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America is Fat

by Jason Edwards

America is fat. Say it proud! No, really, we as a country have grown to gargantuan proportions. And with test-scores falling at the same time, most of us don’t even know what “gargantuan” means. I’m pretty sure it’s from the Latin for “you jiggle when you walk.” Then again, I went to public school.

Speaking of public school, remember the President’s Council on Physical Fitness? The PCPF (Or Pee-Cup-Off) was started back in the 50s because kids in the US were getting fatter than kids in Europe. This was largely because the smoking age in Europe had been lowered to eight after the big war.

So apparently, we’ve been fat for a long time. In fact, they say that weight gain can be blamed on genetics. Go find out if your mother’s grandfather’s mother had a lot of belly fat. If you find out that the answer is yes, congratulations, you’re a genealogist.

(Genetics, of course, is also responsible for male pattern baldness, halitosis, and an affinity for video games. If you can’t get laid, it’s your parents fault. They should spring for the hookers, is all I’m saying.)

But just because you’re destined to be a porker, doesn’t mean you have to settle for it. Don’t get me wrong: if it’s in your genes, you WILL die of a heart attack, all alone in a steel-reinforced bed, surrounded by empty boxes of Ho-Hos and sticky, moldering Big-Gulp cups. Remember the Puritans, who believed in pre-destination, the doctrine that whether or not you’re going to heaven has been decided before you’re even born? Yeah,. Some of them were real tubs of lard, too.

Some of them weren’t, though. There were some who chose to forge their own destiny. (The other Puritans had a word for this: “blasphemy”). And you can take after them. You can avoid the Big Mac! You can “just say no” to the curly fries! You can eschew the KFC Double Down (seriously, eschew it; the CDC recently declared the KFC Double-Down a level three bio-hazard. A delicious, savory bio-hazard).

That’s step one. I know, it’s not easy. I have spent many a lovely night, wrapped around a box of Oreos, staring at my expanding, sometimes quivering navel, contemplating the universe and my role in it.Not necessarily time wasted– I discovered that when you cry yourself to sleep, the tears wash away the crumbs left on your cheeks. Win-win.

Step two, if course, is exercise. I mentioned before the PCPF. Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger was in charge of that, in the 90s? Makes sense, really, bringing in some European dude to tell us how to get fit. Millions of kids followed Arnold’s footsteps, learning to smoke really fat cigars.

Actually, Americans are joining gyms like never before. In a recent report I just made up, statistics indicate that one in three Americans maintain a membership in a health or fitness club. And almost ten percent of them actually go to the gym they belong to!

Personally, I go to the gym almost every day. Of course I count driving through the parking lot as “going to the gym.” The fact that my gym shares a parking lot with KFC is just a coincidence. A delicious, savory coincidence.

You know, now that I think about it, maybe we’re not really so fat. In many ways, the largest American export, right after iPods and blue jeans, is Celebrity Fame. Everyone in the world knows who Angelina Jolie is, and Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Compared to them, anyone would look fat. Maybe in this country we’ve gotten too hung up on an unrealistic ideal. We see what some people call “normal,” we get depressed, and we seek food for comfort. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy… sort of like that pre-destination thing. Yep, that’s it. Screw the BMI, if we can just get Brad Pitt to start eating a KFC Double-Down now and again, we’ll be fine.

I’m going to the “gym,” now, to practice being just like him.

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