So, apparently I’m fat Chris. I don’t even mean amongst the group of people I know. This isn’t a nickname to help distinguish me from the multitudes of other Chrises who were all born in the ’80s apparently (seriously, if you were born in the ’80s and grew up in the ’90s and ’00s, chances you are know like a thousand Chrises; we’re fucking everywhere). No, being fat Chris is distinguishing me from the multitudes of different versions of me throughout the multi-verse. Seriously, there are an infinite number of me from all different universes with slightly different histories around them, and I am literally the only one who’s fat. Fuck my life.
I found this out from physicist Chris. Yes, apparently in one alternate history from an alternate universe, I become a physicist who solves the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics. There’s also engineer Chris who met physicist Chris and they worked together to build a machine that somehow transcends time and space and allows them to travel between versions of the universe. I keep asking them how it works, but they keep insisting I won’t get it. They’re not even trying to explain it to me and giving an advisory at the start that this is going to be difficult for me to understand. They just flat out shrug and tell me I won’t get it. Really snarky and condescending like too. I have to wonder if this is how I come off when someone doesn’t know how to make a verb and a noun agree in proper English.
“So, ok, you won’t tell me how this works,” I say. “Tell me this, at least, why travel through alternate realities to meet different versions of yourself. Or, myself, I guess.”
You would think with this line of questioning I would be journalist Chris. After all, I have had a pretty decent career as a freelance writer for a few local magazines on top of my public relations job at a not for profit. But, journalist Chris is apparently a Pulitzer Prize winner who became famous for exposing a few political fundraising scandals. I’m not even public relations Chris. He runs a multi-million dollar firm that represents a lot of major political players and earned an reputation as being the master of burial after he helped these major political players cover up their fundraising scandals. Funny how the multi-verse works. In one reality, I’m exposing the criminals. In another, I’m helping them and making a fortune off of them. Funny indeed.
“Why?” physicist Chris looks at me. “Why do we do most things in science? Downright curiosity. I mean, what better way to experiment with a discovery like this than to basically look at yourself and see what you could have become?”
Engineer Chris and physicist Chris are tinkering with the machine that opens the passageway between the dimensions. The machine kind of looks like a mix between a car battery with a laptop plugged into it and what would have happened if Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor had a baby with a microwave. They argue back and forth a little about readings and measurements before the portal opens up again and another Chris walks through into my world. Well, into my garage, but it’s the garage that’s in my world. And this is like the twelfth Chris they brought into my garage in my world. I don’t know why engineer Chris and physicist Chris chose my garage as the multi-universal Chris convention space. But here they were. I’m actually kind of worried about my neighbours having a lot of questions about what’s going on.
This new Chris that has stepped in looks fairly normal. I mean, in comparison to the other Chrises. They all look really good with their shirts tucked into their pants, and you can actually see their belts around their waists, and none of their shirt buttons are pulling and ready to pop off. But each Chris that has stepped through has had something very visibly special about them. There’s no tattoos Chris who was actually able to afford his university education without student loans. There’s Chris who can actually grow a real beard. There’s Chris who was charged with bestiality. There’s receding hairline Chris. There’s military fighter pilot Chris (who just had to come over in his pilot’s uniform, like that’s all that pilots ever wear and they never wear normal clothes). There’s astronaut Chris (that guy came in a space suit solely so that we all knew he was an astronaut). Even physicist Chris and engineer Chris were in lab coats. And yes, out of all the Chrises here, I was the only fat one.
“Which Chris is this?” I ask as the seemingly most normal Chris walks through my garage.
“This is Chris who owned a Kia Soul first,” engineer Chris says. Everyone in my garage must have heard him, because they all gave off a long “ooooooooo” at the idea that somewhere, Chris owned a Kia Soul before my wife Gillian did.
“Yeah, we’re all pretty jealous of Chris who owned a Kia Soul first,” physicist Chris says.
“Wait, so in every version of our existence that you encountered so far, we’re all still married to Gill?” I ask.
“So far, yes,” physicist Chris says. “It’s like the one constant we’ve been experiencing throughout this experiment.”
“And Gillian has owned a Kia Soul before we have in every instance,” I point to the newest Chris in the garage, “except this one?”
“Pretty much,” engineer Chris nods.
“And she reminds all of you that she owned a Kia Soul before you?” I ask to the audience of Chrises.
They all nod in unison.
“Well, do you pick on Gillian because you owned a Soul first then?” I ask the only Chris this would be relevant to.
“I mean,” he smiles and blushes a little bit. “You know, relationships shouldn’t be a competition. But let’s be real. Sometimes relationships are straight up competitions.”
All the Chrises start nodding and muttering small agreements.
“Have there been any universes where Gillian and I, or us I guess, don’t really work out?” I ask.
“Kind of,” physicist Chris says. “There are quite a number of dysfunctional marriage Chrises. Usually a substance abuse problem on our end. Booze, meth, cannibal pig swill.”
“What’s cannibal pig swill?” I ask.
“If you don’t know,” engineer Chris chimes in. “You don’t want to know.
“We should get this meet and greet moving,” physicist Chris stands up and walks to the middle of the garage. “Everyone, in case you haven’t figured it out. This,” he points at me. “Is fat Chris.”
“I kind of resent that,” I snap back. “I mean, fat Chris? It’s not like my entire physical being is made up of lipids.”
“Shut up Chris!” physicist Chris chuckles a little bit. “You know what I mean. Even Chris who is entirely made up of lipids isn’t as fat as you are.”
I look down and see a gelatinous mass wearing thick rimmed glasses and with facial hair I could only guess is trying make a chin strap beard. He waves an appendage at me, I could only guess it was supposed to be an arm, and he calls out a cartoonish, “Hellooooo.” I don’t know how I missed that one coming into my garage.
It’s this moment I realize physicist Chris is kind of a dick. I mean, a pretty big dick actually. I decide he’s the Chris I hate the most. He made me face the fact that in all of the universes that could possibly exist, I am the only fat version of me. That’s hard to accept. Especially because I’ve been a big guy all of my life. I’d been bullied for my size by anyone who saw an open shot to take at me. And now that I’m a somewhat functioning adult who shouldn’t have to deal with this shit anymore, he’s making sure I keep dealing with it. Maybe physicist Chris was fat all his life too and he somehow found the time to start working out more and eating better while working toward his PhD. And maybe physicist Chris is still a little insecure about the fact he was fat and now that he sees me, the Chris who is still fat, he feels like if he doesn’t take those open shots, then he has to deal with being fat again too. Maybe that’s what all of these Chrises are dealing with.
The Chris I hate the second most is Chris who owned a Kia Soul first. Fuck that guy.
“You know what, fuck it,” I say. “I dig being fat Chris. I’m owning that shit. Every one you mother fuckers are just skinny Chrises with different jobs or odd criminal records. I’m the multi-verse’s only fat Chris and if I wasn’t here, all the Chrises would just be skinny Chrises. So fuck you, I’m fat Chris.”
“OK, Chris,” physicist Chris sighs. “Whatever helps you rationalize that bag of Doritos you’ve been working on since we got here.”
I start sucking the powdered cheese off my fingers as I tell all the Chrises that the tour of my garage is over. The mass of Chrises all start moving towards the inter-dimensional doorway. While I watch them leave, I feel a tug at my leg. I look down to see Chris who is entirely made of lipids looking up at me and smiling.
“Way to tell those jerks off,” he says in his inexplicably cartoonish voice. “You show those skinny motherfuckers who’s boss. Now, you gonna hook me up with some of them Doritos?”
I start dropping chips down into his mouth and decide of all the Chrises I’ve met, I like this Chris best.
“Hey dude,” I say. “You want to hang around for a bit? There’s a pretty killer taco place not too far from here we can check out.”
Chris who’s made entirely of lipids smiles even bigger as he chews his Doritos. “Fuck yeah, bro. Let’s hit it up.”