A Five-Pound Cell Phone

The other day I had a doctor’s appointment. As the nurse led me down the hallway to my assigned exam room, she weighed me on the doctor’s scale, which is located along one of the hallway walls. I obediently stepped up onto the platform, wearing my suit and tie and shoes, as I always do. After the nurse registered my poundage, I headed to the exam room.

When I mentioned this incident later, I was told that my approach to the doctor’s scale is all wrong: you are supposed to at least remove your jacket and shoes and, ideally, strip down to your skivvies. I wasn’t going to do that, obviously, because the scale is in an open hallway, rather than in the exam room itself. I also figure that so long as I am consistent, and always am officially weighed when fully clothed, the doctor’s office will get a sense of whether my weight is dramatically up or down, which should be sufficient.

The clad approach to the doctor’s scale has another advantage: it leaves an open field for rationalization. When I stepped onto the scale, my pockets were full, with cell phone, wallet, and keys. I’ve never weighed these items, independently–meaning it is at least possible that my cell phone weighs five pounds. I haven’t weighed my shoes, either, but I’m pretty sure that I was wearing an especially heavy pair that day. My jacket and tie were feeling pretty hefty, too. All told, my accoutrements easily could have accounted for a sizeable percentage of the weight registered by the nurse.

If I’d shed my garments and shoes, we would know for sure–but that didn’t happen, did it? Thanks to my five-pound cell phone, ponderous keys, and Frankenstein-like shoes, the precise dimensions of my physical self remain shrouded in mystery and the subject of vigorous internal debate. .

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