Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile; I’ve been plagued by serious self-esteem issues. It seems that along with having a weight problem (something I’ve struggled with my entire life), my pounds -- along with those of an American two-thirds majority -- are now a “national security threat.” Well, at least that’s what First lady Michelle Obama says. ("If you want me to vote for your husband, Michelle, that's NOT the way to get on my good side.")
Now, I’m not writing a political blog here … these days, I spend most of my waking hours trying to avoid politics by shutting off the television and unfriending Facebook buddies who post anti-Obama or anti-Romney tirades. I’m sick to death of all this negativity. And now, on top of it all, Michelle is telling everybody and their kids that we're too fat.
Well, duh, of course we are. I think the two-thirds of Americans who are currently overweight have a clue that we are, in fact, overweight. We own mirrors; we try on clothes at Walmart; we join gyms and then not go. Do our elected officials and their wives seriously need to point out our physical failings? Why stop there? Maybe Mrs. Romney can jump on board and tell us that along with being fat, our raging acne, sagging chins and bulging skin tags are causing a national insecurity epidemic. Then again, why shouldn’t politicians harp about our weight … should the media have all the fun? Here’s a new one:
So… according to this article, half of all Americans in several states are going to be obese by 2030 – not overweight – but OBESE (a word that doesn’t get any uglier unless one puts “morbidly” in front of it). My theory is that the problem is only going to get worse because all this constant nagging about our fatness will stress us out and make us want to eat more. Or, worse, we’ll all just give up and decide to party like it’s 1999 because we’re going to drop dead from raging type 2 diabetes and heart disease any second now.
I’m not saying the diseases I’ve mentioned aren’t serious problems – they most certainly are. I’m not mocking these illnesses or the people who have them. I’m mocking those in the media who feel compelled to unnecessarily yammer on about it when this yammering obviously cures nothing. I wish I could see a show of hands from you overweight readers out there who can remember at least one parent harping about your being too fat. How’d that work for you? Did your father joking about your weight inspire you to find some will power and miraculously get skinny? Nagging only reinforces any undesirable behavior; most smart parents know this. So, this “you’re fat you’re fat you’re too fat” mantra coming from our TVs is, I feel, programming Americans to.. well … be fat. The more they nag, the fatter we’ll get. Most of us are, at heart, still rebellious teenagers: “I’ll show you – you think I’m too fat now? I’ll show you what fat is! Just you wait!”
And I, my friends, am a rebel with a cause. It’s bad enough when I have to watch the videos of headless people on CNN while some size-zero bimbo announces a new “why obesity is bad for you” study. (By the way – how is that EVER news? Now if somebody announced that obesity is GOOD for you... that, my friends, would be real news, and news I could use.) It’s tough to be told, over and over, that being fat automatically means we're unhealthy, sexually unattractive, unemployable, a walking liability, weak, lazy, stupid and even immoral. (Of course this is garbage, but because political correctness bans society from criticizing everybody else, the world overcompensates by beating up on us). And while this is tough, I can take it. But I don’t have to take this kind of crap from the airlines. Let me tell you what happened to me last week when I had to fly to D.C. for training.
Now … it had been awhile since I had been on a United Airlines regional jet … aka: “toy plane.” These are not real airplanes; they’re winged torpedoes designed to give the sky-bound that unique “I’m trapped on a submarine and suffocating to death” experience we all secretly crave. On my flight to D.C., I was delighted that I didn’t need the seatbelt extender … but understand that I was probably one Big Mac, one large fry and two Heinz ketchup packets away from needing one. That was disturbing enough. But what really upset me was that my luggage – my tiny carry-on bag – was TOO FAT for the overhead. When did those compartments get so small? My purse would barely fit in there. I bought the bag because the salesperson promised me the thing would fit under any seat or in any overhead and, uh, it did no such thing. And, because I’m fighting with this bag in the middle of this microscopic aisle with other full-sized humans, I can’t lean over without knowing my back-end is in somebody else’s face. (“I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to point this thing at you, I swear.") Finally, I gave up and checked it (the bag, not my rear, although that would have been a nice option), thinking, “Flying shouldn’t be this hard.” I felt bad for my carry-on, though. I know I’m too fat, but it’s hard when the world taunts me about my stuff being obese as well.
And yet, this tale gets worse.
It's a few days later, and I’m flying home from my trip. I get to travel on yet another regional jet. (I really need to talk to my boss about attending training classes on the west coast; at least then I’d get to fly in an actual airplane once in awhile.) I checked my bag ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to subject it to more humiliation. I sat down in 10D and was arranging myself when the young lady in 10C asked me if I would switch with her fiancé, Jason, who was sitting up in the first row. They wanted to sit together. Awww. So ... because I’m both sentimental and stupid, I agreed. I changed seats with the happy bridegroom-to-be and realized too late that the bulkhead seats have no moveable armrests. I squeezed myself in; it was tight, but I made it. And, by some miracle, I didn’t need the seatbelt extender. I sat back and readied myself to suffer through yet one more miserable short flight when the flight attendant made this disturbing announcement:
“We have a couple empty seats in the back, and our pilot has informed us that two of you in the first two rows will have to move back to those seats so that we have proper weight and balance.”
I’ll give you a moment to absorb this.
Now … I want to assure you that I did NOT take this personally. Not at all. As I processed this information, my inner dialogue went something like:
“WHAT? Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me? Now I’m too fat to sit at the front of the plane? What does this thing weigh? How many TONS does this aircraft weigh? And I’m going to upset its delicate balance? Me? I know I’m not Princess Kate, but c’mon, I’m not starring on the Discovery Channel either. And I only moved so that Mr. Oh-So-Happy could sit next to Miss Oh-So-Happy and this is my freaking reward? Well, forget it; I already moved once, I’m not doing it! I’m not going! If you want to get me out of this seat, you’re gonna need a court order and a crowbar!”
Fortunately, the guy sitting next to me must have been reading my mind (I sure hope I didn’t say any of that out loud) and cheerfully volunteered to move back, as did somebody sitting behind me.
So, there you have it … we’re all getting fatter, and the airlines are getting meaner about it. I've included a link that I like … I could relate to the photo of the woman in this one. I know she knows my pain. Fat chance the airlines do.
I’d go on, but I’m depressed and need to go find a cupcake.
P.S. I'm seriously re-thinking trains. They have cabooses; I'll bet they'd understand what it's like to drag one around.