Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Put Your Hands on Your Head

And step away from the buffet.

That's right, I said it. Now, I hate America's obsession with the ultra-thin and how all those fashion magazines screw with people's opinions of themselves. I find people attractive who come in all shapes and sizes, and as a matter of fact, I find the super-skinny to be kind of a turn off. I realize that my body weight is OK for me, and it is different for the next guy and gal. Its all about how you carry yourself, to me.

I feel this way because I've known far too many folks with serious issues concerning weight and the medical and psycological implications that come along with those issues. My own family (Kevin) can attest to how much crap they give me for how much I weigh, or the beer gut that I've worked so hard to make unpronounced. We're not even going to go into my Mother's unhealthy obsession with her own weight and how critical she is of the weight of others. And I'll cap all this off with this: attractiveness has much more to do with how you carry yourself and how comfortable and confident you are in your own skin than what any scale tells you.

But then something like this comes across the wire. Someone offended because a doctor told her she needed to loose weight or face serious medical issues.

So I guess we don't want doctors to be honest with us anymore about how we are doing damage to ourselves. You can't control your body when cancer eats you from the inside out. You can control whether you supersize your combo meal at McDees. Just like I can control how many smokey treats I have in a given day and how many beverages I drink with high alcoholic content.

We know that, but if our doctors tell us that, its OK to get offended now?

Boy, if we dealt with all our problems like that, the American colonies would still be paying for the Royal Family's therapy sessions. Sometimes you can't tiptoe or walk on egg shells. Sometimes, when someone is running towards a cliff, you've got to grab them and shake them to make them realize that there is no coming back once you go over that edge.

Weight is not an attractiveness problem, like it is in my family's little world of unreality. Weight is a serious health issue. It is the second leading preventable cause of death, after smoking, in the US of A. We're not talking about folks who are 20-30 pounds above where they were their freshman year in college. We're talking about folks who are killing themselves with food like I tried to kill myself with cigarettes. Murder in the millionth degree. Innocuous self destruction.

Strange that when I was smoking regularly, I never got offended when folks told me it was bad for me, it would kill me, could I do it outside, could I keep away from their kids while doing it, and that I should stop, right now, immediately, without passing go and collecting $200. I never got offended when my doctors told me that smoking was the reason I was in their office with chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, and was in dire need of antibiotics so that I could continue to breathe.

(Though my Moms continues to say that smoking causes none of those things, and that Kevin, who has never smoked, just has a better immune system to fight those sorts of infections. No, these ailments that have affected her and I throughout our lives are caused solely by changes in the atmospheric pressure. No kiddin' that's what she thinks.)

But some folks just can't take it when the doctor says, if you keep eating too much, you're going to have health problems. I guess we just can't have someone dispel the myth: you're not just 'big boned.' No, you need to step away from that Big Mac, put down that next plate of chicken wings, and walk just a little bit further than from the computer desk to the couch in the course of a given day.

Man, that stuff makes me mad.


Meredith said...

"Sometimes, when someone is running towards a cliff, you've got to grab them and shake them to make them realize that there is no coming back once you go over that edge."

That's almost exactly how I once heard someone explaining the difference between "nice" and "kind".

"Nice is seeing someone standing at the edge of a cliff, about to fall, and telling them 'I'm here for you man.' Kind is saying 'listen, you're about to fall of this cliff and DIE. Let me help you back to safer ground."

That woman needs to learn to take responsibility for her actions. Then maybe she wouldn't get so offened by kindness.

Buzzzbee said...

Yeah, I was really frustrated when I first heard about this. First, I was wondering why this was news. Second, I was wondering where this lady gets her nerve. I was thinking these things because I had heard only the same news reports you had. Then yesterday, in between CNN's Hurricane Coverage/Ratings Orgy, I caught a brief story with the important, but left out details of this story. It turns out that the doc didn't just say that being overweight was bad for her health; he also lectured her on how hard it would be to find a man after her husband dies. That information sort of changes this whole situation in my opinion. If a woman is fat, her doctor has a right, if not an obligation to tell her that she is endangering her health. Telling her that she won't be able to get a man after her husband's death is crossing a line. Here are the addresses to two sites I found carrying the full story:

In closing, I just want to thank the media for once again failing to do your job. You have once again sensationalized a story by not telling the whole truth. I will say a prayer to the media gods for you CNN, MSNBC and, of course FOXNEWS, that once this hurricane is over another pretty, young, white woman will go missing so that you will once again have something to talk about while you ignore all that boring, important, “real news” stuff that’s going on.

Patrick Armstrong said...

While I pray that no more women, pretty or otherwise, white or otherwise, go missing ever again, I can see the context of sarcasm in that last paragraph.

(But expect the conservatives to harp only on the fact that you "pray to the media gods" and that you want women to go missing. Especially pretty white ones. Conservo-shills will say "Liberals hate pretty white women, and here's why.")

But that's context.

You are correct, the addition of actually personal insults cross the lines of professionalism that doctor - patient decorum is supposed to be. Still, folks have got to have a thicker skin than this lady does, and doctors have got to respect the professionalism of their position better than this guy does.

As to why the media was able to make it a story: The story starts in a small town or weekly paper, where some folks around the place were making noise about it. But then, it gets a lot of buzz because it taps into that "doctors get sued too much and that increases medical costs" myth that Americans love to hear. The story gets picked up regionally, and then nationally, as long as it keeps bringing ratings. It allows folks to cut and paste the article from the small town paper to the national news without doing too much actual journalism. They probably called the doctor for his comment and let it go there, confident that they had it right, just like I was confident they had it right. Why? Because in an overhyped PC culture, we are always on the lookout for the grifter, who waits in the tall grass for the normal joe to make a mistake, and then sue him for 'hurt feelings.' We never want to believe the plaintiff (though this is a healthy thing, as burden of proof should always be, and was intended to be, on the prosecuting party).

It is unfortunate that the press doesn't do a good job (I think there are some that are, and I think that sometimes mistakes are made). But that's one thing that's really sit a conservative down in front of any media and he'll tell you that's it is liberally biased. You sit a liberal down in front of any media and she'll tell you its conservatively biased. That disgust for and distrust of the media allows them to get away with shoddy work. As in this case.