Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

And now -- the gargantuazation of America!

Evidence is all over the place.

I was watching a college basketball game the other night and one of the players was listed as 6-foot-10 and 350 pounds. He was a sub, because hauling all that size up and down the court wore him out in a matter of minutes.

I read a story about the football team at Marist High School in Eugene, Oregon. It starts a 6-foot-8 quarterback and three linemen who weigh 275 pounds or more. And these are high school kids! At a small school! (Four hundred and ninety-two students.)

Baseball players like Barry Bonds, who came to the major leagues as willowy basestealers with erratic bats, suddenly put on thirty-five pounds of muscle in their mid-thirties and start hitting 70 home runs while batting .340.

Watch any top-10 college football team and you will half a dozen dudes weighing more than 300 pounds playing in the offensive and defensive lines.

It's weird! As a founding member of BUG (the Brotherhood of Untall Guys), I am officially freaked out.

And it's not just in athletics. My wife works at a bakery and comes home almost daily marveling at the number of 350-pounders who come in to buy cinnamon rolls, apple pies, jelly donuts. Walk through any semi-low-priced department store (Fred Meyer, Walmart, Costco, etc.) and you will spot four or five people the size of a Peterbilt truck. Go to a movie and some Jabba the Hutt invariably will squeeze into the seat next to you and camp there, lovehandles slopping into your lap, stuffing his face with popcorn, Snickers bars, Big Gulp sodas and the random nacho.

You hear various theories about how this came to be. Cynics say steroids are responsible for the huge jocks prowling the countryside. Idealists say their size stems from the rise of weightlifting and better nutrition than existed "in the old days." As to non-jocks, some people attribute the rise in fatosity it to a decline in exercise (Americans nowadays tap on computers instead of plowing the north 40 to make a living), while others say it results from the United States' emergence as Fast Food Nation (greaseburger with fries, anyone?).

However it happened, the gargantuazation of America is weird. We members of BUG (you must be 5-foot-6 or less to belong) hereby go on record as opposed. Eighty-six your steroids. Get off your Big Macs and onto Gardenburgers. Ditch the Segway and walk to the office. If you can get to 6-foot-10 and 350 pounds by lifting weights and eating whole wheat bread, so be it. Otherwise, let's return to normalcy.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Hey, hey, we're The Seven,
People say we clown around,
Hey, hey, we're The Seven,
Sunday Seven comin' to your town.


1) What are you wearing?

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Picture it. I'm sitting in front of the computer stark naked. Kind of scary, huh? (Actually, I'm wearing clothes, but they're so boring I didn't want to write about them.)

2) What are you reading?

"What Narcissism Means to Me," a book of poems by Tony Hoagland. It's lucid and often funny, and I love the title.

3) What's for dinner?

I'm betting on take-out food, maybe Vietnamese noodle soup, because my wife/chef is out of town again, and when she comes back this afternoon she's going to her bakery job for some kind of marathon pre-Thanksgiving baking freakout.

4) What's the best thing that happened this week?

Ducks win! Ducks win! Ducks win! The University of Oregon's football team beat Oregon State 34 to 20 on Saturday, while semi-loyal Quacker Backer/alum Peoria Dave watched on TV. He attended last year's Duck debacle in Corvallis, so he did the team a favor and stayed home this time. He's sort of a bad luck charm for the Duckinis.

5) What's bugging you?

I'm itchy. My skin dries out and itches in cold weather, and premature winter descended on us poor denizens of Portland, OR, this week. It snowed one morning. One night the temperature dropped to 25 degrees. So I itch.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Shortly, Delaware

7) What's it all about, Dave?

As French writer Andre Gide said, "It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not."

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