Look: I’ve made plenty of fat jokes at Rex Ryan’s expense. Scores of them.
But I’m not going to beat the guy up for what happened Tuesday night, when he accidentally exposed his gut to the crowd while changing jerseys at a Carolina Hurricanes game, inspiring a New York post news story in the process.
Because it’s not like he pulled up his shirt and did the truffle shuffle for the crowd. Cheerleaders came and brought Rex a new jersey, and I’m guessing he was up on the Jumbotron, under all sorts of pressure to change jerseys immediately, plus he was wearing an undershirt, so he made the switch.
Revealing himself like he did, that’s embarrassing. And unlike devouring tons and tons of food every day, it wasn’t something he was doing consciously. So I just kind of feel bad for the guy.
And in sympathy, I’ll share a story:
I’m no stranger to gut ownership. The size fluctuates depending on the season, how active I’ve been and how much Taco Bell I’ve been eating, but it gets pretty damn impressive at times. Not quite Rex Ryan impressive, but sizy nonetheless.
And it was probably at its largest during my junior year of high school, when my friends first got cars so we first had near-unlimited access to Taco Bell.
That same year, a ski mountain my family used to frequent added something called “tree skiing,” a bizarre and, in retrospect, terrible idea that was exactly what it sounded like; basically they just cleared out the brush from the mountain’s off-slope forest and let people ski among the trees. Awesome.
I was sixteen and so, despite my girth, eager to try all of the dumbest and most dangerous activities available to me, so tree skiing was about the most intriguing thing imaginable.
The place, presumably to minimize lawsuits, didn’t allow skiers to tree-ski from the summit, so you didn’t use the regular chairlift. Instead, you had to take a J-Bar — an antiquated type of lift normally reserved for bunny slopes — which sort of hooks under your ass and shoves you up the mountain while you stand there like a goon.
I’m a decent skier, but I’ve always sucked at negotiating ski lifts. Don’t know why. Maybe I don’t have the patience for it, or I have some sort of mental block.
Regardless, something happened on the J-Bar that day about halfway up the slope. I slipped a little, I guess, and the hook part of the J-Bar — the curl of the J — lost its grip on my ass and started sliding up my back.
Thanks to gravity, I began sliding backwards down the mountain while the J-Bar was still driving forward.
The hook snagged my jacket, pulling me to the ground and somehow yanking my coat, shirt and undershirt up over my head, exposing my pasty gut to the world as it dragged me up the mountain with my bare back against the snow.
And it would be embarrassing enough just knowing that it happened, and that it was happening, and that the person behind me on the J-Bar might see it all go down. But of course, there was a regular chairlift overhead, and so everyone on there was clapping and laughing and having the time of their damn lives.
I’ll fully admit that if I were in their place I’d have been doing exactly the same thing, because fat people falling makes for some of the world’s strongest comedy. It’s basically the driving force behind the movie The Great Outdoors, which is hilarious.
And so I can’t really fault people for laughing at Ryan’s expense. But I’ll say that inadvertent public gut exposure, when yours is the exposed gut, is not fun at all, and so excuse me for taking it easy on Rex just this once.
For the life of me, I can’t remember how I got up from that precarious position. Maybe whatever happened was so scarring and humiliating that I’ve blocked it. It’s a shame, because if it was that terrible, it was probably also something that would be pretty hilarious to remember now.