a tad off color for individuals like me. Sorry for the rant but fat people don't deserve that.

    Renee

     
  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Renee,
    Now I'm just going to be blunt. That vision that you quoted, the front butt hanging onto the floor IS horrifying to me. It is horrifying to me when someone gives in to their food addiction so severely that their body is distorted beyond anything normal looking anymore. It screams "I am deeply unhappy." As in, perhaps, a person who goes to a blog and proclaims herself "no less viable as a person, wife, mother, etc." NO one here said anything about that. Perhaps you protested because you FEEL less viable.

    It's like this. I have a right to be horrified at whatever horrifies me. You? You just annoy me. Stop going to blogs you feel are "off color." You're like a whining mommy who thinks the world is against her because her children watch "The Sopranos." It only takes flipping the channel, or moving on to the next blog. In other words, a bit of self control.

     
  • At 11:03 AM, Blogger Renee said…

    If that horrifies you then so be it. I’m not denying you that right. But if you are going to write inflammatory and exaggerated descriptions of people and then can’t handle the comments made by individuals that take offense, then perhaps you shouldn’t write about sensitive issues in a public venue. All that takes is a bit of self-control.

    People like you slay me, you want your 15 mins. of fame, but then can’t handle the criticism that comes along with it. If you don’t like the fact that people like me might take offense to your subject matter and hold a contrary position, then don’t leave your blog open to public comment.

    Renee

     
  • At 11:38 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Yawn.

     
  • At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Renee darling, you've made your position abundantly clear, so now get off it. More than a few of us are tired of it already. Could we please move along?

    I have not read anything in these postings that indicates Candy "can't handle" the criticism you are dishing out. On the contrary, it seems it is you who cannot stop chewing this bone. Candy has been far more patient with your diatribe than I would have been.

     
  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    YAY more bull-crap from the health Nazis who already made smoking "evil" and are now going after food.

    Wonder how much you got paid to write this fake, sad bit of propaganda..

    Oh and no.. I am not fat.. just tired of the social engineering.

     
  • At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Brandon Schlinker said…

    Can anyone... and I mean anyone... offer a "rational*" explination to the post above mine?

    * since rational is a concept which is individualized, this depends on your definition

     
  • At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Admittedly, we don't do much actual eating at Hometown Buffet, because every bite is flying in the face of a cautionary tale. It's like trying to inject heroin while staring into the nearly-embalmed visage of Keith Richards, or chewing sirloin steak while facing a Heimlich poster".

    Then what the hell do you and mommy go there for? Simply to mock other people? You and your mother are repulsive.

     
  • At 2:56 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    You know what's odd, "Wolf?" The last person to give me grief over this post was ALSO from New Jersey, and ALSO found my blog by searching "hugely obese."

    You're lashing out at me, and that's fine. It's possible that you're angry with yourself.

     
  • At 3:01 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh, and bite me.

     

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