Matchstick Men

Psychedelic London pop from 1968?  This one has Austin Powers written all over it..

That’s the band Status Quo with their only Top-40 US Hit, “Pictures of Matchstick Men.” And you’ll note from the video, all five band members were pretty slender.  That’s not a word you’d use when describing this past April’s Taco Trade Council meeting.

A better word would be beefy. A more accurate word would be fat.  Except for a few glandular cases, the 4th meeting of the Taco Trade Council was not a pretty sight. Not a “matchstick man” in the bunch.  The meeting was held in Anaheim, California – just down the street from Disneyland.  It was most definitely not a small world, after all…

Adam Nice of Nice Fuel in Portland, ME arrived weighing 262.  Dan Foley of Foley Mechanical, slowed by an Achilles injury, hobbled in a 274, while Bob Dudley of Harris-Dudley Plumbing & Heating in Salt Lake City looked much larger than his reported 221. Rocky Pavey of Rocky’s Heating Service in Fairbanks, AK was only 212.  Not in attendance, but with us in spirit, was Jeffrey Young of Eason, PA, at 266 pounds.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I waddled in at my ideal weight.

If I was 23 years old, 6’5” and playing linebacker for the Patriots.

For a 51 year old, 5’10” hydronics trainer, 248 pounds doesn’t look so good.

It was Rocky who noticed the collective heft (the rest of us were, uh, involved with our lunch).  Between bites of a ham sandwich (extra cheese, extra mayo), he muffled something about losing weight.  After a handful of fries, he said he’d tried everything – chew-chew – but couldn’t find a way – chew-chew – to slim down.

Bob, munching on his third peanut-butter-chocolate-chip dessert brownie, agreed.

“Mrzffpfllign,” he said.

“Me, too,” added Adam, who was dishing up another helping of pasta salad, with a side of cookie. And a Diet Coke.

Then Rocky made a life-changing statement:

“I suggest,” – chew – “a weight loss contest.  We each kick in a hundred bucks” – swallow – “biggest loser at the end of July takes it all.”

“I’m in,” said Adam.

“Me, too,” said Dan.

“Mrzffpfllign,” added Bob.

We were all in, including Mike Bernasconi (Central Cooling & Heating, Woburn, MA), and Andy Mickelson (Mickelson P&H, Missoula, MT)  Mike, at 204, and Andy, at 202, looked like refugees compared to the rest of us, but their dough was as green as everyone else’s. And for some unknown reason, Jim Hilpipre (Hilpipre Heating & Air, Faribault, MN) decided to join in.

All 169 pounds of him.

We weighed in every month, with the contest ending August 1st.  And, as expected, there was plenty of trash talk along the weigh, er, way:

“Rocky – Coldstone Ice Cream is good for you! Builds strong teeth and good muscles.  And chicks really, really dig guys who eat LOTS of ice cream”

“Hilpipre at 169? Does he still shop in the Boys Department?”

“I’m getting a little suspicious of your advice.  I keep eating Coldstone and washing it down with lasagna, but all I do is gain weight!”

“Been on the Graduation Party diet – Two steps forward and one to the side and the buffet table starts all over again!”

“Bob – Good job! You should reward yourself with some ribs, pizza and ice cream.  You deserve it!”

“221 lbs?  If you turned sideways and stuck your tongue out you’d look like a zipper!”

“JB, what’s your home address?  Favorite pizza? Do you like ranch with your hot wings?  How late is too late for the doorbell?”

In the end, the results were, well, impressive:

Pavey: 206 – down 6 lbs. (It was the Coldstone)

Foley: 251 – down 23 lbs

Dudley:  193 – down 28 lbs

Mickelson:  175 – down 27 lbs (how???)

Barba: 215 – down 33 lbs

Young: 227 – down 39 lbs

Hilpipre?  He gained 3 pounds.

So congrats to Jeffrey Young  – your Taco Trade Council’s Biggest Loser for 2011!

Adam was dismissed from the competition due to surgery,  but Dan Foley’s performance was truly remarkable. He couldn’t exercise (heck, he could barely walk!) due to his ruptured Achilles, but still dropped 23!  All together, the council lost a collective 157 lbs, or roughly 92/100′s of a Hilpipre.

Post-script: Rocky has thrown down another gauntlet – a new contest, ending December 31st, for the Biggest Keeper-Offer.  It’s a lifestyle challenge to see who can keep losing, or at the very least keep the weight off, through the Holidays. Think I have the early lead – down to 208 as of this morning!

And in honor of our collective weight loss, here’s a great unknown song from a great unknown artist, Root Boy Slim:

Not much of a video, but a heck of a tune!


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