Quit picking on us

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

The thin citizens of this country will not let up on the subject of obesity; they forever point out what they consider pertinent facts indicating that large ones should be treated differently. &uot;The price of a life insurance policy is rated for size, so health insurance premiums should be raised to a level commensurate with the requirements to keeping the Rubenesque upright, mobile, and breathing.&uot;

They even want distinctions for group policyholder smokers and heavyweights. Airlines eliminated puffing and now want to weigh oversize customers and increase their ticket prices to pay for extra hydraulics and gyros needed to balance the plane. Theaters expect compensation for broken seats but are happy to sell gallon size drinks and bushel bag popcorn. Shoe saleswomen sit but expect large buyers to be standing while being fitted, to reduce the flow of returns.

The numbers now indicate that one American in five is obese and three more are headed that way. Millions of American children have bought into the excess poundage fad, ushering in a new lifestyle with fast food, bad television, and couch potatoing.

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Nutritionists are often size 18 and up, so apparently eating right doesn’t help. A lot of doctors are &uot;big,&uot; so extra weight can’t mean anything serious. Lately we’ve heard doctors complain about the high cost of malpractice insurance but if they didn’t make little errors there would be no reason to sue for exorbitant sums.

In the paper just this morning I read where doctors average 1,500 ‘oops’ each year. Taking off the wrong leg embarrasses the doctor, but is merely an inconvenience for the patient. But that doesn’t happen as often as leaving tools inside. Again, it’s the obese patient where this happens most often because there is so much room inside.

One surgeon, eager to leave on his fishing trip, hurriedly closed a stomach reduction stapling procedure then couldn’t find his tackle box. Fortunately an MRI showed it closed and his favorite lures intact. Rescue squads across the nation are beefing up their muscles and their wheeled stretcher axles. Hospitals force patients over 300 to sign waivers in case of injury when their bed collapses. Nightingale helicopter pilots reduce their risk by flying very close to the ground. It is understandable that we of larger proportions are mortified, up in arms, and seeking affirmative action.

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I note a bit of smugness among those slapping each other on the back for the results of Prentis House restoration, and pointing fingers at early naysayers who wanted it torn down rather than have the city put our money into it.

The credit goes only to Chip Wirth who invested his time and money, not to those who now take advantage of his genius. The DOT is acting as though it is the hero but aren’t those our tax dollars that bought the furniture and other adornments, our taxes that will pay the high rent, our taxes that will pay the high salary of a director and others who park there?

OK Lynette, you commandeered the Prentis House, now find some serious ways to recover our investment. The naysayers have not left town and will be keeping an eye on DOT progress; we’re paying for it. Perhaps your next acquisition will be the Spirit Elite, or maybe a motorcycle.

It’s that time again, when we hear from the anti-war crowd.

There has never been a war that wasn’t preceded by various groups rallying against it but offering no other solution to an increasingly dangerous situation. But allow Sadamn to complete his plan for ownership of a couple of the big bangers, blackmail the world with threats to blow up the oil fields, and you will see them scurrying to fill the tanks of their SUVs. Then they will be shouting curses at the President for allowing it to happen. Their parades will end and they will disappear as though they never existed.

Except in the case of Lyndon Johnson’s war against Vietnam there was always a very practical reason to call out the military, to defend our way of life, or rally to the side of other partner democracies under the gun. Our national intention is not to police the world, just to save it. So march on, while you can, you cause the nation to appear as impotent as you are.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.