Survival of the Fattest

October 1, 1999

According to a plethora of recent and not-so recent studies, an overwhelming majority of Americans are overweight. One study even went so far as to say that 90% of Americans "exceed the minimum requirement for obesity." There’s just one thing I’ve never been able to get out of these studies, though: what exactly is their standard of normality? What’s healthy, or, as some put it, "ideal"? If only 10% fit into the category of "normal", I’d call that pretty abnormal. I’d also suspect that their standard of measure is a group of translucent supermodels with heroin addictions.

These reports blame a variety of factors, most commonly increased food production, a better standard of living, the fact that Americans consume more junk food, and overlook the fact that these sort of statistics have only been kept for about thirty years now, exactly the time period when most people moved off their family farms and into more sedentary desk jobs. Admittedly, exercise machines have become a booming business, but usually they’re only used a few times and then put in the closet or under the bed, where they’re conveniently designed to fit. This is because homo sapiens, unlike the hamster, is a practical species. When we exert force, we want to actually get somewhere. In fact, in the early days of mammalian development, the rodents who eventually became us were quite content to sit around nibbling grain and staring at rocks, and would only get really active when a hungry dinosaur came around. The dinosaurs, of course, were always on the go, and it says something that they’ve been extinct for several hundred million years.

As we progress into the next millenium, the studies on obesity are only outnumbered by the claims that the world will end from some terrible catastrophe such as another ice age, or a worldwide famine. In the event of either of those possibilities, the ones who will survive will not be the emaciated wonders, but the ones who can hold out the longest. Maybe the authors of those studies, who are, presumably, "normal", had better start bulking up.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


  1. Follow your dream! Unless it’s the one where you’re at work in your underwear during a fire drill.

  2. Always take time to stop and smell the roses and sooner or later, you’ll inhale a bee.

  3. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Just leave me alone.

  4. If you don’t like my driving, don’t call anyone. Just take another road. That’s why the highway department made so many of them.

  5. If a motorist cuts you off, just turn the other cheek. Nothing gets the message across like a good mooning.

  6. When I’m feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor’s dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.

  7. It’s always darkest before the dawn. So if you’re going to steal the neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.

  8. A handy telephone tip: Keep a small chalkboard near the phone. That way, when a salesman calls, you can hold the receiver up to it and run your fingernails across it until he hangs up.

  9. Each day I try to enjoy something from each of the four food groups: the bonbon group, the salty-snack group, the caffeine group and the "What-ever-the-thing-in-the-tinfoil-in-the-back-of-the -fridge-is" group.

  10. Into every life some rain must fall. Usually when your car windows are down.

  11. Just remember: You gotta break some eggs to make a real mess on the neighbor’s car!

  12. When you find yourself getting irritated with someone, try to remember that all men are brothers and just give them a noogie or an Indian burn.

  13. This morning I woke up to the unmistakable scent of pigs in a blanket. That’s the price you pay for letting the relatives stay over.

  14. It’s a small world. So you gotta use your elbows a lot.

  15. Keep your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the wheel. It’s a lot cheaper than plastic surgery.

  16. This land is your land. This land is my land. So stay on your land.

  17. Love is like a roller coaster: When it’s good you don’t want to get off, and when it isn’t, you can’t wait to throw up.


One day, a young man went to apply for a sales job at a major department store. He told the sales manager that he didn’t really have any experience, but he was willing to try his hardest to learn. The manager liked his attitude and decided to give the guy a chance.

At the close of business the next day, the sales manager decided to stop in to see how the kid was doing on his first day.

He asked, "How many sales did you have today?"

The salesman answered, "One."

"How come only one," asked the manager. "Most of my salesman have 20-30 per day! How much was the one sale you made?"

The salesman answered, "$133,344.00"

"WHAT!?! What did you sell?"

"Well, a guy wanted a small fishing hook, so I sold him a medium fishing hook, then I sold him a large fishing hook. Then he needed a rod, so I sold him a light action rod, the upgrade to a medium action rod, and then changed it to a fully balanced combo. Then I told him he was going to need a boat, so I took him to the boating department and sold him a 14-foot motor boat, then upgraded him to a 20-foot cabin cruiser. Then I told him that his Volkswagen wouldn’t be able to tow the boat, so I took him to the car department and sold him a sport utility vehicle."

"A guy came in for a fishing hook and you managed to sell him all of that?" asked the manager.

"No, he came in for a box of tampons, and I said, "Hell, your weekend is shot anyway, why not do some fishing?"

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