Thinning The Herd

January 9, 2004

The most common New Year’s resolution among people who make resolutions is to lose weight. At least I think that’s true. I have no way of knowing whether that’s really true, but it sounds true, so let’s stick with it. Weight loss, whether by diet, pill, liposuction, or having a large portion of your gastrointestinal tract sewn up so it’s smaller than a pencil, is an obsession among people who, despite obsessing over their weight, seem to keep getting fatter every year. Maybe it’s obsessing about how much you weigh that makes you fat. I know when I’m stressed I sometimes eat, and there’s nothing more stressful than not being able to fit into a pair of jeans I bought six months ago. It’s a vicious cycle.

Of course it’s not that hard to lose weight. I lost a lot of weight several years ago, which prompted a coworker to ask me how I did it. "Well," I said, "I started exercising, eating less, and I drank more water." He looked stunned. "Water, eh? Was it any special kind of water?" No, it was just tap water, I told him, and added that it was probably the eating less and exercising that had more to do with it than the water. He continued to have the same look that frogs get when you shine a flashlight in their eyes. "How do you think the water made you lose weight?" he said. Now, at this point, I could have taken an empty water bottle, filled it with tap water, slapped a label on it that said, "Waldrop’s Wonder Water" and sold it to him for ten bucks. I could have offered to sell him the "Waldrop Water, Walnuts, and Woodlice Waistline Reduction Plan" for three-hundred dollars, with special diet-designed walnuts and willow bark sold separately. Guaranteed to make you lose weight or we keep your money. No, I didn’t think of that, so I left him under the delusion that drinking tap water would magically make him lose weight while he continued to eat six jelly doughnuts every day before breakfast. Unfortunately I’ve never had an offer like that again, but it’s probably just as well. Chances are I’d just be honest again, and end up hating myself for it. If one of your resolutions is to lose some weight, here are some tips:

Stop watching cooking shows. Okay, that one show where a guy sits in a diner and introduces clips about the history of grape soda or how caramel popcorn is made is cool and semi-educational. But stop watching the cooking shows because all they do is make you hungry, and you know you’re never going to make duck confit brulee with leeks and shiitakes in your life. Sure, it’s entertaining watching a couple of Japanese guys come up with creative ways to prepare lettuce, but in the time it takes them to prepare a five-course gourmet meal you’ve eaten an entire bag of chips. At the very least watch carefully. Lock up the refrigerator while the cooking shows are on.

Get gastric bypass surgery. This procedure has been getting a lot of bad press lately, but the bad press just hasn’t been looking at it in the right way. Sure, the procedure has been known to cause death, but look on the bright side: death is the most effective means of achieving weight loss anyone’s ever tried.

Eat less and exercise more. This one also gets a lot of bad press, mainly because it’s supposed to be "healthy" and "long-lasting" and "effective". Who wants all that stuff in your diet plan? But heck, it just might work. People have tried everything else, including drinking a lot of water.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." ~ Jack Handy

"I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day. " ~ Frank Sinatra

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." ~ Henny Youngman

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." ~ Stephen Wright

"When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. Sooooo, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven!" ~ Brian O’Rourke

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." ~ Benjamin Franklin

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." ~ Dave Barry

BEER: HELPING UGLY PEOPLE HAVE SEX SINCE 3000 B.C.!!! ~ "Unknown"

Remember "I" before "E", except in Budweiser.

To some it’s a six-pack, to me it’s a Support Group. Salvation in a can!

And saving the best for last, as explained by Cliff Clavin, of Cheers. One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here’s how it went:

"Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

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