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Marshall Pitchrock, Folsom Bulldog
By Sean Hetherington

I was an obese and slightly effeminate teenager, so on my birthday during my freshman year of high school, my algebra classmates gave me a mix tape that they insisted I play when the teacher left the classroom. The tape had songs like Lionel Ritchie's "You're Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady," and as I ran in terror to the stereo to turn it off they stomped their feet as though my steps were causing an earthquake. Marshall Pitchrock always looked on but never joined in. He just smiled.

You should have seen Marshall smile. It was that smile that you see on New Year's Eve, from people who are counting down aloud from ten, as they yell "four" then "three," unable to contain their excitement about the upcoming twilight kiss. All it would take was to see him smile, and I didn't care what the kids did. I would just dance around like the bee girl in the Blind Melon video.

I always played the pudgy dad or the husky war general in the high school musical. I guess there weren't many roles for a guy who could flawlessly pull off an impression of Natalie from The Facts of Life. Marshall Pitchrock always showed up ten minutes late to any audition, strolling in, his walk tight and pensive, like a duck who owned the cafetorium. He still would get cast as the leading man.

It was horrible how God always put him in my P.E. class. I walked with purpose in the locker room wearing my required Folsom High School "Home of the BULLDOGS" double XL jumpsuit holding a dodge ball in front of my erection for 6 years. I had no interest in sports or physical competition. I threw like a girl and caught like a girl, too. I couldn't catch a ball without squealing, and I couldn't throw one without mooing like a cow. The guys would imitate me all day throwing a hand forward and squealing as they remembered that morning's fitness test. They called it a SeanToss when they tossed a ball (18 inches) making the noise of a cat in heat. The only sport I liked was professional wrestling and that was because I got to watch grown-up Marshall Pitchrocks battle each other for gold belts.

There he was in the locker room, buttoning his jeans and brushing his rusty hair, still sweating from running the fastest mile in class, talking about dropping eight pounds to compete in a lower wrestling weight class: "No food. I just drink water and eat a spoonful of peanut butter before I go to bed. It takes three weeks, but it's worth it."

I could never do that. I'm a compulsive overeater, so I can't eat a spoonful of peanut butter without adding whipped cream, crushed bananas, Cholula sauce and hot fudge, if I have the patience to microwave the fudge before I start freebasing it. I hated being fat and I wanted so badly to come to school one day and strip off my pants to a petite waist singing, "THIS is LIVING!" but as soon as I got home I'd have a frozen burrito wrapped in a slice of bologna and melted pepper jack cheese. Clutch your pearls, Lynn Redgrave.

Finally at age 24 I was tired of being afraid of myself as a sexual person and as a socially stigmatized closet-case. I decided that being treated as a second-class citizen for being fat was no longer acceptable. If being thin and maybe even kind of not-ugly would blow my not-so-well-hidden cover for being born gay, then so be it.

All that means is that I wanted sex, but I wanted love even more.

In 2002 I started on a calorie-busting diet and a cardio-intensive exercise plan. I became a militant health nut at war with refined white sugar. I defined those carbs as the true weapons of mass destruction.

In a year my 44-inch waist vaporized into a 30, and I'd lost 100 lbs. I was, according to family and friends, unrecognizable. My mom thought my weight loss was abrupt and dramatic. She asked if I was anorexic. I said, "No. I'm horny."

Three years later, I'm nervously peering over the scales at 24 Hour Fitness in West Hollywood. I'm so obsessed with my weight that I've spent this whole day driving to different gyms weighing myself to make sure that I have a precise reading of my value in pounds and ounces. West Hollywood is my highest weight at 172.3 pounds. Of course I'm fatter on the West Side. But then I remember to deduct 2.5 lbs. for my shoes and add 2.1 lbs. for the obvious mis-calibration of their scale. I add 1/5 pound back because I exhaled on the scale -- that means I'm a wee fatter. Now I'm back at…172.3 lbs. On the treadmill next to me someone is reading Oprah's magazine. She has it so easy.

I shouldn't have had so much soy milk. I'm such a gluttonous hippie. This new two pounds I've inhaled today is sitting right in my cheeks. That's always where my excess weight harbors itself, making me look like I just had my wisdom teeth pulled. I can't get into my new body. I'm uncomfortable and don't know how to act minus 100 pounds and yet still feel like a freakishly rotund oddity. I have the mind of one of those crazy chubby-faced, over-excited Maury Povich babies knocking over pregnant moms, snarling, "When do I get a brothah, Momma?"

I walk into the locker room to pee because then I'll be 0.6 lbs lighter. Everyone knows how much water weighs. After that I need Kelly Clarkson. I whip out my iPod as I turn the corner and sidestep a man walking in.

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