Disheveled is my look of choice most days.
Having spent some time in the army, I never want to shave my face every day or concern myself with how my hair looks again.
I’m married. I’m not trying to impress anybody.
I meet the company dress code everyday. Pants — though not jeans — and a shirt with a collar. I usually top the outfit off with a black cap with “Jumpmaster” embroidered on the back.
This is how I attend almost everything I do — barely to the standard.
“He usually shows up with his hair all messed up looking like he jumped out of a plane without a parachute,” joked Jimmy Miller at our News candidates forum.
At that forum I surprised Miller and a whole bunch of others. I did something I hadn’t done since 2010. I wore a suit. I even wore a tie with it.
I thought I looked good, until I saw the newspaper the next day.
I looked huge.
There I was — a whole bunch of me. Jeff Linville had taken my picture, and somehow had managed to make everything look fat.
“The camera adds ten pounds,” said a friend.
Well, too bad it doesn’t add 50. Then I could have slept a little better.
I quickly sought advice from our resident expert.
“Burn the jacket,” said the Lifestyles writer. “It’s definitely the jacket. Just burn it.”
My wife disagreed.
“You look like a big pumpkin,” she said, pointing at the bright orange shirt.
In the end, I’m glad I didn’t burn my jacket. When I wore a black shirt with the same suit only a week or so later, I looked a great deal slimmer.
However, that orange shirt did open up my eyes to a few things.
I have heard the story from many veterans. When they get out, they gain weight.
You get used to taking in enough calories to maintain a comfortable bodyweight while doing a great deal of exercise. What we don’t realize is we were running every day, living outside some weeks and constantly in motion.
Here in the real world, that just doesn’t happen.
Of late it couldn’t happen even if I did have the ambition to wake up and go for a run at 6 a.m. every morning.
That same organization and those activities which helped me remain a lean, mean fighting machine also left my bones and joints in a state of disrepair.
At age 30 I need two new hips. For a guy who used to run between 15 and 20 miles per week, lift weights every day and swim twice per week, it’s a huge kick in the groin to fall apart.
I will say I got my money’s worth, and I wouldn’t trade a single jump from plane or helicopter for 10 new hips.
There’s simply nothing more majestic than floating down to the ground below an Alaskan sunrise. There’s also no better view than hanging out the door of a C-17 while it’s flying 1,000 feet above ground level at 130 knots, and there are few things more rewarding than delivering hundreds or thousands of America’s finest safely to the ground.
In the end, it’s left me physically broken and fat, however.
Thus, I’ve adapted some of life. I try to stay busy. I do little things like projects around the house and I try to walk the nine holes instead of riding on a golf cart. All of that is simply part of the process of adapting to the changes my body has thrown my way.
One of those recent projects really rubbed salt into the getting fat wound though.
I threw out medium.
Yep, I went through the five Rubbermaid tubs in our out-building. I found clothes I hadn’t worn in five years, and others which just never managed to make it from the boxes into the closet after the last move in life.
There were shirts with stories behind them and pants which had been literally all over the world with me.
I parted ways with some of these. Often I snickered as I threw them into the piles, remembering stories filled with debauchery from college or amazing hikes up mountains.
Then, there were the medium shirts. I used to fill out a medium shirt very nicely.
Now, I overfill a medium shirt.
After a few hours spent in our building, I came to a terrible realization — medium is gone forever.
While I’ve opened a whole bunch of really cool chapters in life throughout the course of the last year or so, it seems I’ve definitely closed the medium chapter.
Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.