A Farewell To Medium

Sensible, balanced; not too little and not too big. Medium. Like the last bowl of porridge in the Three Bears’ freshly renovated inner city townhouse, there’s something about the term ‘medium’ that sounds just right. For years, medium was my friend. Something I could rely on. But without even realizing it, medium and I have – in a very real sense – grown apart.

Sensible, balanced; not too little and not too big.  Medium.  Like the last bowl of porridge in the Three Bears’ freshly renovated inner city townhouse, there’s something about the term ‘medium’ that sounds just right.  For years, medium was my friend.  Something I could rely on.  But without even realizing it, medium and I have – in a very real sense – grown apart.

I’ve no idea how it happened.  One minute, a medium t-shirt hangs as loosely as a peg-less tent.  The next, you look like Bill Bixby in the early stages of turning into the Hulk.  I can no longer select medium clothing as a matter of right.  I now have to try things on.  This has taken me to places I never thought I’d go – namely Department store changing rooms. 

There ought to be some kind of international standard when it comes to changing rooms.  It’s like stepping into a shower but with more mirrors.  Or a telephone booth without an actual telephone.  But what they lack in showerheads and old-school phones, they more than make up for with mirrors and harsh lighting.  The mirror / lighting combination seems designed to highlight every flaw, no matter how slight.  For those of us who spend precious little time staring at ourselves in the mirror, it comes a something of a shock to see a befuddled and slightly inflated version of yourself blinking back from the mirror face.

I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘large’.  For years, it was a size I thought was reserved for those who need the fire brigade to extract them from their first floor apartment.  These days, ‘large’ is the thin end of a really big wedge.  There are a host of sizes that lie beyond it.  There’s extra large, extra extra large and extra cubed infinity plus one large.  This is a hopeless situation and bound to cause confusion.  But like many things in this life, Bruce Willis has the answer.   

In 1988, Bruce starred in a film called Die Hard.  In the movie, New York City policeman John McLane finds himself pitted against a German terrorist mastermind so fiendishly brilliant that he has an English accent.  The film spawned a litter of sequels: ‘Die Harder’, ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ and ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ as well as a Broadway musical, ‘A Die Hard Day’s Night’.  Using the Bruce Willis sizing method, we could have ‘large’, ‘die larger’ and ‘die large with a vengeance’.  If that sounds morbid, ‘die’ is the German word for ‘the’.  Although ‘The Hard’ would certainly be a lousy name for a movie, ‘Die Hard’ is no stroke of genius either.

Despite the fact that I’m now gaining a level of unstoppable momentum towards, if not ‘die large with a vengeance’ then at least plain old regular ‘large’, I am yet to give up my medium dreams.  My closet is stuffed full of pants that I am unlikely to ever wear again.  They are, in effect, a remembrance of waistlines past, artifacts of a time that is gone and will never return.  But despite this, I cannot bring myself to throw them away.  I cling to a hope that is now more slender than I’ll even be that I will, once more, be able to slip into the trousers of my youth.  That the pants in question are of the acid wash variety is a fair indicator as to how long it’s been.

It’s all a sign of getting older.  Young people today now look younger than ever.  When I see a P-plater, I see someone who barely looks old enough to travel in the front, much less take hold of the wheel.  It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I lined up to enter nightclubs and hotels.  Now the idea of lining up to gain entry to somewhere with overly loud music and overpriced drinks sounds like a fundamental abuse of human rights and a potential breach of the Geneva Convention.  Music today often sounds like a dispute between a heart rate monitor and a metal detector.  Worst of all, I find my standards are slipping. 

Once I would have mocked reality television as a device intended only to highlight the worst humanity has to offer.  Which, of course, it is.  But now, rather than mocking these programs, I find myself hopelessly addicted to anything involving cooking, home renovation or singing.  This is in spite of that fact that I watch these shows largely through my fingers after they attach themselves to my face in horror.  If these themes were combined into a single program, chances are I’d never leave the house.  These are not the actions of a ‘medium’ person.  Indeed, it appears that I have become extreme. 

Once, I was ‘medium’ in every regard.  It was how I ordered my steaks, my coffee and all my apparel.  It wasn’t merely a size.  More a state of mind.  One that freed me from having to think too much about things I regarded as trivial.  No more.  So if my belts are now solely decorative in nature, what of it?  The time has come to surrender.  To abandon the slacks whose value has long only been historical.  Maybe I’ll order a steak that’s rare or well done.  Perhaps order a take away coffee in a container that looks like a bucket with the handle removed.  It’s time to mix it up.  Medium has served me well, but the time has come to move on. 

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