Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2008

No one could laugh at arms that end in such talented hands …


Thanks for Laughing At My Arms


Julia Morgan-Scott

Illos by the author


I’m 56 years old, I’m a grandma, and it’s OK if you laugh at my ridiculously fat arms. Well, it’s OK if you laugh at my cartoons about my ridiculously fat arms. I was a bit concerned that no one but me, my mom, who kindly passed on her astonishingly fat arms to me, and my sister would think they were funny, and with that in mind I’d been playing with the captions, thinking of changing “me” to the anonymous “Mrs. Dunkelmeyer.” That way, people who knew me could laugh at the lady with fat arms without feeling bad. So I was extremely gratified when Guy e-mailed me the other night and said he had been guiltily snickering at my little cartoons. I said, hey, thanks for laughing at my arms! Really! I’m glad a man thinks my arms are funny too. Just don’t do it in person or I’ll whack you with my arm fat.

The whole idea for the cartoons hatched in my brain one Saturday afternoon. Ken and I were strolling around an outdoor flea market, and we passed a booth selling funnel cakes. My skinny husband wanted a funnel cake, which he loves. I demurred, pointing to my arms and saying, I really don’t need to eat any more funnel cakes. I mean, my arms are made out of funnel cake batter. Then I started making jokes about how much fun it would be if my arms really were full of funnel cake batter, and how I could just point my finger at the pot of grease. Then, the next thing I knew, I was drawing pictures of me and my fat arms and snickering guiltily at myself.

I admit, sometimes after a hard day drawing, my favorite indulgence is to loll on the sofa and watch Extreme Makeover. I fantasize about spending all my retirement money on Fat Arm plastic surgery (it’s called brachioplasty). Hey, I could go the whole hog, and for $100,000, maybe more, I could risk my life and retirement funds in order to regain roughly 30% of the adorable, if slightly squishy, cuteness of my youth, albeit in somewhat stretched and distorted form. Then, on the huge, hideous scars the brachioplasty would leave, I could get cool tattoos, which my husband would hate. Or I could just draw cartoons about my fat arms and laugh about it. Hmmm, tough call. Maybe I could compromise and work out with hand weights while I watch Extreme Makeover.

I read that thigh fat protects against heart disease, and belly fat aggravates it. I dunno what arm fat does. Protects against the cold, maybe – female channel swimmers seem to have plenty of it. And my mom’s 82 and in possession of all her original marbles, so maybe fat arms aren’t such a bad inheritance overall. I’m reminded of one of the Roman historians who described the pagan German women, who fought alongside their husbands with bare arms the size of tree trunks. I envision some stalwart Northern ancestress of mine, whacking a few Romans with her arm fat before lunch, then striding back to her thatch hut to knead bread and cleave elk until hubby arrived home from the battlefield, hungry for some early version of funnel cakes, no doubt.

I do have sufficient vanity left that I possess a closetful of semi-attractive dusters and lightweight floater tops, mainly so small children won’t play games with my arms, rudely grabbing squishy handfuls of my pink freckled flesh and swatting it back and forth, like Silly Putty. So if you see me at a convention, don’t pinch the arm fat. It’s sensitive and bruises easily. But go ahead, laugh at “Mrs. Dunkelmeyer” all you want!

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