Think about what you weigh, now tell the scrawny teenager staring at you

There is an advertising campaign for a distress line currently running on the buses here in Ottawa that says something to the effect, “Think of the most personal thing about yourself that you’ve never told to anyone. Now turn to the person next to you and tell them.” It’s an effective advertisement, I think, because it makes one think how hard it must be for people to seek help, even when they’re in a bad situation.Not to belittle the importance of the message but I had a little bare-all moment recently, too.

    When Reid and I were at the Toronto Zoo, we rode on a camel. The first time, we just climbed on, no questions asked. But when we went back the second day, the fellow at the camel asked what we each weighed in a booming voice that would have done a boxing announcer proud. I gave an awkward and truthful approximate response (as accurate as I could). He must have doubted me as he pulled out a scale and had us step on. We were within a couple of pounds of my guess, though a bit over the limit he mentioned. I offered to empty my pockets and try again but he decided it’d be okay. Shwew, I thought, since we’d already paid for our tickets.

Reid was much bolder the second day but was still far from agreeing to ride on her own and I had no desire to ride without Reid. In fact, her boldness explains why we were riding again. On Saturday, I’d had to cajole Reid into going with me. When she suggested going again, I wanted to reward her bravery.

A sign at the ticket fellow about the weight limit would be a good idea. I have yet another reason to lose weight, I guess. In fact, I should plan to lose a pound for every one Reid gains in the next year or so to allow us to continue to share the joys of riding camels or even an elephant if the opportunity presents itself. Soon Reid will be big enough to ride such creatures without me and then I’ll have no excuse. 

If you’ve never rode on a camel, I can report that you rock like you are in a small boat on a fairly rough lake, explainining the “ships of the dessert” moniker, I suppose. Also, they have very prominent spines that make sitting off to one side or the other a good idea. The ones we read didn’t have a particularly strong smell. I’d been expecting something vaguely horsey. They also were quiet creatures, walking the prescribed route without protest or comment. I asked about their “housing” and was told that they had a pasture that they went to at night and there were enough others that would have allowed an every other day sort of rotation.

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