The fitness center locker room at the YMCA used to have one of those traditional medical grade mechanical scales, the type with chrome plated weights that slide along two bars. This scale was an obsession of many guys.
As one would expect, many of the overweight fellows stepped onto the scale. Next they groaned about that “lying scale”. Day in and day out, guys weighed themselves and jokingly scolded the “lying scale”.
One morning, the janitor brought in a couple of heavy dumbells to demonstrate that the scale was really truthful. A group of us gathered around the “lying scale” to see how inaccurate the device was. It turned out that the scale actually had a slight inaccuracy. The scale showed a weight of half-a-pound lighter than it should have. Another pair of weights was tried. The same thing happened, the indicated weight was less than it should have been.
The demonstration did nothing to help the scale’s reputation. Guys still groused about that “lying scale”. Sadly, it was eventually replaced by a dubious high-tech digital scale that supposedly calculates body mass index (bmi). The new scale is complicated, so fewer folks use it. The old low-tech scale is sorely missed because of its simplicity and speed. Plus, the old scale didn’t need batteries.
The old scale had been in service for over 30-years and had taken more than its share of verbal and physical abuse. It’s amazing that it was only inaccurate by eight ounces. The new scale is less convenient and more prone to damage, because it uses a computer chip and there are many plastic parts on it. It’s also very inaccurate. Now, when guys complain about that “lying scale”, they really mean it.
Even though my skinny, underweight days of youth have long passed, I never did get into the habit of weighing myself. Aside from using that “lying scale” once a month or so at the gym, the weigh-in during my physicals at the doctor’s office suffices.
A few years ago, a friend gave me a fancy digital scale for the bathroom. I only used it a few times, otherwise it literally gathered dust and needed to be swept off whenever I cleaned the floor. After completely neglecting it for three or four years, I stepped on it to see if it still worked. It didn’t. The “lifetime” wafer battery was dead. I replaced the battery, but the readout only showed garbled symbols. After several attempts to reset the scale, it still failed to work. That day, it went to the recyclers.
Last February I bought a second-hand mechanical bathroom scale at the Goodwill Store. It has a large clocklike face with a pointer that indicates the weight. It’s really cool because it was manufactured in Ireland. I don’t use it very often, though.
Events are conspiring to change my scale-neglecting ways. As I mentioned yesterday, I have made New Year’s resolutions regarding weight loss and dietary modifications. I’m going to need to dust off my Irish scale and note the result.
Today is National Weigh-In Day. Today is when the resolutions become real. The scale will help me be accountable to my intentions.
The Blue Jay of Happiness notes that the blue whale is the heaviest and largest creature ever to live on Earth. They are even larger than the biggest dinosaurs. The heaviest whale ever measured was a female blue whale that tipped the scales at 171,000 kilograms. (376,990 lbs or 188 tons)