I pick on Americans a great deal because of their obesity (which is completely justified, because millions of you are indeed fat sows). But while I may have been skinny by the time I was 14, up until then I was, to say the least, plumpish. My parents used to tell me it was puppy fat, but I know now it was lack of exercise and a stodgy Jewish diet, quite the lethal combination if you mix them with an extremely slow metabolism.
“Fat Bastard” was the only nickname I ever had at school, and for years I believed it. Now however, when I look at the twits who were doing the name calling way back in the 1970s, the tables have turned. Now I’m thin and fit and they have as many chins as there are Supreme Court justices and have waists so large that their tailors need to use algebra to measure them. The fact is, Americans are disgustingly, sickeningly obese. It’s the biggest public health problem in this country. The absurd thing is that most of the fatties I talk to have no idea where all their unwanted flab came from.
Really! They blame a “thyroid problem.” Bollocks. They insist that they are just “big boned.” Ma’am, brachiosaurs didn’t have bones that big! They insist that obesity just runs in their family and that they can’t do anything about it…while they lower another double bacon cheeseburger into their ravening, bottomless gullets. That’s denial on a scale I didn’t know existed until I came to this country.
Two hundred extra pounds don’t just appear on your belly, ass, hips, thighs and chin overnight. The Fat Fairy doesn’t leave them under your pillow. They get there because you overindulge in crap food and sit on your ass all day watching CSI reruns and posting on Facebook! Americans can’t seem to grasp the concept that being a revolting 500-lb. slob is NOT—I repeat NOT—a disease. It’s a choice. Sure, the food industry fills their boxes and bags of garbage with enough sugar, fat and salt to addict you. Sure, our society encourages us to spend our days driving from place to place and our evenings watching the telly. So what? If you don’t want to be fat, then step away from the fish sticks and Domino’s and pick up an apple or a bag of almonds! Park the car, turn off the idiot box and go for a walk! It’s really not rocket science. But Americans seem to think they are entitled to be fat, hypertensive, diabetic, arthritic and to celebrate this by eating at the Cheesecake Factory every other day.
I remember having dinner with a client not too long ago. When it came time to order dessert, he was flabbergasted that I didn’t want one. “I’ve got no intention of trying to put ten more years on the end of my life by abstaining now!” he said proudly. He weighed about 280, almost 100 pounds over the recommended ideal weight for someone his size. And he was PROUD of his lardishness, as though choosing to kill himself with creme brulee made him an archetypal American renegade who didn’t play by anybody else’s rules. That’s insane. Being grotesquely obese doesn’t make you a rugged individual; it makes you a future cardiac arrest case whose care is likely to be paid for in part by my tax dollars!
What gives the current generation the belief that they have the right to be fat, and that no one else is allowed to criticize them for this—ahem—lifestyle choice? Of course, American culture doesn’t help. Look around you wherever you live: every second shop is probably a food store, a restaurant or a fast food outlet. Sure, you’ll find food everywhere in a city like Paris or Barcelona, but odds are it will mostly be fresh, minimally processed and made with premium ingredients. The swill you find in the Dunkin Donuts and Pizza Huts spreading like a plague across America is industrial waste masquerading as food—lethal packages of empty carbs, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, saturated fat and chemicals that lead to diabetes, heart disease, depression and early death. Since when do millions of lard-asses get to inflict their healthcare costs on the rest of us just because they can’t seem to stop stuffing their mouths full of Twinkies?
How do we become thin again? I don’t know. Lifestyle change is the easy answer, but you have to be motivated to completely change your lifestyle. It’s well known that obesity leads to disease and early death, but that doesn’t seem to be motivating anyone to change anything; we’re just getting fatter. Asian cultures don’t have the answer, either. I live three months of the year in that part of the globe, and they are catching up with Americans fast. It’s not just McDonald’s that’s to blame, either. Unequal distribution of our global resources, bad food supply management, poor education, corporate greed and gluttonous behavior are the issues. People don’t know when to stop, and our economic engine has no incentive to make them stop. Fat people make companies a lot of money.
I may have the answer. It’s time to make obesity as shameful as cigarette smoking in a public place has become in our culture. Enough politeness. Enough political correctness. Let’s treat obesity as what it is: an addiction to food that can be overcome if it has the same stigma as an addiction to heroin. Next time you sit next to a SWAT—a Southwest Airline Two-Seater, someone so fat he takes up two seats—ask him how he got so big. Next time you see someone order three bacon cheeseburgers and a Diet Coke, remind them that the Diet Coke doesn’t make up for the 1800 calories in the burgers. It may not help. Until there is a famine, Americans may keep eating like the world is ending. Eventually, I may start sponsoring trips to send fatties to Bangladesh or Ethiopia so they can see how those people live on maybe 20 percent of the calories they take in every day. If nothing else, we could cook the ones that don’t change their ways. One 400-lb. American could feed an entire Calcutta neighborhood for weeks.