Reducing Tonnage

Many of you are probably unaware that Ol' Dutch  has quite a storied past. Not only has he been West and “seen the elephant,” but for some time he worked for the railroad.

That fact often conjures visions of western vistas, bright shining days and the sound of a lonesome whistle on a distant locomotive wailing its movement across an endless landscape for folks. The reality of that job is long, lonely shifts riding endless rails, sleeping in dirty motels, eating bad food in nasty diners and having no sleep.

I was a freight conductor so didn't punch passengers’ tickets nor get to wear a fancy uniform. My job was to do all the paperwork and to handle the cars in the train en route should they need to be left along the way for loading or unloading.

Often the trains were too long and heavy to make it over a hill between us and home so we would need to “reduce tonnage.” Basically that meant we would leave some cars behind at some small town along the way to continue their journey on a different train.

Now of late Ol' Dutch began to notice that his pants were getting tighter. I accused Trixie of shrinking them in the wash. You know how conniving, desperate, single women find such things funny?

So while Trixie was out of town, I did my own wash and it was then that it finally dawned on me. Somehow I had picked up some extra boxcars along the way and I needed to leave some of those behind if I was to complete the trip to the end of my journey.

When working for the railroad, I always hated having to set out those extra cars as it seemed to occur in rain, sleet, snow, heat, at night or in the middle of a blizzard. But this kind of tonnage reduction is far worse than that. How could something so easy to find such as extra weight be so hard to get rid of?

It’s like friends and family who come from far away on vacation. You are so glad to see them when they arrive but it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Even close family is like old trash, after a while it all starts to stink if kept too close around you. The same with this weight gain. Sure was fun to get it but not so fun to try and chase it back from whence it came.

There are many methods to weight loss including shakes, diets, pills, exercise and the newly discovered “rubber band diet.”

Now many of you will say to yourselves, “I am not eating rubber bands,” but that's not how it works. A gal here in the RV park uses this method and it seems to be working although it can be seen as a form of self-mutilation. She puts a rubber band around her wrist and every time she wants to eat something tasty, she pulls it out and gives herself a sharp snap reminding her to not go there.

This immediately caught Ol' Dutch's eye and he could see that this just might be a helpful tool in his quest for thinness. Knowing my gentle and easy nature, Trixie suggested she might improvise and hit me upside the head with a 2x4 each time I reached for food. Something about being hard headed was mentioned but Ol' Dutch is hard of hearing so it went right on by like migrating geese on a north wind.

 I did lose 10 pounds quickly but then the scale wouldn’t budge. I was locked up at that weight like an old man without his Metamucil. No amount of straining or coercing seems to help my predicament so extreme measures will be needed and I will now have to give up all forms of sweet sugary nectar -- the very food of the gods.

 No more will I be able to peruse the dessert tables stacked high with pies and cakes. No more Amish dinners or bakeries where delectable pastries await my groaning, lonely taste buds.

 I did stumble upon a totally fat-free and calorie-free food that comes to our house via the UPS. It's those packing peanuts found surrounding my newest hunting or fishing purchase. While you may scoff, they are actually feeding these to our bovine friends in the feed lots as filler and the cows seem to do quite well. Plus it would seem that the requisite manure that is expelled would be light and fluffy enough to be use in any number of applications such as life preservers, target practice and frisbees.

 So if you see Ol' Dutch out and about and his hand reaching for something that actually tastes good, do a kind gesture and smack him upside the head one.