Good news, fatties: designers at Ford, eager to get you and your gigantic arses into their cars without the use of levers, pulleys or friction-fighting lubricant, have created new virtual reality mannequins that reflect your ever-expanding dimensions. Bigger cabins with wider seats, possibly scented like sausage, are on the way. Or you can spring for the options package and be squeezed into your vehicle each morning by a team of stout men.
Perhaps Ford will share its technical specs with the makers of MRIs and X-ray scanners. A new study says doctors may be failing to detect tumours because some obese patients are too big to fit into the machines—or their fatty tissue is so dense that it blocks the sound waves from the scanner. This is a bummer for the overweight but a hopeful sign for humanity, assuming this fatty tissue can also be used to block the sound waves from post1983 recordings by Billy Joel.
Every week now there are startling stories about the general all round corpulence of modern Homo sapiens. In Britain, hospitals are paying millions to reinforce beds so they don’t collapse under the weight of obese patients. In Barbados, it is estimated that an astonishing 60 per cent of the population is overweight or obese (catchy new tourism slogan: Visit Now—Before We Sink). In Australia, there’s pressure to ban junk-food ads from TV until the kiddies are safely in bed. And in the U.S., a company has released a line of fatfriendly sunscreens that come in chocolate and sparerib flavours. Lather it on, lick it off! (Fine, I made up that one—but I want a piece of the action when it actually happens.)
Fatness is a dangerous condition, a lucrative business and very amusing when filmed in slow motion. Well-meaning people put out books like Fast Food Nation and movies like Super Size Me and still we get fatter. They crank out health food cookbooks and exercise machines and still we get fatter. They print photos of Alec Baldwin at the beach and we throw up in our mouths a little and still we get fatter. Thank God we still like sex:
our vanity and horniness may be all that’s standing in the way of whole continents of 500-lb. behemoths covered in Frito dust.
Two creative—if borderline cruel—scientists recently served free popcorn at a cinema in Philadelphia. Half the moviegoers got fresh popcorn; the other half got popcorn that had been sitting around for two whole weeks. The result: people who got the stale, unpleasant popcorn ate almost as much. Apparently, we will now eat anything in any amount. It’s right there in the motto of 21st-century Western civilization: More, please.
Lately, however, fat adults have become old news. Childhood obesity is where it’s at. There are millions of fat kids in North America, each destined to grow up and be featured from the neck down on television news reports about obesity. Even schoolyard taunts need to be upgraded: Fatty, fatty, four by eight/ Devoured his dinner and also his plate.
There’s a new study that claims fat kids will exercise more if you bribe them with TV. There’s another blaming schools for not forcing all students to take phys.ed. And now there’s research that claims young children
HOW ABOUT A NEW LINE OF FAT-FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN IN CHOCOLATE AND SPARERIB FLAVOURS. JUST LATHER IT ON AND LICK IT OFF!
burn more calories when they are given weighted blocks to play with. So by all means continue to take the kids to McDonald’s for dinner three times a week—just make sure they get the Happy Meal with the new toys Piano-Moving Elmo and Grover’s Li’l Anvil.
Obesity is a serious issue with potentially grave consequences, especially if a Speedo is involved. But for the vast majority of us it’s something—one of the few things—over which we have full control. We have the power to stop it, unlike other unfortunate developments such as cancer or Alzheimer’s or Howie Mandel’s career resurgence. And yet so many people act as though their plight could only be solved by a very slim rocket scientist.
There’s a new book called The Vice Busting Diet. It’s written by a woman who, according to the book’s promotional material, “lived for many years in a morbidly obese body,” before presumably upgrading to a townhouse. The book promises to “change your life forever!” (The exclamation point means it must be true!) Her revolutionary guidance: stop drinking and eating so much crap, and maybe start exercising.
Good advice: smart, effective, nice and concise. The Vice Busting Diet is 240 pages. Perhaps the other 239 pages are nice pictures of cats? M
Scott Feschuk can be reached at sfeschuk @sympatico.ca
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