I was excited to learn that Chris Christie has had lap band surgery to assist in weight loss. I have dropped the respectful moniker of “Governor,” not out of disrespect, but because this is about Chris, not the Governor. As I write this, I am in month 17 of my own obesity conquest. It ain’t easy. I’m 50 pounds lighter and working every day to stay the course. My path was different, juicing and eating a lot of fresh foods, but it was the same impulse that drove me.
Chris says he did this for his wife and kids. I believe him. He hit the big 5-0. When you get to this point in life you realize, as John Mellencamp said, there are less days in front of the horse than riding in the back of the cart.
While not a single day of the future is guaranteed, one can estimate the amount of time one has left on God’s good Earth. At 50, that number hovers at about twenty or thirty years. In that time, our kids will graduate from high school and college. They will have weddings and birthdays and school plays and sporting events and many evenings at home in the backyard. This is what life is really all about. Obesity cuts many years off of that estimate and threatens to rob you and your loved ones of those moments. Last year at 45, I envisioned my girls getting married and someone else being beside them as they took that walk down the aisle. I am sure Chris had the same vision.
I pictured my son graduating college and raising a toast to dear ol’ Dad, wish he was here. Chris has made a tough decision that will maximize his chances of being there for all the big things and the little things too. I’m sure the late night comedy circuit will be relentless and the news-cycle talking heads will conduct a weight-to-popularity analysis. It is all just noise. Chris has made a decision that will make every aspect of his life better.
And look out! Something happens when you shed the pounds. You have energy you haven’t had since you were in your twenties. Your mind is clearer. Your enthusiasm for life explodes. You become physically and mentally more capable. So lets add back in the title. Governor Chris Christie. Now, you take a guy like me, have him drop 50 pounds and that puts me somewhere perhaps above the average joe in terms of drive and focus. You take a guy like Chris and give him success in the weigh loss battle, and that puts him somewhere above, well, Chris Christie. That’s right, though there will be less of him, he will be more. Take the Governor we all know now, and give him more energy and more focus. Scary thought for the opposition, huh?! The indefatigable Chris Christie has worn down opponents with his relentless efforts to drive his agenda. Imagine him with more energy for the fight; more clarity in the message. You can see the opposition with a look on their face like that of Apollo Creed when he had to answer the bell in the final round of Rocky II. Ugh, this guy is still coming and now he is stronger.
I wish the Governor great success in the struggle. At the end of it all, I hope he is sitting some day, somewhere, with a grandchild on his knee, looking back on his decision and knowing that he did the right thing for Chris and the family. Perhaps after the opening of the Presidential Library.
Michael Donohue is an attorney, former legislative candidate and current chairman of the Cape May County GOP.