Fat Actor’s Lament

23Jan08

beef

I see confused recognition in his eyes.

“You look familiar” he says, hand cupping chin, looking floorward. “TV! That show with that guy! You were, uh…”

Yes? Go on, say it. Oh, never mind — I’ll say it.

“I was the fat guy.”

“Yeah! You played the fat guy!”

No, I did not play the fat guy, I was the fat guy. There was no fat suit involved, no trick camera angles used to induce any illusions of excessive girth. No put-on accent required to trigger audience recognition. It was all me. Sure, I laughed and cried when needed, but my primary function was to fill the screen with flesh. It was easy.

Plus, I got to consort with attractive actresses, slap their asses and crack wise on exercise or lack thereof with no fear of reprisal; I was jolly and that makes up for a lot. The drugs didn’t hurt either.

But no, I did not play the fat guy. I was in character 24/7, but do not think of me as a method actor. My weight was not gained in service to my muse, I was genuinely helpless under the spell of deep-fried foods. My coworkers had the luxury of being able to shed their characters and become whomever they wished as soon as they stepped off set, be it fireman, speed skater or exotic dancer.

Not I.

I was still the fat guy. Fat guy at the liquor store, fat guy in the pool. Fat guy at the strip joint, fat guy at McDonald’s — well, not necessarily, but you see my point.

Being fat was never an act, but I got paid a tidy sum for my girth; I was thespian Kobe beef, but I favoured cocaine over HGH. Fatefully, but not fatally. In the end, it was my penchant for blow that destroyed my career, but not due to my behaviour or any other mood-related issue. The problem was, I lost weight – a lot of weight. Reduced to a chunk of unemployable chubbiness, I was no longer fat. I still had a bit of a gut, but nobody cared; I was no longer a spectacle.

Without my self-contained cloak of flesh, I was nothing. No one wanted me. Why pay a lousy actor of slightly above average weight to wear a fat suit when you can just get a new fat guy?

So I write. I started a publishing house which caters to Harlequin-style romance pulp with a military twist — Purple Prose and Purple Hearts, LLC. And it’s alright.

But lately, I’ve been putting on a few pounds. I go out late at night when sleep is a fantasy. I hit a couple of drive-thrus and scarf some burgers then go looking for photography studios, consumed with the notion of new head shots. I stare longingly at the pictures on display in the front window, fighting the glare of street light against glass, dreaming of that new day when I can again be undressed by the camera and ordered hither and thither in a state of joyous entertainment serfdom.

Bliss.

Then I fumble around for my waist and realize that there is not enough bacon in the world to make this so… and I weep softly, double cheeseburger crushed in fist, hiding my face and hurrying to my curbside conveyance lest anyone see this genuine display of emotion.

But I’ve been spotted by a drunk.

“Hey buddy, you look familiar.”

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8 Responses to “Fat Actor’s Lament”

  1. I never say anything to any actor.

  2. Hey man, you were never fat, you were pleasantly plump.

  3. wow…. again, superb writing. but I’m confused…. who is this actor?

  4. 4 arsebundren

    He’s sort of an everyman actor also-ran, a symbol of, uh, excess(?) and other things. Or I probably just should have included a preface stating “I am not a fat actor – in fact, I am not an actor at all.” Either way, I guess I was just watching some entertainment “news”-clip and realized the sheer magnitude of an actor’s weight gain or loss as an earthshaking event. (No pun intended) And then the whole notion of acting on top of that…

  5. When people recognize you without realizing you were ‘the fat guy’, even when you’re no longer fat and thereby have left what you see as ‘your standard character’ behind, doesn’t that mean they recognize you for you and not just for your weight?

    Maybe you’re not ‘the fat guy’ to them, you’re an actor like all other actors. Too bad that doesn’t get you jobs though..

  6. Ah. Read some more posts and realized this was fiction, not fact. I’m dumb, I get it!

    (although that probably means your writing is good so you can take it as a compliment anyway 😛 )

  7. 7 arsebundren

    Apples,

    I don’t think dumb has anything to do with it… I’m not much for coherence when it comes to theme. I’m also quite lame when it comes to comment replys and the accepting of compliments. So thanks! 🙂


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