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When losing is winning

By Stephen Hagan - posted Wednesday, 30 January 2008

African American comedian Bill Cosby once said “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody”.

Christmas is a time for most Australians to meet up with family and friends to celebrate the festive season and to recount the year that was and reflect momentarily on those who no longer grace us with their presence.

It’s always great catching up with acquaintances that you may not have seen since the last Christmas gathering or to see a lost family member who has put in a surprise appearance after a break of several long years.


This special time of the year is indeed a joyous occasion to let your hair down with welcome faces around the dining room table over a meal or backyard barbeque with a drink: away from the hassles of personal and/or work related calamities spending a precious couple of days or weeks together.

After a very hectic year of jetting around the country attending functions and delivering keynote addresses - as well as collecting a couple of awards for my documentary on the way - I had time to show visiting family members some of the more memorable moments of the year that was through photographs and film runs.

Disappointingly for me I also had a few unwanted surprises in the form of a few extra kilos in weight gain - revealed in all its incriminating rawness in the scrap book and on the TV monitor.

Strange how these pesky little kilos tend to creep up on you throughout the year without you consciously knowing they’ve arrived.

When I say consciously - well I guess I knew they had jumped on board but lived in denial continually telling myself that they’ll only stay a while and then leave.

It probably would have helped if I had routinely climbed onto the bathroom scales which would have revealed the extent of my over-indulgence throughout the year - instead of treating them as if they were a hazard to be avoided at all costs.


Another sure give away sign of weight accumulation that I ignored is clothes that became more challenging and embarrassingly difficult to fit for me as the year progressed. And true to form I chose to disregard difficult fits as merely washing machine shrinkage and sought out larger size clothes (XL to XXL) that I stored in my walk-in-robe for awkward occasions such as these.

And still, without attempting to lose weight, I smiled those pearly whites whenever the camera was pointed in my direction at functions around the nation and crossed my fingers that the published image would not paint me in an unflattering light.

They say children are the best barometer, painfully honest and potentially cruel at times, in remarking on what appears before them. And my nieces and nephews were no exception to that old saying because that’s exactly how it panned out when unfavourable comments by them about my double chin in the documentary footage and bloated looks in one too many press release shots were offered up for all to hear.

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About the Author

Stephen Hagan is Editor of the National Indigenous Times, award winning author, film maker and 2006 NAIDOC Person of the Year.

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