The Seatpost Letters
(apologies to C. S. Lewis)
"The Devil, the proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked." - Sir Thomas More
As I was dressing for my ride yesterday, a devil appeared in my bedroom. Devils rarely make themselves visible to me, except during political campaigns of course, so I was startled by his appearance. The more so because he was riding what appeared to be a recumbent bike from Wal-mart, and dressed like Rush Limbaugh. I took some notes on our conversation.
"Who are you?"
"Hi, my name's Rob. I'm an apprentice tempter. I'm here to make you give up riding."
"I don't think you're going to have much success with that. Really, wouldn't your time be better spent trying to undermine someone's faith?"
"Nah, the apprentice tempters are given simple tasks at first. I'm new at the academy, so I start out here."
"You don't look like a demon, Rob. You look like an insurance salesman. Where's the pitchfork, horns, and cloven hooves? Your tie is crooked, by the way." It was ugly as well, but I didn't say so.
"Sorry," he said as he straightened his tie. "You are my first project, so I thought I'd dress up for it. "
"Speaking of dressing, Rob, I have to get ready to ride. You can come if you like. Bring that - thing - you are riding with you. Are those clipless pedals?"
Rob pulled a wadded packet of notes from his pocket. Two sheets fell to the floor as he did so, and he stooped to pick them up.
"Sorry," he said as he arranged the papers. "So in conclusion you see - no, wrong one. One minute please." After he reordered the papers he began again. "Neil how can you go out dressed like that?"
"I'm a bicyclist, and bicyclists often wear clothes like this."
"But you're fat."
"I was very fat. Now I'm a lot less fat, and I'll be less and less fat in the future."
"But you're fat. People will laugh at you if you dress like that."
"I think if people haven't seen either a fat person or a bicyclist before, they are more to be pitied than censured. I've worn Lycra in public before, and the world didn't end."
"You're fat. You can't ride a bike."
"I can, and I do. Is that the best you have, Rob, we are burning daylight."
"You are a fat man. You look ridiculous on a bike."
"All bicyclists look ridiculous, Rob. We wear silly-looking clothes and balance on moving gyroscopes. Speaking of which, hand me those socks, Rob. No, the ones with the fish on them."
He handed me the socks and continued reading from his notes. "It doesn't matter. Fat people are helpless, they cannot lose weight."
"I have, and I am continuing to do so. Really, Rob, are you reduced to poaching material from NAAFA? I expected more originality from you. Screwtape must be rolling over in his - whatever."
Beads of sweat appeared on Rob's forehead. He loosened his tie. "The weight comes back eventually. You never lose it."
"OK, Robbie, let me play devil's advocate here and agree with you-"
"Shut up and let me finish. Even if I woke up tomorrow and all the weight was back, I would have had the benefits of weighing less for the length of time I weighed less. Also, I have both the knowledge of how to lose weight and the confidence that if I did it once, I can do it again. Now Robbie, quit wasting my time. Devil, you and the recumbent you rode in on be gone!"
In a flash Rob and his bike were gone, and a few minutes later I was riding.