Around April 2011, during a flight on a Southwest Airlines plane, I took a tongue in cheek photo of a, shall we say, "heavy" passenger barely fitting in the space between their seat and the one ahead of them. That had been around the time when another Southwest Airlines Boeing jet had developed cracks in the ceiling! So, I quipped:
Travel Light? Surprised A SouthWest Boeing's Ceiling Cracked Before The Seat & Floor Of This Flight I Was On http://twitpic.com/4h9dst
Having almost always been an, ahemmm, cuddly (read chubby) fellow all my life, and not desiring to hurt someone's feelings, I snapped the picture in flight with the sunlight making the person unidentifiable. The photo also showed up on FaceBook in my mobile album.
Somehow, two years later, this week, that old post got activity based on a Like or comment. Then suddenly it got some very interesting comments. Some thought the picture was funny, several took me to task for making fun of a "victim" and being mean. (Note, I did not make fun of anyone, but of the ironic situation related to a news event I mention above).
Instead of a long essay, I wrote my initial set of top 10 points in response. I would love to have your thoughts on these….
1. How funny to be criticized for what people see me as making fun of a fat person, when in fact almost every 5th comment I post about myself makes fun of my own belly and double/multiple chins.
2. What an era of political correctness. If someone did want to make fun of fat people (or skinny people), the PC crowd comes out sanctimoniously passing judgement on those they accuse of… drum roll… passing judgement! Even if I had made fun of someone, what has happened to us? We are now overdosing on confusing nutrition information, nanny state little dictator mayors telling us what size soda we can buy, and general political correctness!
3. I did not make fun of this lady, but, even if I or someone did, most of humor in the world can be taken as being mean to someone or hurtful to some group. Do people post complains about meanness when they read a lawyer joke? I figured I would check. And, not to my surprise, almost each of my critics I looked at, those complaining about my post being mean, actually have jokes posted on their walls about homosexuals, Quakers, Jehovah's Witnesses, liberals, conservatives, rednecks, and others! Isn't that mean also? At the very least it is ironic and hypocritical!
4. I am fat, or at least significantly heavier than I want to be, because I drink 1-2L Pepsi daily and eat a ton of ice-cream a month (figuratively speaking, so as not to offend those who prefer accuracy in reporting amounts and numbers!). Thanks, but no, thanks, if you try to "protect" me if someone calls me fat. I am not a victim. I (sadly LOL) choose to be irresponsible with the usual, I will start exercise and healthy eating tomorrow but am too busy today excuse. I know that if I do not stop I will end up like the person in that photo -- and the millions of obese fellow Americans.
5. Steaks and ice-cream jars do not attack me or force themselves down my throat onto my waist, or of that person! We choose to consume calories, and then get to the stage where good-hearted people like my FaceBook friends get all judgmental and attack someone who states a simple truth.
6. My late Mom and I loved to eat and had/have a tendency to put on weight. So she worked out DAILY. Her peers almost all grew to the size of this lady. One of them (a very dear family friend) actually sat on a solid wood dining chair in my parents house and snapped it it in two. These were not victims. They, like me, were choosing to get fat while my Mom, RIP, worked out every day.
7. I HAVE seen a fat person break the back of an airline seat. I have sat next to a really fat guy on a recent flight who basically squished me into the wall. They are welcome to buy two seats instead of penalizing the rest of us who still (barely) fit in an airline seat.
8. I agree with my friend Nancee Lee, most people find it easier to sit back and label people as victims rather than either keep them from getting unhealthy or helping them get healthy again.
9. A former friend of mine TCB in Miami was like a size 2 when I first met her as friends in end 1989. We did not meet a few years and she turned into a size 16. She had been unhappy and eating unhealthy, and other "laid" excuses we all make. When we met again around 2005-2008, she was down to size 8 even as she was turning 40 soon thereafter (a time I am told it gets even harder to lose and keep off weight). We are not in contact now but I want to mention her for her discipline I saw back then. I saw how she made the effort, portion control, calorie control, light exercise even though she was partly asthmatic or something, and so on. So, when people care enough to care about themselves, they choose do something about it.
And, lastly, comment number ten….
10. I grew up away from home, with my grandmother, who, showing love for a little kid away from his parents, let me eat all I wanted… ice-cream, chocolate cake, etc. Within 2-3 years in Karachi, Pakistan I was the fattest kid in class if not all of St. Paul's English High School. I was constantly made fun of. Fatty Bumbola Drink Coca Cola they called me! And the best I could come back with would be, "You are 7-Up". Maybe that is why I prefer Pepsi? LOL. (Actually I believe that may be because reportedly Pepsi has more sugar in it!). Anyway, I have been fat, been less fat, been more fat, and up and down, and am still FAT!
I hold the key to my present and future health in my own choices.
Someone calling me Fat doesn't bother me. But someone thinking I am a victim is truly a bigger insult.
What do you think?