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Greek-American Stories: Gains and Losses

John’s wife’s birthday, held at the hotel where Kipreos worked, was the topic of conversation. Our five guys were at their usual places in Dixon’s, discussing the delicious spinach pitas and chicken wraps Penelopi brought to the buffet. “Those spinach pitas were the best!” said Kipreos. “The chef at the hotel admitted he couldn’t make better.” John thanked him, happily. He said, “I’m glad you all came and made the day real special for Penelopi.” Dimos said, “she must have been tired out with all that cooking, John. She shouldn’t have worked so much on her own birthday.” Waving his hands, John assured him that she enjoyed the preparations. “She loved doing it! She, especially, was very pleased when nothing was left over.”

George snapped, “nothing was left over because Yiannis kept going to the buffet table and filling his plate often!” Yiannis, busy on his second donut, looked up. “I didn’t eat so much!” Annoyed, George said, “Not so much? I watched you go to the table at least three times. Weren’t you embarrassed going to the buffet so many times?” Still unperturbed, Yiannis replied, “not a bit! I told the waiter it was for Areti.” Concerned, Dimos, reminded him, “I know dieting is hard to do but eating so much isn’t good for your health, Yiannis.” Pausing, Yiannis agreed. “You’re right! But, well, some things are harder to do. I heard about this new diet. You eat whatever you want, as much as you want.” They all looked across at him, confused. John shrugged, “what’s the point?” Laying down his third donut, Yiannis told them, “you don’t lose any weight but it wasn’t hard sticking to it.”

Shaking his head, George told him, “you’d have no trouble with weight if you worked. Or, at least did some exercises.” Still unenthused, Yiannis informed him that he did a lot of push-ups each morning after Areti went off to work. “Push-ups? Really?” asked John, impressed. Yiannis nodded, explaining, “yes, every morning. It may sound like a lot, but you can get pretty exhausted hitting the snooze button on the clock every few minutes. ”

Dimos reminded him, “Dr. Arostakis gave you a slimming exercise chart, I remember.” John agreed. “That’s right! I remember him handing you a chart with a lot of sketches of various exercises. You told us you were doing them, I recall.” Kipreos added, “you should be able, at least, to touch your toes by now.” Shrugging, Yiannis gave that a long thought. Then, shrugging, said, “after a few days, I still couldn’t touch them. But…” he sipped his coffee in thought. “I was beginning to see them.”

George, losing patience, said, “as your friends, we care about you. You’ve got to do something. Remember that Sunday when we all planned to go for a long walk before coming here?” “That’s right!” recalled Dimos. “We looked around for you but you didn’t show up here for coffee.” John stifled a laugh. “George said you probably went for a big breakfast somewhere.” That rattled Yiannis a wee bit. He said, firmly. “I expect George to say something like that. Well, I didn’t! There was a problem.” “WHAT?” they asked in unison. He shrugged. “I got lost!”

Kipreos, wondering what Yiannis did with all the diagrammed charts, pills, diet lists, and sheets of advice from Dr. Arostakis and the stretching machine he was given by Dimos on his birthday, asked him, “Yiannis, you have enough stuff to open up your own weight control place. You might even make money”, he added, watching Yiannis’ head lift up at the word. “What good is all that stuff to you?” Yiannis smiled. “I’m ahead of you all.  I made good with all that stuff – my way!”

All heads lifted. Pushing away his empty cup and dish, he told them “my neighbor said he had gained a lot of weight. I thought… not all gains are bad. I sold all the stuff to my neighbor and…” leaning back with a broad smile, said,” I gained a neat profit.”

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