The Evil Trickster
After twenty-two years of loyal service, our precious scale died just before Christmas. It stayed the loving companion to the end – expiring with the sweetest gesture a scale has ever delivered. With its last dying breath, it said I weighed 87 pounds.
My husband buried it in the cellar – because he can’t throw anything away, and someday he might fix it, or it may miraculously recover.
We went to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a new scale. Bed, Bath & Beyond has a lot of Bed and Bath, but a plethora of Beyond. It was difficult to rein in my husband from the mixed nuts to concentrate on the scales.
There were twenty-one models to choose from. In one display. Around the corner were six more, just in case you needed more choice. Prices ranged from $19.99 to $99.99.
They had analog and digital, stainless steel, glass, and wood. They had body composition analyzers and weight tracking units. One played music too. I’m not sure what song, but probably not “Sixteen Tons.”
I wanted the weight tracker. It stored information for two people, named A and B. This would be very convenient because our blood pressure machine calls us A and B. (I’m B, but not because I’m less important or anything).
My husband thought $99 was too much for a scale. But I didn’t want the cheap ones with the needle that never stops wiggling. We settled on $39.99.
So we took the four possible selections off the shelf and tried them out. One was not a good test, since it didn’t have a battery. One had a tiny readout that you cannot read unless you crouch way down. One said that my husband had gained 18 pounds, and I then refused to give it a try. The last had a nice big readout – in a bright blue face. And it was pebbled glass, and so it would not be slippery. I guess this was in case you want to use it in the bathtub.
So we took it home. Once we opened the box we saw that the battery was corroded. I think this should have been a warning that the scale was evil. But in our naiveté, we just went back out and bought a new battery.
We set it up in the dressing room, right where our old scale was. But the room is carpeted. Our old scale didn’t seem to mind the carpeting, but the new scale refused to cooperate. So we moved it to the bath, where the scale reluctantly turned itself on and gave us each a weight, which was within an acceptable range of what we thought we weighed. It did not memorize these weights or call us A and B. But my husband assured me that we would still be able to determine whose weight was whose, since my weight would only show up when I got on the scale, and his weight would only show up when he got on the scale. Yes, he’s logical.
Our old scale had a button you could use to set it to zero. So you could tweak it just a little. Now I am not a cheater, but it is reassuring to know that you can make sure the scale is at “-00” and not at “+00”, since you certainly wouldn’t want to add that plus thing to your starting point.
But our new scale has no set-zero adjustment. You just have to trust that it is being fair.
And I don’t think it is.
I think our scale is malicious. Or at a minimum, it has a nasty sense of humor .
Things started out okay. It gave me the same weight for four days – the same to the tenth of a pound, or 1.6 ounces. I thought that was a little unusual. Because I think my weight might vary by 1.6 ounces once in while. But now I see that the scale was just trying to lull me into complacency.
And then it hatched its scheme. Its scheme to make me crazy. I can eat pecan pie in front of the TV all day and lose 1.4 pounds. Or I can go to Zumba and eat yogurt and carrot sticks, and the mischievous scale tells me I have gained 2.6 pounds.
Once I got suspicious I started weighing myself at night. This was a mistake, because I found it hard to sleep after being told I had gained 3.1 pounds during the day.
My husband says it’s normal to weigh more at night. But that means that sleeping makes you lose weight. I don’t think a nap is a good substitute for aerobics.
I have tried to catch it in the act. I get on and off the scale repeatedly and it won’t vary. But if I give it some time, it acts up. Just yesterday I lost 0.8 pounds in the shower. I was a little dirty, but perhaps not 12.8 ounces worth.
I got dressed and weighed myself again. I had 2.7 pounds worth of clothes. Then I got undressed and held my clothes. I had 3.1 pounds worth of clothes. Maybe clothes are heavier when you carry them than when you wear them. Maybe because you flex your muscles holding them in one pile.
Last night I got up at 3AM to pee. (If you are younger than me and snickering right now…. just you wait). Anyway, the scale was beckoning me, taunting me. I got on. I couldn’t help it. But I forgot I wasn’t wearing my glasses and so I only saw a vague blue glow. But I think it told me I weighed my husband’s weight.
This morning I told my husband I want a new scale. He says he likes this one. He loses 0.2 pounds every day.