“They're going to want to know,” said Monkey. He loves the idea of the book, and he's always thinking about the audience.
"I don't want it to be about the scale and the measuring tape,” I said firmly. “You care about that kind of thing too much already. You'll obsess about it, and the first time the measurements are bad you'll throw a tantrum and eat a pastry shop.”
Monkey looked at me with pained dignity, as if he would never dream of eating a pastry. “You're the one who's so gung-ho on measurement,” he said. “'How do you know without measurement?' You're always saying things like that. 'Anything that is, can be measured somehow.' If you don't measure it, how are you going to be able to say it worked?”
“It worked,” I answered, “if I change what I eat. The size of my body will take care of itself.”
Monkey grimaced and squirmed in his seat. “This is a case study,” he said. “Good information. That's what you always say. You want good information.”
“Look,” I said severely, though I was weakening. “If we make it about the measurements, it will be temporary. It will have an end-date. It will be a diet. Something we go on and go off. And then eventually we'll go off, and you'll go wild, you know you will. And then there won't be any changes and there won't be any book. That's why we're not doing it that way.”
“All right, all right,” said Monkey. “Have it your way.” He picked up the measuring tape and started coiling it backwards, like the ribbon in an old tape recorder: he's always fidgeting with something.
“I wonder,” he added, after a moment, looking off into space, “just how big you are around the waist? Man, you've ballooned, what with selling the house and all.”
“Very subtle,” I said. “Oh, give me that thing!”
I measured myself. 48 inches around the waist. Wow. “I don't think I've ever been that big.”
Monkey was delighted. “That's four feet! Isn't it? Four feet? Two thirds of your height!”
“It's not as if I'm spherical,” I said, grumpily. “That's circumference. My diameter is only, um... fifteen inches. Sixteen. Something like that. 48 over pi.”
“Four feet! Wow!”