MAN v FAT Confessions: He’s Dead Jim

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This is a particularly terrible moment in my development as a human being and I’ve spent about 10 years feeling guilty about this incident so I’m hoping that by sharing it with your readers I can unburden myself.

Back in 2007ish I was working in London and feeling pretty proud of myself for having a job and having graduated from university. I felt like a proper grown-up. The only thing that was puncturing this particular balloon of happiness was that I was overweight. Massively overweight in fact. It turns out that drinking lager for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three years while at uni, and then another year while doing a Masters course of dubious usefulness wasn’t great for my health.

The solution fortunately was simple – I would join the gym. On my way into work there was a nice independent gym, which had limited equipment but made up for it by being a really close-knit group of people and trainers. I paid my eye-watering joining fee and with a quivering hand I signed the direct debit.

For about two weeks it worked brilliantly. I popped in on my way to or from work and got a sweat on under the watchful eye of the gym instructors. I won’t say that it transformed me into a hunk with a six pack, but to my untrained eye I felt like you could at least see a one pack and maybe a couple fewer chins by the end of the fortnight.

Fast forward three months and my gym membership went the way of so many. As in, I didn’t go. At all. It reached the point where I was crossing the road in case anyone saw me through the plate glass windows. Then came the fateful decision to cancel my direct debit. I couldn’t face going in, so I simply rang the bank and told them to cancel it.

About three weeks later I foolishly picked up the flat phone and heard someone from the gym asking to speak to me. Driven by fear, and possibly lager, I explained that he/I couldn’t come to the phone. “Oh, why not?” came the legitimate response. Because he died, I explained.

Yes. I did.

I faked my own death to get out of a gym contract. I’m definitely not saying I was proud of myself, but I was at least relieved once the awkward conversation ended, that I wasn’t spending so much per month on a luxury I wasn’t taking part in. Then the flowers arrived. A beautiful bouquet, with a card attached that all the members had signed and a loving message from the gym instructor of such warmth that I almost felt like maybe I would have had a chance with her, if I hadn’t been dead.

The really stupid thing was that the gym was on my way to work and the members all lived in my local area. I had to start walking a massively long way to work in the hope of avoiding anyone. Ironically, I probably burned more calories from avoiding the gym than I ever did from going in it.

Not long after I moved to a different part of London. I didn’t join the local gym.

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