Taylor has become Buddhalike in his acceptance of his size. "I don't think of myself as fat, the rest of the world's too thin." And since he keeps an active schedule, he refuses to believe that his weight is a handicap. "Being big doesn't run my life. And besides, I've got a new theory. If I lose weight I might become sterile." Mysterious fears lurk in the oversize heart.
Taylor finished his second piece of lemon pie. I pulled out my Pepto-Bismol like a fraternity boy handling a flask at a football game. But Taylor was genuinely concerned that he hadn't eaten enough to make a good interview. At Lynne's urging, he finally admitted that they'd stopped at a McDonald's on the way to my motel. "I just couldn't wait until eight o'clock for dinner," he confessed.
Although Chris Taylor was joyously, proudly fat, he seemed to lack some essential quality in my search for the ultimate fat athlete. I still sought the nadir of lard. And so I stood in the lobby of New York's Roosevelt Hotel looking for a fat Detroit Tiger. He was wearing glasses and paging through the morning papers, which rested comfortably on his paunch. Mickey Lolich, 22-game winner in 1972. We went to a coffee shop near the hotel for breakfast. It was full of secretaries and water-cooler cowboys pouring coffee and juice into their boilers. Someone was playing, at high volume, recordings of exploding crockery to set the pace for the day. I struggled into the booth, a masterpiece of Gestapo engineering, my gut pouring over the edge of the Formica. Lolich was less than dainty. It looked as though we were trying to break the table along its midline, there was so much pressure on it. Biggies often emerge from the obstacle course of the American coffee shop with what we professionals call "fat narcosis" or "big bends." The waitress threw menus at us from a distance. Time to feed the Planet of the Apes. She returned hours later to take our orders, a fat white pencil sticking out of her wig.
Mickey Lolich and the waitress then engaged in a time-honored American custom, an existential debate on the order of the universe.
ML: I'll have everything on the right-hand page.
ML: O.K., I'd like a cheese and jelly omelet with four eggs, toast and lots of coffee.
W: Did ya want the jelly inside the omelet or on the side?
ML: Do you think you could get them to put it inside?
W: Maybe, but it'll cost ya. About a buck extra. It's better if I just bring you some extra packages of jelly on a plate. That way they think it's for your toast. So you just want a cheese omelet.