Archive for August, 2008

Being Fat is No Picnic

Ok, it’s time to lose some weight.  I say this not only because of the multitude of health risks associated with being overweight, but because of the many social indignities that fat people have to endure.  It’s funny, really, but despite all of the news reports that express alarm about how overweight our society is, the society itself doesn’t seem to be changing with the population’s weight.  I’m not fighting for fat people’s rights or expecting special treatment, but I have noticed some interesting ways that society reminds us that, well, we don’t fit in.

For example, don’t be surprised if you see a number of large men walking around wearing golf shirts but no pants.  No, it’s not because you have inadvertently chosen to take a trip to Provincetown during Bear Week; it’s because the local mall stores do not sell pants to fat guys.

I know this because my wife and I went shopping not long ago and found that while most of the stores in the local mall carried a variety of golf shirts in size XXL, none of them carried pants or shorts for men of that size.  My guess is that they are catering to the bodybuilding set; since there are so many more people with huge chests and tiny waists than there are guys with a weakness for baked goods.  Don’t the executives from these stores watch the news programs?  Don’t they see the footage of fat people walking around all over the city, and hear the statistics that the trim news anchors relay in their “troubled” voices about the US obesity percentages?

Speaking of people who don’t read the obesity percentages, how about the owners of our beloved Boston Red Sox?  They added seats to the Green Monster, they upgraded almost every part of Fenway Park, but they left those <bad word> blue seats in the Reserved Grandstand?  The rows are not made for anyone over 5’7”, never mind someone who tips the scales more than the average fan did in 1912.

Sitting in the reserved grandstand involves placing one’s rear onto the seat handles (there for your comfort!) and then wiggling until the larger part of the bottom can be worked clear of the handles and into the seat.  Getting up is a similar process, which removes even the option of participating in The Wave.  By the time I finally achieve the standing position, the wave has already rippled past.  After several innings of this, my legs and hind quarters are good and truly bruised.

On the MBTA ride home (or during my morning and afternoon commutes), if there isn’t an end seat available, I generally choose to stand.  I don’t want the guilt of taking up two seats or of making the people around me uncomfortable.  Of course, these same people are often reading newspapers and spreading their arms into another seat area, but I digress.

It’s obvious why these environments have been slow to change.  Changing the seats in places like Fenway Park, on trains, and on airplanes (another beacon of comfort for the gravitationally challenged) costs the host organizations money.  Making room for fatter people means fewer people and fewer people means less income; I get it.  I don’t have to like it, but I get it.

What I don’t get is why, whenever I’m standing on a crowded train and someone in the car floats an air biscuit, I always feel a number of accusing eyes on me.  What?  Thin people don’t fart?  Sure, on a day to day basis I’m probably eating more than the skinny woman next to me, but the remains of her pickled egg and haddock sandwich are right there on her shirt.  Also, the guy standing next to her, the one holding onto the bar with his arm raised, is clearly is allergic to both showers and deodorant.  So stop staring at me.

Seriously, though, in a way I can understand the thought process of the people who stay inside and eat until they can’t go outside any more.  It’s embarrassing to be fat and to try to function in a society that isn’t tailored to people of my size.  In a way, I suppose that is motivation to lose weight and to fit in, but in another way it could easily discourage people from making the effort.  It’s easy to get tired of the embarrassment you feel when meeting new people (yeah, sorry, I’m fat) and when trying to fit into a world made for smaller people.

It’s a choice, really.  I am working to fit in and be healthier, but until I get there, please, just sell me pants.


Rants Tim 28 Aug 2008 3 Comments


Before I had ever heard of being Rick-Rolled, one of my coworkers was always sending the below clip to people. He’d hide it behind other links, or use it to disrupt conversation threads on email or in IRC. Anyway, I thought I’d share:

The Day to Day Grind Tim 26 Aug 2008 No Comments

Hot Flashes

More randomness that is yet even more random than my previous random thoughts: 

I was happy to see US gymnast Shawn Johnson get a gold medal in the balance beam event.  I had been rooting for Johnson since the beginning of the Olympics, when I dubbed her “The Tank” because she looks like she could run through a brick wall.  Also, it may be a dumb reason, but because Johnson smiles all the time and her US teammate Nastia Liukin always looks like she just drank lemon juice, I root for Johnson. 

Anyway, Liukin had already earned a gold medal, so it was nice to see Johnson snag gold after a string of silvers.  Her smile lit up the arena, and, as an added bonus, Johnson’s mom flashed the “Heavy Metal Horns” hand signal from the stands after the result was finalized… 

…Watching The Tank win gold on the balance beam caused me to wonder:  Is it better to have big feet or little feet for the balance beam? 

Big feet mean more of a chance of catching some of the beam when you land; kind of like large softball gloves (not that I can imagine anyone doing the balance beam with softball gloves on their feet).  Little feet mean that the entire foot can be on the beam with no overhang, which could result in better balance. 

Since The Tank won gold on the beam with her little feet, and Alicia Sacramone (my favorite on the team) did poorly on the beam with her big(ger) feet, I will assume little feet are better for now.  That’s a very small sample size, though, so I will continue the research… 

…Another point about the Olympics:  I hope that the athletes featured in those Visa commercials are being paid at least as much as Morgan Freeman is making for narrating them.  That being said, I was sad to see that Mr. Freeman was in a car accident, and I hope he gets well soon… 

…I’d also like to wish a hearty get well to Carl Yastrzemski.  I always wanted to be number 8 on my Little League teams, and yes, I spelled that without looking it up… 

…In other baseball news, I have a number of friends who tell me that baseball is boring, and I try to argue with them, but it’s getting harder to win those arguments; especially when every hitter has their own little ritual in between pitches.  Guys step out of the box, fix their gloves, adjust their cups, tie their shoes, text their friends, and then step in, take a ball and repeat the entire process while the seconds of my life tick away needlessly.  Every.  Single.  Pitch. 

Not long ago, in my memory, only a few players had those rituals.  In the 70’s and 80’s, Carlton Fisk would hold his hand up for time while he dug a small well in the batter’s box.  In later years, Nomar Garciaparra would fix his gloves and kick his shoes after each pitch, and he stood out for doing so.  In fact, one year Derek Jeter aped Nomar’s ritual by fixing his batting gloves during an All Star game and got big laughs.  Now Jeter, along with every other batter, does this sort of thing before every pitch.  Honestly, how much can those gloves loosen from pitch to pitch? 

Truly, the rituals are a maddening waste of time (yes, even when Big Papi spits on his hands), and should stop.  The umpire should direct the batter to stay in the box unless a bug flies into the batter’s eye or there is some other special circumstance.  It couldn’t hurt in the general effort to make the game less boring… 

…I have heard in the media that certain unnamed politicians are considering a return to the 55 mph speed limit.  A lowered speed limit is, in truth, a ridiculous back-door tax on drivers, draped in the flag of improved fuel consumption.  This law would only grow the pool of drivers who can be pulled over and given insurance surcharges speeding tickets and make those drivers pay more for driving at what is currently a safe speed. 

Today, if a driver gets caught doing 75 mph on the highway; the fine is 50 bucks (plus the phony head injury fund tax and years of surcharges).  However, if the limit is dropped, that same driver will have to pay 150 bucks (plus the phony head injury fund tax and years of surcharges). 

Never mind that the guy doing 75 is probably being passed by a state trooper going 90. 

If the “powers that be” really want to help to save fuel, why not eliminate all toll booths?  How many gallons of fuel (and hours of people’s lives) are wasted in traffic jams caused by waiting for the right to pay for roads that have already been paid off?  I’m sure that removing the tolls would go quite a ways toward saving fuel and improving quality of life on the roads; but I doubt that is the true aim of the people proposing the 55 mph limit… 

…And finally, every year when Massachusetts holds a tax-free weekend, there is a sales spike in the Commonwealth.  Yet some people wonder why anyone would go out of their way for a mere 5% discount.  After all, they say, 5% is not so much in the grand scheme of things, so why wait for that weekend to buy bigger ticket items? 

First of all, many stores have sales that coincide with the tax-free weekend, but I believe that the sales increase isn’t just due to the sales and the 5%.  Instead, it is my belief that the consumers of Massachusetts feel a small twinge of relief on that weekend:  the freedom to buy things without the government’s hand in their pockets.  That is plenty of motivation to go out and buy, buy, buy; even if you’re only saving a measly 5%.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 22 Aug 2008 No Comments

Next Page »