Friday, August 3, 2007

Obesity's Typhoid Mary

Recently, researchers came out with a study that indicated that obesity is a socially communicable disease.

When a newly obese person gains seventeen pounds, according to this study, the studied-person’s friend gains five pounds.

Humph. That study is really annoying.

Allow me to present a counter-argument for the defense.

The information that I will share with you now should put this study’s results to rest, forevermore. (Admittedly, this data is based on my own anecdotal evidence. So, empiricists, I ain’t talkin’ to you, you got that?)

From time to time over the course of my life, I have been overweight. You could even say that I’ve been significantly overweight during certain periods. Like, during the 1980’s. And the 1990’s. And portions of the new millennium.

(Because I have a creative bone in my body, I’ve been able to make lemonade out of this lemon in life. For example, my experiences led me to create the Fat City Mysteries and DYING TO BE THIN, which debuts on October 2nd, 2007.)

But, have I been a Typhoid Mary of Obesity, in terms of my impact within my circle of friends?


My best friends date back to my college years. As a group, they would be rated as “normal weight to thin,” according to the Ediets rating system. A couple of them might even be considered to be verging on the anorexic (especially those friends who reside on the West Side of New York).

My knowing these fine ladies hasn’t added an ounce to their thighs, nor has it reduced the readout of my weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers. There is no discernible “friend effect.” I wish, wish, wish there were. If you could get thinner by hanging out with skinny people, I’d be dogging every social X-ray on the planet, vying to become their new best friend. You say you’re an addict? No problem. Homeless? Nada problemo. If you’re thin, you’re in.

To be fair, I have to admit that my very best friend in the world does have a slight weight problem. More than slight, actually. She’s morbidly obese. But am I to blame for her not losing weight? Or vice versa? I think not.

On the other hand, when we’re at dinner and talking about clothes shopping, I do reassure myself that as long as I can shop at Banana Republic, and not at Lane Bryant, I must be okay. Maybe that self-reassurance does allow me to carry the odd pound or two in excess of what I’d feel comfortable with if my dining-mate shopped at the 3-5-9 store.

Bottom line is, when you’re dining with your best bud at Hamburger Hamlet and you’re eying the Brownie Mountain on the dessert menu, you just don’t want to think about it, yanno?

So maybe that study was right, after all.

But still, it's really annoying.


Joe Moore said...

Don't worry, Kathryn. There'll be another study out next week that will say just the opposite. It's hard to know what to believe anymore.

My generation survived being born to mothers that smoked and drank while they were pregnant. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and drank Kool-Aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing all day rather than sitting on our butts playing video games. My mother used bacon drippings to cook with and deep fried everything, and we managed to survive without becoming over weight.

So which government report do you believe? I'll tell you after I've had another slice of 3-layer chocolate cake and a shot of Jack Daniels. :-)

Deb Baker said...

Wonderbread. Dessert every night. Joe, you brought back fond memories. We were all beanpoles.Excuse my ignorance, but does chocolate cake go with Jack Daniels?

Joe Moore said...

Hey, Deb,
Everything goes with Jack Daniels. Or is it that everything goes with chocolate cake. I always get it confused. :-)

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thanks, Joe! Makes me think of a Scottish character in one of my stories who takes a swig and says, "Ah, God Bless America for inventing Gentleman Jack!"