This pigout table is typical of the Christmas party food that poor, overfed Jim Harris was exposed to repeatedly in the weeks before Christmas. This is why he had to be subjected to a radical new weight-loss plan that may catch on in Obese America. (Photo by Len Lear)

No, I’m not hiding a beach ball under my shirt. That bulge you see is the result of “Gorging In Response To the Holidays” (GIRTH), a debilitating disorder that strikes millions of Americans every year, causing them to involuntarily consume massive amounts of holiday snacks and goodies.

For me, the Christmas season is always the most difficult, since I have to attend so many parties. It’s even worse now, as a senior citizen, since I have poor eyesight, lousy hearing and a terrible memory. Everyone looks the same, I can’t remember names, and I can only understand about every third word that’s being said.

So, rather than even attempt to socialize, I find it much easier and more enjoyable to just stuff my mouth with food and nod a lot.

A typical conversation might go like this: “Hey, Jim, I’d like you to meet, mmmmnn, he just got back from mnmnmm, and he’s nzznnzzn.” Me (nodding approvingly): “Mmmmph!”

After a lengthy schedule of Christmas parties, I’ve usually gained so much weight that my clothes no longer fit, and I need help climbing stairs. I avoid scales and full-length mirrors, and all I want to do is sleep. Luckily, I’ve developed a sensible weight-loss program that really works for me. I get my wife to lock me in the garage without food for a week.

Usually, after only a couple of hours in captivity, I start to beg: “Please, listen to me. I KNOW what I said, but I changed my mind. Let me out!” On day two, I try to punch a hole in the garage door: “Let me out now, or you’ll be sorry!” Starting around day three or so, I yell “Help!” repeatedly until I lose my voice. It’s a whole process.

Eventually, I start to eat things I find on the shelves — rock salt, birdseed, motor oil, whatever. That’s usually when my wife lets me out, a little worse for wear, but well oiled, 20 pounds lighter and ready for the next round of GIRTH.

People often ask me why I don’t just exercise to take off the weight, but to me that would be almost as boring and unpleasant as being a saint (which I’m not), and I figure that if you’re going to be miserable, there are much easier ways of doing it (like being locked in a garage, for example).

I once read about a study which concluded that just thinking about exercise had an actual physical effect on people, so I tried it, and they were right – it made me feel very tired – but still I didn’t lose any weight.

According to sociologists, in the future holiday celebrations will consist entirely of people texting each other (“mrry xmas–xoxo”), instant messaging, tweeting and video-conferencing. No one will ever actually meet face-to-face, and all of that communal holiday gorging will be a thing of the past.

Until that time, though, we’ll just have to suffer through all the ritual feasting just like humans have done since the Stone Age. Good luck with that, and a note of caution: before trying the “Seven-days-in-a-garage” or any other diet, ask your health provider or life coach if it’s right for you.