Yesterday I temporarily existed on a plane of purple and gold bewilderment after having read the headline, “San Francisco Cracks Down on Happy Meals and Their Ilk.” It didn’t make sense because it conjured images of burly men in shiny black boots slapping food and toys out of the hands of crying children before setting the restaurant and all of its patrons aflame. While nothing quite that epic is taking place, it is still important that people realize this is another example of the right people making just enough noise to solve a problem that does not actually exist. As a spindly American, I am well aware that I am in the minority because we are, by and large, a rather plumped-out nation. Consider how many hours of stock footage of ample bellies and saggy rears the news has aired during “special reports” since you have been alive. If you stacked those tapes ontop of each other, I bet they could touch the moon. According to this footage, there are headless fat people everywhere and we aren’t doing a damn thing about it. Those segments teach us that Americans are too fat and that you should feel badly about yourself if you happen to be a person of the portly persuasion. The fact that they never show faces almost makes it seem like fatness is some sort of horrific plague creeping across the country and killing our children. I actually think they’ve used those very words before and, frankly, it’s a pretty effective way of dehumanizing a large group of people (double-entendre). While I cannot endorse being unhealthily obese, I’m not about to go on some sort of insane crusade to eliminate grease and sugar from the universe. I complained when states started to outlaw smoking indoors and jokingly suggested that it was only a matter of time before they outlawed cheeseburgers and ice-cream but I could never foresee just how closely it seems like that is the direction in which we are heading. Maybe it is just a matter of time before the food gestapo starts going door to door and we have to hide our salt and butter in the attic like a delicious Anne Frank.
We should be responsible for our own food intake and, by extension, the intakes of our children. You can eat a cheeseburger and not weigh six-hudred pounds, I’ve seen it happen. While it would make the world substantially more interesting, his isn’t a Hansel and Gretel situation where someone is intentionally trying to fatten us up so that we might later be eaten. Those kids only went hog-wild on that candy house because they were lost, starving and had parents that didn’t love them anymore. Maybe if more parents loved more children people wouldn’t think they needed to get the government involved in raising them. I still think that establishing some form of authority in the household and encouraging children to be somewhat responsible is the best way to avoid problems. It’s not as if children have become so clever that parents can no longer refuse them anything. Even if that was the case, kids are too small to effectively defend against a beating but that’s rarely ever necessary. I’ve seen a lot of young kids try to employ their specific brand of cunning and it’s usually pretty sad. I can recall with some clarity what it was like to be eight and my dad always seemed to have the upper hand.
There is just no way to defend against pure dadsmanship like that. When I was a kid, I was told repeatedly to not fart around and sleep in the bed that I had made by my parents. It took me several years but I eventually found out that those phrases are not just to be taken literally. I have to wonder what everyone else’s parents have told them because it would appear that we are living in an age where nobody wants to take ownership for what they do or how they feel. I’m sure it’s nice to have an excuse for almost anything and successfully shirk responsibilities or defer them to someone else, but where does that leave humanity? No where I would want to be. By blaming others you strip yourself of the ability to evolve as a person and partially cheat yourself out of any legitimate triumphs. Go ahead and outsource your own choices but don’t insist the same goes for everyone else because I would still like some free will. If people are really worried about the rest of the world’s health, why does nobody seem concerned with the ridiculous side-effects on on prescription medicine. There are much worse things that we put into our bodies than alcohol, smoke and greasy food. I have read warnings on medicine that sincerely makes me want to avoid taking it and just stick it out with the headache, virus or horrific bacteria. There is a portion of every year where I am obligated to take an allergy medicine that creates muscle aches as a side-effect or else suffer though itchy-eyed blindness and suffocation for three months. There is weight control medicine that causes you to lose bowl control, this drug Mirapex that encourages compulsive behaviors with narcolepsy and antidepressants that can create dangerous hallucinations. I’ve even seen antibiotics that can change your urine all sorts of crazy colors.
Do people not realize that, by trying to create a perfect world, they are screwing it up? Paradise is different for everyone and we all need the freedom to make our own choices and mistakes so we can grow as human beings. Where is all of this prohibition going to take us? What is the desired outcome and will it be worth it? All of this banning and regulation leaves me with more questions than answers and an underlying feeling of pessimism.