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“The True Meaning of Labor Day”

Judy Lockhart DiGregorio

Labor Day celebrates the social and economic achievements of American workers, but I recognize another kind of labor on this day – the labor of trying to squeeze a body the size of a giant potato into a swimsuit the size of a peanut. This is the labor I suffer through each summer.

Why do I punish myself by donning a swimsuit? It’s simple. I have grandchildren whom I adore. Summer vacation means taking them swimming. Swimming means water. Water means suit. Suit means catastrophe.

Oh, I try to camouflage my body. I buy the stretchiest suit I can, hoping it will look loose on me. However, spandex magnifies everything. A simple roll of fat around the waist looks larger than a tractor tire.

This year, to hide my thighs, I purchased a pink cover-up skirt to match a one-piece rose suit. Unfortunately, by the time I wrapped the skirt around me, there wasn’t much material left to tie it together, though I sucked in my stomach as far as I could. The skirt successfully hid my derriere, but my dimpled thighs flaunted themselves like extra large drumsticks from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

My second attempt at swimsuit fashion included trying a waist-reducing suit guaranteed to give me a figure to die for-- literally. The advertisement bragged that the suit’s material would improve the shape of my body while making my waist smaller. After a forty-five minute struggle, the suit and I were one, and it definitely cinched in my waist. I hurried to the pool to show off my new figure. Unfortunately, the suit pinched so tightly I couldn’t even take a deep breath. I grew dizzy from lack of oxygen, forcing me to speak in breathy sentences a la Marilyn Monroe.

“I like your new turquoise suit,” enthused a friend.

“Thank…you... Do…I…look …thinner?

“Oh, yes.”

“Great... At …least… I’ll… look…good… when… I pass… out.

The third swimsuit disaster was a two- piece number, a blue and white flowered top with matching navy skirt. The skirt sat low on my hips and didn’t pinch at all. The halter top fit snugly as I fastened it around my neck. I stepped into the pool for the real test, throwing the beach ball with the grandchildren. No suit problems were noted in the water. As I climbed out of the pool, I realized my halter top had rolled up and the skirt had rolled down exposing more white flesh around my middle than that found on a Beluga whale. I sank beneath the water and pulled and tugged until my various body parts were once again hidden, and I could dash to the safety of my queen-size beach towel.

I don’t know why I worry about looking good in a swimsuit. Mother Nature decrees that the older we get, the more our bodies resemble spreading chestnut trees. I just need to accept this. Next summer, I refuse to worry over stuffing my body into the most flattering swimsuit. Instead, I’ll labor over the large sign I’ll carry with me at the pool. It will read “Wide Load.”

Judy DiGregorio is a local free lance writer. This column previously appeared in LIFE AMONG THE LILLIPUTIANS and is reprinted by permission of Celtic Cat Publishing.

Copyright © September 2018, Judy L. DiGregorio

Judy Lockhart DiGregorio is a humorist, speaker, and the author of three humor books and a CD from Celtic Cat Publishing, Knoxville, TN -- Books: Life Among the Lilliputians, Memories of a Loose Woman, Tidbits, and CD: Jest Judy.

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