05/05/2011 06:40 pm ET | Updated Jul 05, 2011

Dinner for Two, For One

My late great Uncle Frank once walked into a Chinese restaurant (alone) and ordered dinner for two.

"Shall we wait for your other party?" the waiter asked.

Uncle Frank patted his ample belly.

"This is the other party," he replied.

The waiter brought him two egg rolls, two soups, two chow meins, two pots of tea and two fortune cookies. Uncle Frank put it all away. There may even have been a double-dessert, but this is a matter of dispute among family historians.

"You should have seen those waiters," Uncle Frank would fondly recall. "Crowding around that little round window on the door to the kitchen, watching me eat dinner for two."

Uncle Frank was a wonderful guy, a one-man parade whose many loved ones frequently warned him about the danger of his passion for food. He wouldn't listen. He used to say that before he died, he wanted to be able to say he'd eaten everything. (Editor's note: he did.)

I'm reminded of my Uncle Frank now because I stood on my bathroom scale the other morning and the needle hit the 200 pound mark.

Two hundred pounds. Un-frigging-believable.

I used to run marathons. When I go running now, everybody passes me. I'm talking people in wheelchairs.

For decades I was always one of the skinniest males at Carillo family gatherings (granted, not much of an accomplishment when you're hanging with Italians).

But now, just like that, I'm in the belt-below-the belly club. Next stop, man-boobs.

One of two things happen to Italian-American males as they get older -- they either become slender and sinister, or fat and jolly.

Slender and sinister: think of Tessio in The Godfather, beetle-browed and suspicious of everything that breathes.

Fat and jolly: that's Tessio's fellow caporegime, Clemenza, dancing in circles and drinking wine straight from the pitcher at that wedding.

Being fat is bad enough, but being jolly is absolutely out of the question.

So I'll eat carrot sticks and kick up the bran intake for a while, just to nudge that needle under the 200 pound mark.

It may work and it may not. See, there's this Chinese restaurant that just opened around the corner from me, and they have this introductory two-for-one special.

Somewhere, my Uncle Frank is laughing.

Charlie Carillo's latest novel is One Hit Wonder. His website is He's a producer for the TV show Inside Edition.