Originally created 01/12/04

DNA is to blame for adult expansion



Aren't there times when you just want to reach deep inside your body and yank out all your DNA by the roots, stripping it from every organ, every tissue, every cell, until there's not a molecule of it left?

After all, DNA is to blame for making us what we are. Scientists say it is an inherent part of our fiber; I say it should be outlawed by an act of Congress.

I mean, it's tough enough to get through this world relying on our brains, wits, muscles and skills - all of which we can improve. With DNA, we're pretty much stuck with what we've got.

For instance, many years ago, my parents, my siblings and I were as skinny as rails. In fact, we were the family that is pictured in the Book of Similes under the expression "as skinny as a rail."

When we took our shirts off while working on the farm, our ribs poked out. We could suck in our bellies all the way to our backbones.

I was so skinny, in fact, that when the second grade put on a production of Hansel and Gretel and the curtain opened on me, standing there in short pants on the stage of the "cafetorium," the audience of pupils, teachers and lunchroom workers exploded in laughter at my skinny legs and knobby knees - which were, it is true, shaking because it was my first starring role.

There, beneath those Greek masks of comedy and tragedy, I went out of character for a moment, turned to the guffawing audience, waited for the laughter to die down, then placed my hands on my tiny hips and laughed right back at them.

Satisfied, I returned to character and gave a performance that is still talked about today when the barroom conversation gets around to brilliant 7-year-old Hansels.

One of my brothers was always a few pounds heavier than the rest of us, and we would kid him that he had been adopted. We didn't know it back then, but our day would come and we would all grow to look like adopted brothers. When that day came, we woke up to find ourselves plumped up like fresh-grilled frankfurters at a Fourth of July cookout.

After years of punching extra holes in belts to fit our waspish waists and eating anything without fear of tonnage, every last one of us suddenly had become barrels.

It was genetics, pure and simple, and there was little we could do about it.

Oh, we tried. Exercise, diets, hanging around with fatter people. One of my brothers once went on a diet that let him eat only three plain meat sandwiches a day. Just six slices of bread and three slices of meat. He lost lots of weight, all right, but he wasn't getting any real nutrition. (Nowadays, of course, that diet wouldn't work because we now know that bread is an Evil Carbohydrate.)

As you can tell, the lean years and the fat years have left a scar on me: a skinny little scar that is getting bigger every day.

None of this is really my fault, though. It's DNA, but until they find a cure for it, I'm stuck with this body.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.