Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm Appalled (what else is new?)

Since my run in with real-life crime, I have tried to stop watching Forensic Files as a soothing television show to fall asleep to. I have resorted to Nightline on ABC which, up until last night, was working well.

Bill Weir spotlighted a court case on last night's episode that would ban the presence of a toy in McDonald's Happy Meals. An overbearing and health conscious mother has filed a law suit in reaction to her hatred and disgust over the menu options for children at McDonald's. She firmly believes that the little plastic toy inside the cardboard box that's bookended with some nuggets and fries is making American children fat. And that's when I heard the statistic that blew me away: One in three American children are overweight or obese.

One in three American children? Overweight? Obese? I am blown away. I am absolutely, positively, disgusted at this number! How could this happen? How could America's children be the largest children in all the world? These questions all lead to the one question that is grating on every last nerve of my body: WHY NOW?????

Where were all these fat kids when I was at Matthew Patterson Elementary School? Where were all these fat kids when I was attempting to play soccer in middle school with an inhaler on a lanyard? Where were all these fat kids when my Girl Scout's sash was more of a cummerbund with patches? Where were these fat kids when I was forced to be a pumpkin every year for Halloween because all the other costumes said for ages "4 and up" and although I was "four," I definitely surpassed that "up." And where were all those fatties when I would be asked to get off the jungle gym by the recess monitor because the moving bridge was starting to buckle?

I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy. My parents contemplated pulling me out of public school and into homeschooling because of the bullying I was subjected to. Yes, I had two cupcakes shoved into each cheek and sprinkles on my shirt, but that was no reason to make me sit by myself in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Out of my entire class of oh, let's say, 30 kids in the great New York school district, only two of us were fat. One was me. And the other was Timothy Pachowski who added to his excommunication by picking his nose and eating it (the kid must have always been hungry). He is also guilty of putting gum in my hair and forcing me to get a bob. To this day I hate him for that, and the fact that together, we stood no chance against the skinny, knobby-kneed, bony armed runts running around the halls.

I am not a genius when it comes to math, but if one in three kids is fat or obese in America today, that means that in Mr. Saskiewicz's 4th grade class of 30 kids, 10 would have been fat-asses. That would mean that I would have 9 other allies to protect me on the playground, in the cafeteria, in the hallway, in the classroom and on the bus. And out of an entire school of 400 kids, over 130 kids would be little chubs. That's 130 kids that I could have played with!! That's 130 kids I could have swapped easy-bake oven recipes with. Kids that I could have swapped Halloween candy with by the pillowcase. And dozens of girls that could have had sleepovers with me and recognized my need for Little Debbie Yodels to be on the pillow next to me (just in case).

But God has a sick sense of humor. He waited until I was "all grown up" before making kids fat. The skinny ones are the minority now. The only simple wish that I had growing up came true 15 years too late. So, to the little fatties running around (ok, waddling around) today's elementary schools, I say: "Stand up! (don't hurt yourself) Be strong! And go sit on a skinny kid because when I was your age, they always said that that was their biggest fear. So take a seat on their bony lap and say it is from Kristen, with love."

Oh, and the McDonald's Happy Meal Toys? Collect the whole set kids. :)


Mandi said...

I know exactly what you mean! I was on the lower side of chubby (I remember my doctor complaining because I was just a little bit over a line on some chart) growing up, but became steadily heavier throughout middle and high school. All of my friends were chubby - I made sure to choose the chubby ones to pal around with, but we were definitely in the minority.

Man, we had so many happy meal toys when I was a kid - we collected the barbie ones, the cabbage patch ones, and the beanie baby ones. :)

William said...

OK That was one of the funniest things I have read in a long time. That is a book in the making my dear!!!

Meaghan said...

Don't you know where all the fat kids came from? Where were they when we were in school? I know. When we were in school, if you had a disrespectful student, a teacher could take them out in the hall and beat the mess out of them. So, to avoid this, kids would learn to move quickly so as to avoid getting caught for whatever they did wrong. Now that we've banned corporal punishment, kids have gotten slothful. It was only a matter of time. That is, of course, why I firmly believe in beating the youth of America. Also why I'm probably not allowed to teach or have children.