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Fat Albert - In God's Image
Doug Vinson

"See Fat Albert, the world's fattest man," blared the pre-recorded sales pitch. "He is real and he is alive and he weighs 870 pounds!"

As I stood outside that circus sideshow in the South, part of me asked why I should pay to see a person displayed like an animal. Besides, I reasoned, sideshows are all fake.

But the same morbid inquisitiveness that draws a person to the scene of an accident or crime drew me to the ticket booth and finally inside

I walked up the platform's well-worn steps half-expecting "Fat Albert" to be a stuffed doll or some other deception. I was truly surprised as I peered behind the three-side partition and saw an enormous man sitting on a small seat.

"How you doing'?" he asked.

"Er, ah just fine, thank you." An awkward moment of silence passed, then we started to chat since no on else was around.

Fat Albert said he was born in a small town in Mississippi. A genetic defect caused him to accumulate his abnormal weight and yes, indeed, he did weigh 870 pounds.

I stepped to the side as other people came into the booth. They stared and gawked in amazement, Some passed by without saying a word. Others asked questions he must have heard many times before. A few giggled.

He patiently answered their questions and had a ready, humorous reply for the taunts a scoffer hurled.

I was about to leave when one of the teenagers in the group asked him how he felt being the world's fattest man.

"Well, we're all made in God's image, aren't we?" Albert said. "And we all come in different shapes and sizes. God made me the way I am for a purpose and He made you the way you are for a purpose. The Bible says that the body is going to die and the spirit is going to live on, so it is more important how we live than how we look."

As others came in, he described how he became a Christian when he was sixteen. In the process, in a warm, low-key manner, he presented God's plan of salvation. Some stood blankfaced, but more listened politely.

Stepping closer, I noticed a sticker on the wall behind him: "Life is God's Gift - Fight Abortion."

I thought of Fat Albert recently when I noticed a women's magazine which promised articles on happiness, beauty, and a guilt-free abortion.

None offered the true meaning for life - a message about a Creator and creatures in His image that I heard from a humble fat man in a circus booth.

Yes, Fat Albert is real and alive.

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