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These are the Reasons Why David Elmore Smith is my Choice for a Hero

Plenty of us associate heroes with people who have done heroic things that are loudly-publicized, lauded, and lionized by society. They may have done this deliberately to make a living out of these feats or they may have chosen a job that thrusts them into lifesaving roles as in a firefighter or nurse. Others are thrust into heroism in a reluctant fashion because they had no choice and are going through the motions of interview and awards while trying to not let it go to their head. Many feel like imposters and are forever contending with the Imposter Complex. My choice of “a hero” is somewhat of an unusual choice, but it is what I believe.

David Elmore Smith is someone who the trolls and the bullies consider to be a contender in the Loser Olympics because he unfairly fits the stereotype of "a loser" for people who can cower behind a computer screen. He has been morbidly obese most of his life aside from the time when he was able to get himself together to lose over 400 pounds and put at least one pizza restaurant out of business by depriving it of his constant patronage. Then he promptly relapsed and gained every single pound back plus a lot more. The cynical naysayers judged him as someone who threw his second chance away just like someone who was once poor “choosing” to burn their 15 million dollars in lottery winnings on a bunch of frivolous and a non-stop parade of fair-weather friends. But nobody chooses to ruin their lives even if they seem responsible for creating their own problems. It just happens like a room slowly filling with toxic gas. And once it starts it is often difficult to stop digging.

In my weakest moments, David made me feel a little bit better about myself. Despite over 30 years of would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves…I could at least keep in mind that things could be MUCH worse. My own life had managed to move forward and not backwards into the hell I had spent a lifetime trying to escape. David and I have lived our own different versions of hell. For example, I once thrived in a world in which society treated me as a social pariah and a stalker. My awkwardness and clumsy social graces used to be seen as some kind of a threat. For a long time, it just seemed like everything would become worse long before it grew better. The desire to scratch my way out of this quagmire cost over $25,000 in credit card debt. It seemed like publicizing myself and flaunting heroic feats would have helped a little bit to build a life. I just wanted society to stop treating me as a joke and would have sold my soul to Satan himself to make it stop. Even though this is not the same as "bullying" and were involuntary thoughts within the privacy of the mind, I felt ashamed for this and knew it was not helping David.

David is someone I had reached out to years ago on Facebook because of having seen his documentary, “The 650 Pound Virgin” on the TLC network or through YouTube footage. I did not know much about him except for the fact that he was still struggling dearly. Over time, I began to admire him more and more. For one thing, he was engaged to one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever seen in my life. Even though the marriage was doomed, it made me think there was always hope even for the most damaged individuals. The point is that David had no intention of giving up on pursuing a life worth admiring. Like David…I had also found my way into the lives of ladies that were not for me. After taking two of them to meet my family, my mother and father promptly said in so many words, “Who or whathave you just brought home, Jesse?!” David and I did not have much in common. And yet…we surely did!

The most ridiculous and unfair thing I have heard about David is that his morbid obesity is self-inflicted or that he is just doing this for attention. Nobody gains four hundred pounds on purpose or wants to be housebound without a career. Nobody deliberately tries to be a burden to themselves and their loved ones. People just do not understand why I chose David a role model and I once heard through word of mouth from someone that their family member had asked, “Is Jesse still obsessed with that fat guy?” Those who are heroes in the media may have deviant lives as was the case with Bill Cosby or they may have enough money to pay for all the services in the world to augment the illusion of perfection!

I believe in omens and a higher power. Something propelled me to contact the Dr. Phil Show on David’s behalf in January 2020. If I had hemmed and hawed for another month-and-a-half it would have been too late, if you know what I mean! I contacted the show mostly as a joke simply because my ideas very seldom work out especially if they are as lofty as proposing a segment to what is arguably the most popular daytime talk show. But somehow everything fell into place and happened fast. It was not all about me, but it was still quite amazing to have that experience traveling to Los Angeles and being on national television for 58 seconds. I had one less would-have, should-have, and could-have in my life due to always dwelling on “what if” in the event that I waited until it was too late. The best part of that experience was when David yelled, “JESSE!!” as I walked up to greet him and we embraced.

Life was not all smooth sailing for David even after he received the resources from the Dr. Phil Show. One of the many horrific things that happened during 2020 was that David ended up in a coma due to kidney troubles that spiraled out of control. His body was polluted by toxins as the antibiotics did their job to dissolve the poison. But even this was not enough to undo the damage as he lay in a coma with a ventilator for a long time. Even his recovery produced more destruction as a horrific bedsore developed on his backside. Now he is slowly recovering from this wound. It is getting better…not worse. Little by little…David is coming back.

For those who have never contended with the demon of addiction…they should just shut their ignorant mouths. David has been stricken with the King of all Addictions…food! You do not have to be 21 to start on the downward spiral. Even with heroin addicts, there may be some hesitation or control based on the consequences. There are no legal consequences for abusing food. One or two or a thousand binges will not be their last. Unlike experimenting with drugs that may be spiked, one is not playing Russian Roulette every time food is abused because it may take decades to kill them. Food is always accessible and forever a temptation lurking around the corner at any supermarket. It is also an addiction that is dirt cheap compared to the likes of crack cocaine. Food and sugary soft drinks are always there when the rest of the world and the free will of humanity is not reciprocating. I gave David credit that he was doing the best he could and would come back to us someday. This time he would be prepared to face the mental demons that led to the dramatic relapse the first time. He would know that things would not be perfect when the weight is gone, but it will be a much better extreme than the morbid obesity.

David is my hero because winning once can just be a fluke. Winning twice proves you are the champion. My new nickname for him is the Phoenix of Arizona. He will rise from the ashes and is already doing so in steady increments. Most important, he embraced me with from friendship from Day One. That is surely enough for me!

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