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My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World Hardcover – February 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Comedian and actor Jeff Garlin is best known for his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Garlin also spent three seasons on NBC's Mad About You in the role of Marvin, and has a variety of television and film appearances to his credit including Dr. Katz, Arrested Development, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Goes to the Mayor, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Daddy Day Care, and WALL-E. He has also had his own HBO half-hour comedy special.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


God bless my wife, she always calms me down. As I’m looking through our mail this morning, she says, “You’re going to see something you’re not going to like.” And I say, “Really? What?” She pauses, gives me a knowing look, and says, “Just use it in your comedy.” I start thumbing through the mail. I have received a catalog from the good people at Living XL. It’s a catalog for fat people who want to stay fat and enjoy themselves. The message is, basically, “Don’t lose weight. No, no, no. All the problems that you normally have with being fat—we’ve got a solution.” How do they know to send me a catalog? Do they have a list of fat celebrities?

I open it up. The first product on offer is a three-wheel bike with a five-hundred-pound capacity. As I look at this contraption, I’m wondering how many five-hundred-pound people are sitting around—well, they are obviously sitting or maybe lying around—but how many of them are sitting around thinking, I so want to go biking. I just don’t have the opportunity. I weigh 450. If only there was a bike that could hold my weight. Then I’d have no excuse.

Next up, fat ponchos. Because we know the regular poncho is so slimming. Has anyone ever put on a poncho and said, “This is not freeing enough?” I guess the only way this thought would cross your mind is if you’re a really fat woman and you’re wearing a muumuu underneath your oversized poncho. Poncho and muumuu, sounds like a new cop show.

The next page features a lawn mower–handle extender. I don’t know what that has to do with being fat. Wait a second; it must be to allow extra room for your stomach! That’s probably it.

Now how about one of those chairs you bring to a kid’s soccer game, except this one’s got an eight-hundred-pound capacity. How many eight-hundred pounders do you see out in society? It must be for a four-hundred pounder, who’s got a four-hundred-pound girlfriend who wants to sit on his lap. How about a 650-pound-capacity sand chair. How many 650-pound people do you see at the beach? Do you ever? No! They’re at home. They can’t leave.

What else? Okay, here’s a hammock with a six-hundred-pound capacity. Now, I don’t care what you weigh, getting on and off a hammock is quite difficult. I don’t care if you weigh 150, hammock mobility is hard for everyone. So you’re six hundred pounds. The odds of you getting on that hammock are so slight. You’re going to be on the ground. You’re six hundred pounds—once you do get on you’re never getting off. So it’s good that it supports your weight, because you’re never getting up again.

Let’s see here, next is the big key computer keyboard. Because Lord knows, your fingers are so fat, a typical computer keyboard’s not going to work for you.

Here’s one with a great name. It’s the Pride XL Mobility Chair. I read the description and learn that when you press a button on the chair, instead of having to get up, the chair lifts you up. And yet they call it the Pride Mobility Chair. I think one of the first things about being a proud person is that you can stand up on your own. I’m not talking about someone in a wheelchair or someone who was in an accident. I’m talking about when you really don’t have a reason for not being able to stand up yourself. They should call it the Embarrassment Mobility Chair. Or the You’ve Hit Rock Bottom Mobility Chair. Or even the You Should Be Ashamed Mobility Chair.

Next up is something you’ve probably seen in commercials. And to me, this is so horrible and wrong . . . it’s the Living XL Wearable Sleeves Blanket. Now, how many times have you covered yourself in a blanket, and then thought, I can’t get up! I can’t maneuver; if only I had sleeves! It’s only a matter of time until you see someone wearing this thing at the grocery store to keep warm while perusing the frozen foods aisle.

My God, they’ve got toilets! All right, here’s one: a toilet seat that’s called the Big John toilet seat. And if you think I’m making this up, I’m not—1,200-pound capacity. Can a 1,200-pound person get up and go to the bathroom, let alone sit down and read? Twelve hundred pounds?! Who’s taking a shit in that house? It’s described as “durable and convenient.” I understand the need for durability on this one, but what makes it more convenient than other toilet seats? Oh, right, it must be for the four-hundred-pound man with the four-hundred-pound girlfriend who wants to sit on his lap as he goes number two—or in this case, number five. The 1,200-pound capacity toilet really takes the worry out of going to the john. Once you get there, there’s no panicking questions like, “Can it hold me?” Oh yes, it can. It most certainly can.

And here’s another bottomed-out contraption, the “Pistol-Grip, No-Bend Toenail Clippers.” Not being able to reach your toes because of the size of your belly—I’m sorry, but that’s a low point. Maybe it’s not the low point. You could be wearing a blanket and clipping your toenails while taking a dump on the Big John. It’s a low point just the same.

But here’s the moment that might be the real bottom for me: I turn the page and look at the model who’s displaying the Cabin Comfort Inflatable Pillow—and who do you think he looks like? That’s right, he looks like me. When you’re going through a fat catalog and making fun of it, and you get to the last page and the model is your twin, that’s your low point. It was embarrassing enough just being sent a copy in the mail, but the fact that I look like a model in Living XL renders me speechless. I just don’t know what to say. He looks just like me! Wow. I’ve always wanted to look like a model, but not one from the Living XL catalog. So this is my bottom. Done! I’m not messing around anymore. I’m like the Captain in WALL-E. If not now, then when? You will see a weight-loss festival like you’ve never imagined.

As I get started on this big bowl of adventure, I wonder why I’m doing it. I guess I look at this book as my impetus. My motivating factor. If writing this book doesn’t make me lose weight and/or go green, what will?

This might be my only book, ever. I wish someone were writing it for me. Actually, I wish someone were losing the weight for me, too. There are times when I’m happy to sell out. Just not when I’m the writer. If I’m truly responsible for something—and you have to be responsible for your own book, your name’s on the cover—I have to make it the best I can. I really hope this book is great. If I do something that’s good, I look at it as a failure. Maybe that’s harsh, but life . . .


When you see a bunch of x’s in a row something happened. Something bad. Bad and self-inflicted. So here’s what happened.

I got distracted. I get distracted a lot. I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). That’s not such a huge deal—in fact, I think almost every comedian I know has ADD. It’s what happens when I get distracted that’s the problem. I just went down to the kitchen and ate a huge bowl of Life cereal.

I just had a big bowl of life. Literally. And therein lies the problem.

Let me explain my eating disorder to give you an idea what I’m up against. You can put me in a room. And in that room you have the best pot in the world, the best coke in the world, the greatest glass of wine of all time, and a two-day-old grocery-store sheet cake. Guess where I’m going? Half of it could be covered in ants. I swear to God. And I’d eat the other half. I am an addict. And let me tell you, of all the addictions that are most unattractive, being a compulsive overeater is number one.

Look, if you do drugs, you’re going to get laid. Smoke pot? Do blow? Drink? You’re having sex. You never hear a woman at a party say, “You see that guy shoving burgers in his mouth? I’m going to fuck the shit out of him. Oh, he is hot. Are those White Castle Slyders he’s eating?”

Also, I have a lot going on right now. I’m supposed to hand in a script for a film that I am slated to direct, and I am nowhere near finished. It’s no wonder I’m fat. I think I can write a book and a script while I’m in production on Curb Your Enthusiasm. By the way, I’m an executive producer and a co-star of that fine production. I figure I should mention that; I never assume that anyone knows who I am. Then again, I guess if you bought this book you probably know who I am and I suppose you like me. If you bought this book and you don’t know who I am, then good for you for taking a chance. If you bought this book and you don’t like me, then hats off to you. You’re the bigger person. Trust me, if I didn’t like you, I would never buy your book.

To stay focused, I’ve decided to keep a diary of my accomplishments, so to speak. So here goes.


I’m standing in the kitchen staring at a box of Lucky Charms. The magical deliciousness overtakes me. I’ll start tomorrow. Although, after I’m done, I’ll recycle the box.


Where did the fresh bagels come from? I’ll start on Monday. Labor Day. It’s better to start on a date I can remember. Who remembers August 29? I’m sorry if that’s your birthday. I didn’t mean to insult you.


No, I’m not starting yet....


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; First Edition edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439150109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439150108
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,215,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ashley Leonard on February 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Garlin has created a truly inspiring piece of work. He shines a light on environmental awareness, as well as self improvement. He demonstrates the process of reaching both goals quite effectively, with just the right amount of Garlin-esque humor along the way. The first chapter will have you chuckling aloud before things even get kicked off. My Footprint is a short read but thoroughly entertaining. Curb fans will laugh as they recall the scenes that My Footprint takes them through. However, it's not a Curb-centered book, therefore Non-Curb fans won't find themselves uninterested in the least. The addict in all of us, whatever the addiction, will identify with Garlin and begin to pull for his success. Garlin will manage to motivate the most unmotivated and amuse you in the process.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jeff Garlin's "My footprint; carrying the weight of the world" had a couple of stories that were pretty funny. But overall I was disappointed in the book. Perhaps it was my own expectation that he'd come to some major epiphany that I could savor for years to come. However, he vaguely touched on weight loss techniques/strategies while he shamelessly promoted his work, name dropped about celebrities he knows, and sold the merit of energy efficiency. I would not recommend this book to someone looking for inspiration; it's more for someone looking for autobiographical information on the comedian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One has to have great empathy for Jeff Garlin's longtime struggle with his weight and health. It clearly defines his life, as he points out in his new book, "My Footprint". I wonder, however, exactly why this book was written.

At the end of the book Garlin suggests that people with similar disorders need an impetus and "My Footprint" is his contribution. That's a noble thought but his book doesn't reflect much of that impetus as largely he seems to continue down the same path of failure. Mostly a narrative with a diary bent, Garlin's book neither picks up much steam along the way nor goes anywhere. He's always suffering. We hear that at the beginning and at the end. It's a loop of angst.

There is a side view of his wanting to be "green" and all the steps he takes to make his own home more liveable to that effect, but that distracts the reader from the author's own weight loss desire. It has almost no bearing on his theme of getting in better shape.

A chapter on his visit to a Pritkin Longevity Center in Miami was the best of the book, but uncharacteristic of the other chapters. I hadn't heard of Jeff Garlin before reading his book but saw him on a tv promotional segment. I guess if you're a fan of his you might connect with "My Footprint" but I found it lacking in much humor for which he seems to be so noted and not very forceful in how to solve those problems which he encounters.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say I really enjoyed this book so much. I expected it to be a yuck-fest (as in laughs, not grossness) along the lines of most comedic memoirs these days, but in this case Jeff really has something to say. I am impressed at how honest he is about his weight struggles, and yet how funny he can still make that struggle seem. I snorted out loud when I read the passage about a naked Jeff breaking a massage table and passing a little gas on the way down, but felt for him at the same time. All in all, a fast read with lots of humor and heart.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing an interview on Dennis Miller's radio program. It was as I said, goofy, "lite". It does detail one man's struggles with coming up with the right strategies for himself to gain control over food. The story takes place some years ago and I thought from the radio interview that he seems to have conquered more territory than was described in the book. But I added it to my collection of weight loss books -although this is one that I wouldn't mind lending out-as often when people borrow books they don't return them. I deplore gratuitous foul language in lieu of having a thesaurus by one's side-or even in one's peripheral vision. Laziness doesn't inspire me.
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Format: Hardcover
I must admit I was not aware of comedian Jeff Garlin. I literally found his book on a ledge on the side of my office building. Someone's loss was my gain.
He was the creator of the concept of the HBO hit Curb Your Enthusiasm. This memoir is written in a diary format where you get to go along Garlin as he battles one of his major additions: food. As he notes unlike other additions that are more glamorous and eventually lead to you sex, be it blow, marijuana, or alcohol food is quite boring. He notes, "you never hear a woman at a party say, `You see that guy shoving burgers in his mouth? I'm going to FuXk the shxt out of him. Oh, he is hot. Are those white castles sliders he's eating?'" This is so true. Being a heavy guy I can relate to his love of food.
Garlin talks about getting right with his health and unlike other books on the subject it is honest, funny, and shows the difficulty of this process.
Garlin's other passion is his commitment the environment and along the way attempts to also lower his carbon footprint. He takes the bus, recycles, and does his part no matter how it makes his life a bit more difficult.
A quick read and humorous tale of one man's odyssey to overcome the inevitable challenge of beating his daily vices, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World by Jeff Garlin is a good read.
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