One day I noticed a boxed area labeled "politics." It had another listing below: "chat room." I was intrigued and decided to join this group. There were varieties of opinions expressed; some people's writings were well thought out, others just seemed to spew invective. I began to find that I had favorite members, and they were not necessarily those who shared my political bent, but all had one thing in common. Wit. Humor, the ability to laugh at one's self or at things, even serious ones is a sure sign of intelligence in my book. You can get your point across far better with a few well-placed words than with some long, nasty diatribe. Will Rogers, Mark Twain or Abraham Lincoln's words easily make my point. Within a few weeks some of these members and I had exchanged personal e-mail addresses and a whole new chapter began. I was blissfully unaware of what was to come; what was already happening. I only knew that I was feeling better about getting up each day, that I had something to look forward to doing and that was enough for me.
I came to know these people well. We shared family births, deaths, marriages, divorces, reunions, graduations, sorrows and joys. We shared humor as well. I wrote, still do to do this day, horrid limericks for a man in England, and he returns the favor. Laughter, the common thread woven through the tapestry of humanity heals us. Who could have imagined that a machine, a computer could become the catalyst for a 180 degree change in the direction of my life? I am still the most surprised of all.
I remember the day I realized I was losing weight. I had no scale in my home; none could accommodate one third of my mass. I typed seated on an enormous ottoman. That morning, my companion of many years, a highly neurotic calico cat jumped up onto the seat beside me. It was enough to make me stop tapping on the keyboard. I looked down at her in puzzlement, and then laughed at myself; there was nothing unusual about a cat jumping. They did it all the time. Then it dawned on me. There had never been room for her to land on the seat in all the years I'd had her.
When you weigh over a third of a ton, you don't notice even what would be considered a large loss to most. I don't recall this new information as particularly impressing me, not only because I had long since believed I'd never be of normal size again, but more because losing weight was not my focus. I was feeling loved, cared for, for the first time in so long. That was what I craved. Communication had become my obsession; no longer did ham and Swiss on rye whisper its torment from the fridge. And so months and pounds fell away and I slowly began my journey back out into the world that had once so rejected me. That's a whole other tale I could tell, one replete with what I call "firsts." What a wonderful, frightening, enlivening series of reacquainting events waited for me outside those prison gates. Truly pictures do speak louder than a thousand words. I'll let those included here demonstrate the axiom.