Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It's hard to believe, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past when Americans were actually fairly fit. If you look back at old movies, television programs, advertisements, newspapers, etc., you'll see that people in America were, in regard to size, fairly average. Fat people were the minority - an ostracized, belittled minority. Chances are, in that not-so-distant-and-thinner past, if you saw a fat person, they were being somehow made fun of. Remember Fred "Rerun" Berry from "What's Happening?" Yeah, that's how fat people were treated back in the day. They were freaks - funny freaks, but freaks nonetheless. That's not to say there were no beloved fat people then because there certainly were. But, chances are, if you were fat, you weren't very popular. Or, better yet, you were a fat kid who, thanks be to God, got thinner in high school (at least, that's what happened to me).
I don't know where America went wrong, but at some time in the late 80s or so, people just started getting fat and staying that way. By the time the 90s got here, people weren't only fat, but they were fat and PROUD of it. All of the sudden fat people got bold and started talking about "choices" and being "big and beautiful" and, what's really screwed up, the mainstream started buying into it. It was like movie stars in the 40s saying that smoking was "cool" except, unlike cigarettes, fat people were selling being unhealthy AND unattractive. I mean, at least with cigarettes you're only ruining your insides. When you're fat, everybody sees it. I'll take a black lung any day of the week, so long as I can still look down and see my toes (and other stuff too).
I'm not trying to be insensitive here. I mean, I get that some people really have health-related problems that lead to obesity and that really sucks. But, those people are a very small minority. Most fattys are fat because they have no self-control. I also blame video games. I used to love playing outside as a kid. I was svelte as hell. Then, bout 1986, my parents bought me a Nintendo and my once-active lifestyle was replaced by a whole lot of sitting on my ass an playing Zelda. Before I knew it, I was the damn fat kid. I had tits and everything. That was my fault. I eventually re-discovered the outdoors - some time around 1992 - and got my ass back into shape. I've never been so thankful for being completely schizophrenic when it comes to lifestyle. I get bored with stuff pretty easy. Not to mention, my parents didn't have a lot of money, so they couldn't afford to get me a Super NES or the Sega Genesis. Pretty soon, Nintendo just lost its luster and I discovered the joys of hiking and swimming. I also discovered girls and girls don't like fat gaming kids.
I also blame the American obsession with really crappy food. I'm going to save the majority of this angle for another post, but seriously ... high fructose corn syrup? Ugh.
Things are getting serious now because the American obesity epidemic is hitting young people the hardest. The percentage of overweight children grows every year. I've got a son now and I don't want him falling victim to this disease. I make sure we go outside everyday he's with me. We go to the park and just run. Seriously, that's a game we play. "Okay, run up the hill! Weeeeeeeeee! Run down the hill! WEEEEEEE!" We go swimming, play on the playground. Hell, on hot days, we walk up and down the stairs of my apartment. I mean, I know he's only two-and-a-half, but I never want him to have to suffer my fatty fate. I hated being a fat kid.
Our education system is screwing them too. Recess has been all-but-abandoned by most school systems. PE is on the top of the chopping block (next to good things like, oh I don't know, art and music) whenever budgets get cut. School sports teams are now too being terminated because of budget issues. And with computers, newer gaming systems, and five-friggin-thousand TV channels (in HD, no less), kids have virtually no interest in going outside to play. It really sucks AND it's totally an American problem.
People in other countries (excepting maybe England and Somoa) don't have this problem. You know why? Because those people actually DO stuff. They go on "holiday" and hike through Europe and take biking tours. They walk EVERYWHERE and love bicycles more than cars. They also don't eat complete crap because people in other countries actually have their own food cultures. What's America's food culture? Excrement, that's what. Stinking "burgers" and "potato chips" and all things fried. I mean, we're the home of the "double down." Is it any wonder we're such fattys? Damnit - I gotta save this one for another post (I keep forgetting).
So, in conclusion: Obesity - another reason Americans suck.