Friday, December 16, 2005


One would think a point would be reached in life when how much one weighed didn't matter at all. So the morticians charge you for two caskets, one for each leg, what would it matter? But doctors continue to believe that obesity leads to early death and seem to cling to this idea when the patient is past ninety, so weight continues to worry one far into the Golden Years.

There is something sneaky about the scales in a Doctor's office. First, you aren't given a chance to shed everything, including your earrings, your lipstick and your hairspray, to make sure there is no added weight. The most you can take off are your coat and your shoes and STILL that scale bobbles upward, as though a load of cement, complete with truck and Semi driver, had been ladled upon it. The Doctor can schedule surgery and you can have your appendix, your tonsils and five other organs removed, and that scale will still register in the upper regions.

Has anyone noticed that the Olson twins have not grown up at all? They seem to have grown "in". They are mere wisps. And they wear clothes that would fit people three times their size. Then, as added oomph, they carry satchels the size of suitcases. In a high wind, they would blow away, long capes flowing. Perhaps the fact that they were crowded together in the womb explains their lack of size. I must have had plenty of room to spare...and to grow.

I've been studying this weight problem very thoroughly, doing some research on the subject. First, after looking through the magazines, I have decided that the problem really isn't that my body is too big. It's that my head is too small. If my head were larger, my body would look smaller. Look at Nicole Ritchie. She has this humungous head and this stick-like body, an optical illusion, I'm sure. Lop off her head and she would look just like me.

Going on with my research, I ran into pictures of Calista Flockhart....then and now. Calista was a skeleton of a gal, with ribs so visible one could have scrubbed clothes on them. Then she met Harrison Ford and the two fell in love. I would imagine this love affair was carried on in the finest of restaurants, with main courses, champagne, and mouth-watering desserts. I don't imagine Harrison Ford spared a dime in courting his lady love. And the result is that Calista has a little more meat on her bones. So, to lose weight, one mustn't fall in love. One must retain one's senses and veer away from wealthy lovers able to afford dinners in the finest places.

The trouble is, I am already in love. I love food. I could rhapsodize over a piece of banana cream pie far more than I could about a human lover. Eating that pie is the closest thing to delight I can imagine. Meg Ryan in Harry Met Sally with her fake orgasm should have my feelings toward banana cream pie. Nothing fake there. It's true emotion with each bite.

One cannot study obesity without dipping into the history of dieting. The first diet occurred during the caveman days, when Mama Neanderthal began to spread out like a buffalo, taking up more than her allotted amount of space in the cave. In fact, when the fur robes wouldn't cover her, she was told to lay off the meat and nuts and stick to berries and leaves.

Then, somewhere along the way, someone dreamed up the 600 calories-daily diet. The recent hullaballoo about torturing prisoners has always reminded me of this diet. To lean down and smell a cake is 600 calories. To THINK about eating it is more than 600 calories. It was torture, pure and simple, and the failure rate was astronomical.

Then, there was the Grapefruit Diet. This diet involved eating about 800 calories and then washing the whole thing down with grapefruit, which was supposed to be so acidic it would EAT calories. Actually, the grapefruit didn't eat anything. The dieter ate, as she or he fell off the diet and lunged into the calories.

There are all manner of clubs and groups that one can join in order to lose weight. They are actually the best thing going for dieters.....simply because Misery loves Company. The public humiliation of a weekly weigh-in helps, too. If you can't lose weight any other way, perhaps you can shame yourself thin. Anything is worth a try.

Of course, too, there is the No Fat Diet, which means several meals a day of pasta and rice, with pasta and rice for dessert, and the Atkins Diet, which allows you to eat the cow but forbids you to drink the milk. Both will help you lose weight, but both are difficult to follow indefinitely.

There was a time when...ahem..pleasingly plump women were popular. Look at pictures of Lillian Russell. She was no twig. More like a stump or at least a large branch. Perhaps even a redwood. She was wildly adored. So why was I born in this era, instead of the era where I belong? And opera singers used to be huge, too, with barrel-like busts that burst from their costumes like mountainous humps. I was obviously intended to be an opera singer, but someone forgot to give me the necessary pipes.

Americans are obese. I have read this countless times. Thin people must then be unAmerican. Perhaps they should move to Canada, where folks are leaner, and leave us real Americans to our Big Macs and our pies! Some poetess or other....I think it was Gertrude Stein...said that "inside every fat girl is a soul of a thin girl", or something like that, but I personally do not believe that is true. Thin girls have no souls. There isn't room for souls in their stemlike bodies. They have teensy little tummies and nothing else. They are actually just empty shells.

I know Victoria's secret. She's anti-fat. Those scrawny little model bottoms dangling from those dinky little get-ups are no bigger than cupcakes and the bosoms, if they exist at all, are fake foam. We obese folks are real. Pinch us and we squeal. We may be lousy at diets, but everything you see is genuine. It may wobble a bit, but it's real.

A recent health survey revealed that, actually, folks that are a bit overweight can live as long as their thin counterparts, so I guess we can forget all those ancient, starving mice. However, they did point out that a long life depends upon exercise. So, pleasingly plump Americans, shake that fat! Walk it around! Shimmy up that path! You may not lose a pound, but you can stay around awhile to enjoy it, fat and happy!