Obesity For Dummies

August 19, 2005

Obesity is on the rise, but what’s the cause? Flipping through the talk shows I hear the usual suspects being blamed: junk food, the sugar industry, bad parenting, the Internet, Abbie Hoffman, genetics, or video games. Each of the people who address the issue claim it’s only one of these causes even though common sense says that, like most things, it’s a large and complex issue that doesn’t have a single cause and doesn’t have a single shot-in-the-arm fix. People on talk shows fix on a single cause partly because "It’s a large and complex issue" makes for a lousy soundbite, and partly because they’ve got a book to sell, usually a variation on "Get Rid Of Abbie Hoffman And Get Tighter Buns In 30 Days".

So I’ve decided to write my own book. I blame store mannequins. Why mannequins? For one thing clothes never look as good on you as they do on the mannequins. Common sense says that you should accept that you’ll never have the body of a mannequin but at least you have genitals, but the odd thing about common sense is that it’s so rare. The fact that no one has a mannequin’s body, I’ll argue in my book, leads to stress, which leads to overeating. No one else is blaming mannequins, so I figure I’ll be a popular guest on talk shows. The other reason I’m blaming mannequins is they give me the creeps. They have those weird fingers that look like they’re playing the harp or picking prickly pears. As a kid I was terrified of mannequins. The headless ones were bad enough, but the ones with the creepy lifelike eyes really got to me. I thought there must be a room somewhere in the mall where children who wandered away from their parents were taken to have their eyes removed and put into mannequins.

Eventually I got over it when I saw a "Twilight Zone" episode about store mannequins who want to be real people. There’s nothing scary about mannequins wanting to be real people. What’s terrifying is real people wanting to be mannequins. But I digress. The only bad thing is that in writing this book I’m going to have to do research on mannequins. I might even have to go and live among the mannequins for a while, and who knows what that could lead to? Maybe it’s because they don’t scare me like they used to, but I think I’ve noticed a decline in the mannequin population. I could become an advocate for saving the endangered mannequin. Sure, I’ll set out to write "Down With Dummies" but end up with "Mannequins In The Mist". And what could possibly be the cause for the shrinking mannequin population? I think I’ll blame the obesity epidemic. It’ll make a good soundbite for the talk shows.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

In order to more easily affect the efficiency by which people can call in excuses please refer to the following matrix and begin using the ID Code associated to each excuse. This way, rather than trying to make up something unique the caller can more quickly inform the manager of their deficiency.

ID #901

If it is all the same to you I won’t be coming in to work. The voices told me to clean all the guns today.

ID #902

When I got up this morning I took two Ex-Lax in addition to my Prozac. I can’t get off the john, but I feel good about it.

ID #903

I set half the clocks in my house ahead an hour and the other half back an hour Saturday and spent 18 hours in some kind of space-time continuum loop, reliving Sunday (right up until the explosion). I was able to exit the loop only by reversing the polarity of the power source exactly e*log(pi) clocks in the house while simultaneously rapping my dog on the snout with a rolled up Times. Accordingly, I will be in late, or early.

ID #904

My stigmata’s acting up.

ID #905

I can’t come in to work today because I’ll be stalking my previous boss, who fired me for not showing up for work. OK?

ID #906

I have a rare case of 48-hour projectile leprosy, but I know we have that deadline to meet…

ID #907

I am stuck in the blood pressure machine down at the Food Giant.

ID #908

Yes, I seem to have contracted some attention-deficit disorder and, hey, how about them Skins, huh? So, I won’t be able to, yes, could I help you? No, no, I’ll be sticking with Sprint, but thank you for calling.

ID #909

Constipation has made me a walking time bomb.

ID #910

I just found out that I was switched at birth. Legally, I shouldn’t come to work knowing my employee records may now contain false information.

ID #911

The psychiatrist said it was an excellent session. He even gave me this jaw restraint so I won’t bite things when I am startled.

ID #912

The dog ate my car keys. We’re going to hitchhike to the vet.

ID #913

I prefer to remain an enigma.

ID #914

My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead and we must track her to her coffin to drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it.

ID #915

I can’t come to work today because the EPA has determined that my house is completely surrounded by wetlands and I have to arrange for helicopter transportation.

ID #916

I am converting my calendar from Julian to Gregorian.

ID #917

I am extremely sensitive to a rise in the interest rates.

ID #918

I refuse to travel to my job in the District until there is a commuter tax. I insist on paying my fair share.

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