By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Well, sure. In many cases. But consider a person like Heide. By any measure, she's overweight. But she has a kind, generous soul and is cheerful to a fault, even if she has every reason to be bitter. But as we explained to her, somewhat reluctantly, that we needed someone to make Good look really fat, she was full of ideas. Later, she explained that she used to be a child dancer—at Disneyland. At 19, she suffered a horrible fall that broke her hip. That led to chronic hip trouble. It severely affected her mobility, and, over time, the pounds have accumulated.
"If you've never been fat, you just can't understand what it's like," she said, dabbing at Good's fingers in her Anaheim kitchen to make them look like sausages. "And if you were never fat before and then all of a sudden become fat . . . it's something no one would ever choose to be."
A protein spill is the code among Disneyland's "cast members" that a child's vomit needs to be mopped up.
HAIL, FELLOW WELL-FED
We've heard that most of the rides at Disneyland can accommodate just about the fattest of fat asses. But we might have a problem with the ones in Fantasyland. So here we are, outside Pinocchio's Daring Journey. It takes about five minutes to get to the front of the line. For the first time in the nearly three hours we've spent here, a Disney employee talks to Good before Good says anything.
"She told me to have a good time on the ride," says Good, who worked at Disneyland for several years. "I realized that until then no employee had initiated contact with me. I had to almost confront them into going into their show, which is the fake, pretend, you're-happy thing that Disney drills into you. It's like most of them wanted nothing to do with me. They all waited for me to say something; if they didn't, no one talked. Except her."
She was also the plumpest cast member we saw that day who wasn't in a costume.
DON'T BE A LAYER HATER
With the night winding down, Good decides to check out a relatively new attraction in Tomorrowland: the interactive, high-tech world of Innoventions, which one Internet wag describes as a half-closed Circuit City located in the Twilight Zone. While standing in the five-minute line, Good hears someone humming behind him. It's a kid, somewhat punkishly dressed, and he's making up a song to the piped-in instrumental music.
"He was basically improvising about what a disgusting gross fat guy this person in front of me is," Good says later. "I turned around and saw that both he and his girlfriend were fat-ass motherfuckers. I wanted to rip off my suit and scream at them that they're the fat ones, not me. But I didn't. It would have taken too much effort."
All in all, what Mr. Good and entourage learned is that Disney does nothing to keep fat people from its park. From the plentiful food options to the XXXX shirts sold at most kiosks, fat people are embraced as any other segment of the population. But it's what isn't said that made the mental experience of wearing a fat suit at Disneyland more harrowing than the physical exhaustion and near heat stroke.
"It was a horrible experience for me," Good says later. "It was hot and it was tiring and it was a lot of work just moving around. But it was even worse mentally. When you're normal-sized, people bump into you all the time. It just happens. But being that big, no one wanted to touch me. No one even wanted to look at me. From the minute I walked in there, I started feeling fat. It really got into my head. The employees were nice enough if I started conversations with them, but when I walked away I could feel their stares. And I could always hear people talking shit behind me. To my face they wouldn't do anything. But once I passed, they'd start. It was really kind of horrible."
The only people who treated Good like a fellow passenger on this train called Earth? "Other fat people. They'd all look at me like, 'Hey, what's up, buddy?' Like we're in the same clan or something. That was weird. I think they must be used to how other people look and treat them. I wasn't."
Good is as convinced as ever that he'll never become that huge. "Personally, I'm never going to be fat." And while he says he hasn't changed his opinion of the really overweight—"I still kind of hate them because they're grossly fat"—he has changed his opinion of people like himself. "I don't like the way people treated me, or the way they treat fat people," he says. "I guess it's cool to hate all you want. But it ain't cool to show you hate."