Another collaboration with the wonderful Becky Hawkins!
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I’ve read many fat people’s accounts of losing weight due to illness and having their friends be seemingly thrilled by the weight loss. I’ve had a vague intention of doing a cartoon about it someday. But what actually galvanized me to write this cartoon was a tweet from “Uninhibited Seagull“:
OMG this. I was very ill through last Winter. I lost about 50 lbs through being too sick to be active and at times even too sick to eat. Returning to my workplace after going through that, most reactions appreciated my weight loss more than my health.
Becky said she’d be eager to draw it, and I was glad. This is a perfect cartoon for Becky to draw, because it involves so many specific environments that have to be instantly understood by readers, and Becky is fabulous at drawing environments. (She told me she was particularly pleased with the dull and depressing hospital hallway in panel 3.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels, plus a small additional “kicker” panel underneath the cartoon.
We see a woman seated in a doctor’s office, facing the doctor’s desk. The woman has cat’s-eye glasses and purple hair, and is quite fat. She’s holding her hands in front of her mouth, looking afraid. We’ll call her GLASSES.
On the other side of the desk, the doctor is seated, talking to Glasses. She’s displaying a plastic model showing the anatomy of the head and neck.
DOCTOR: Your cancer is treatable. But it’s going to be a hard road.
A caption at the top of the panel says ONE MONTH LATER.
Glasses is lying in a hospital bed, which has it’s head side partly raised. She’s lying on her side, facing away from her visitor, looking limp, her eyes mostly shut.
In the other side of the bed, a visitor, a balding middle-aged man wearing a green tee shirt, is holding a spoon in one hand and a container (jello, maybe?) in the other. He looks very worried.
VISITOR: Please eat something…
GLASSES: I… I don’t think I can.
A caption at the top of the panel says THREE MONTHS LATER.
Glasses, wearing a hospital gown and slippers, is walking in a dreary hospital corridor. She’s using a walker, and with one hand she’s holding a cell phone by her face, talking to someone. She looks cheerful. She’s much thinner than she was in panel 1, with bags under her eyes and her cheekbones standing out.
GLASSES: I’m not completely out of the woods yet. But they say I can go home.
A caption at the top of the panel says THE NEXT DAY.
Glasses, dressed in a blue blouse and white pants, is on the front yard of a nice-looking adobe bungalow house with a tiled roof, approaching the front door. We can see that this house is one of a row of similar houses on this block. Other than the clothes, she looks a lot like she did in panel three, and is again using a walker.
A friend is standing in the doorway, greeting her cheerfully. Glasses’ mouth is open, but she’s not speaking; she doesn’t know what to say.
FRIEND: Wow, you lost so much weight! You look great!
SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE COMIC
The same friend is talking to Glasses; glasses still looks surprised.
FRIEND: Man, I wish I could get cancer!