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Drawback of Christmas is how it sticks to the ribs

Holidays can be dangerous. I'm serious. It all started Wednesday, six days before Christmas. I entertained clients for lunch, consuming an easy 3,000 calories. I felt 30 pounds heavier.

On Thursday, another account rep and I took twice as many customers to lunch as we did Wednesday and ate about twice as much food.

The gorging continued into the night when my company had its holiday bash at a community clubhouse. Again, the ritual of hyperholiday feasting was in full swing.

Leigh, my wife and designated driver for the evening, winged it just fine. Preferring to mingle, she politely pushed back food overages and almost every adult beverage shoved at her. Conversely, most of my mingling was done a few yards from the bar next to a table of appetizers where a line formed perpetually passing beers to the sales department most of the evening.

About 10:30 p.m., after my humor had morphed from polite chuckles to had one too many, knee slapping har-harring, Leigh strolled nonchalantly by and announced that we should start home soon. This was a good thing, because after four beers I tend to spill things. Needless to say, I woke early the next morning weighing what seemed like 20 more pounds and with an Excedrin headache.

On Friday, work went reasonably well after shaking off the December cold and a slight hangover. That is things went well until around 6:30 p.m.

I adjusted my tie, popped an antacid and took a huge swig from a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. We then left for one of the area's finest restaurants, where Leigh's company was hosting a no-holds-barred, anything-you-want-to-eat-and-drink holiday dinner for employees and their significant others. There was ostrich, steak, lobster and duck with all of the trimmings and a choice of nuclear desserts as well as an open bar for the entire evening.

Not wanting to offend anyone by ordering a little salad, which is all that I needed to put into my body, I went with surf n' turf trimmed with three veggies and a separate plate of potatoes and washed it down with several after-dinner cocktails.

After a fine meal and much interesting conversation, I decided to excuse myself to go to the men's room. I rose slightly from my chair and pushed it back from the table. But as I attempted to stand, my belly didn't clear the table and I had to quickly back kick the leg of the chair to keep from sending a lobster carcass flying across the table at my new friend Alex. Leigh looked at me nervously as the crystal glass containing my drink briefly wobbled before righting itself without pouring its contents onto the white linen.

I stayed busy with lawn work Sunday until it was my niece's turn to see if my cholesterol would clear 500. To be fair, her Christmas dinner was outstanding but there was too much of it. Later, as we prepared to leave, I had to adjust the seat in the Pontiac in order to slide behind the wheel. Before strapping in, I let my belt out to the last notch. Leigh's "no one told you to eat that much" face was visible in the orange glow of the instrument lights.

I woke Monday thankful that I had survived the holidays even if I was shuffling around in what appeared to be Santa's frame.

"It's time to start shedding some of this holiday cheer," I mumbled as I looked in the mirror and rubbed my increasingly rotund belly. Right then I was thankful we weren't entertaining at our house this Christmas.

Later Christmas Day, Leigh and I were having coffee after opening presents from each other. "Why don't you wear your new Christmas shirt over to my niece's house this afternoon?" she queried.

"Lori's house?" I mumbled, aware that there is no suitable excuse to duck a Christmas gig in this family.

"All the girls are bringing holiday desserts. You didn't forget, did you?" she added in a tone that I know could get ugly fast.

"Oh no, I just wasn't thinking," I lied. My stomach suddenly roared like a wounded lion.

"Do we have another bottle of Pepto-Bismol?"

_ Larry Clifton lives in Land O'Lakes.

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