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Greener Pastures
9.1.2003 by Dan, every Monday.

The next time that you're out in public, take a moment to look at the people around you. Of course, as always, they're gathered in a ring around you, staring and pointing with horrified expressions. But let's look past that for a moment. Look at the woman with hair the color of a traffic cone and boasting a large roll of fat squooshed out between her tube top and bicycle shorts. Where did she find bicycle shorts that big? Or look at the slob in the sweatpants eating three Snickers bars at once. Who knew that a belly could still manage to stick out from under a 6XL “Star Wars” T-Shirt?

More and more people in our culture are getting fat. The majority of these are Americans, since fat Canadians cannot flee the polar bears and are therefore quickly devoured. So in Canada, the polar bears are more likely to have the weight problems. But why are so many of us overweight? Some say it's because our culture encourages excessive consumption and sedentary behavior. Others claim that it's due to all the fats and unnatural substances that food manufacturers pump into even the most seemingly benign of foods. And yet more insist that it's due to our culture's basic needs being so fully met that we're imbued with sloth and complacency. I, however, say that none of these people throw very good parties.

Regardless of the factors, however, our love affair with eating until we warp the frames of our couches has spawned a huge and ever-growing industry- steel furniture. “Sure it's heavy, but so are you!”

It's also created a health and diet industry. It gives us entire grocery aisles full of things like “Soy milk,” “Tofu Flakes” and “Meuslix,” which appears to be stuff scraped from squirrel nests. The idea here seems to be that we have to walk farther in the grocery store to get past the aisles to get to the pork rinds, thus giving us valuable exercise.

We also get diets like the “Atkins Diet,” where you are not permitted to eat bread, the “Slim-Fast” Diet, in which you can only eat “Slim-Fast” products, but as much as you want, the “Potted Fern” diet, where you only drink water and lie in the sun, and the “30-Minute Diet,” where you can eat as much of whatever you want, but only for 30 minutes a day.

And, of course, we get fitness gurus such as Susan “Stop the Madness” Powter, Billy “Tae-Bo” Blanks, Mike “You Can't Eat Wif No Teeth” Tyson, and God help us, Richard “Let Me Cut Out This Wall With A Chain Saw So We Can Get The Forklift In To Him” Simmons.

So my question is, with all of these people and businesses clamoring to help us lose weight, why do we still see news anchors in Frowny Face Mode reading announcing the results of a story showing that 98% of all third graders are overweight? Are all these diets quackery? Are we just so lazy and complacent as a society? Have we been joined with our steel couches into a single life form involving a freak lightning strike and a bag of “Chee-Tos?”

Well, dear friends, I have given this matter much thought, usually while on a sugar buzz, and I have found the answer. In Canada, the weight problems are dramatically less due to polar bear evasion. Also, bear in mind that there are 30 million lean, hard-to-catch Canadians, compared to 290 million sofabound Americans. It's all falling into place, isn't it? And it makes for a grim picture indeed. The diet books are written by polar bears to secretly fatten us up, so that they can drive down here in ice-cream trucks and snack on our fat children!! It's all here in my new book, “The Don't Feed The Polar Bear Diet,” available in bookstores- hey, is that an ice cream truck? *jingle jingle* ROAAAAR!! AIEEEEEEE!

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