That damn cat is back.
I spied the black and grey stray lurking about the backyard on the first morning of the New Year. I’d seen him months before and shooed him off any number of times, but he’s back again. I bet he thinks I wouldn’t notice, the same bet I have about the latest ‘just under the radar news’ story. Maybe the ones who make the Rules of the Road thought we wouldn’t notice. Figuring the rest of us were still groggy from sleep, hung-over from New Year’s Eve or worried about all that fiscal cliff business they’d just sneak the story in, just like the black and gray stray cat out of nowhere just before daylight.
Early on the first morning of the New Year, the current reigning morning TV news goddess reports: “A new study just out by the Center for Disease Control shows that people who are slightly obese live longer than people who are skinny or at their proper weight.1”
Wha!!???? Clearly, Idid not hear Her Royal Morning News Majesty correctly.” Quickly surfing to an alternate TV channel, I spy their news maven, the one who dresses like a prostitute, breathlessly repeating the same story: “A new study by the Center for Disease Control shows people who are slightly obese live longer than people who are skinny or at their proper weight.”
“News Goddess wasn’t kidding. But NOW, she tells us. Good grief!!”
Maybe a thing like this shouldn’t bother me. Maybe not one whit. By now it’s happened enough times you think I’d be used to it and could take it in stride. You’d be right too…you would be… but this is another big miss, another time the folks who supposedly know what’s good for the rest of us had gotten us to believe they knew exactly what they were talking about, gotten us to buy into a some concept, some big idea– and then — out of nowhere– they’d said ‘Whoa…whoa big fella. Never mind that stuff… that you’ve been doing –or believing in — all this time. Whoa.’
Perhaps the first time the world had gotten its first big “never mind” was when the folks who were in charge reversed themselves on the fact the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved it and not vice versa as it turned out — though you do wonder how they could’ve been so wrongheaded about such a thing in the first place. You no doubt recall that whole thing with Pluto a few years back. First it was a planet then it wasn’t. Banks too big the fail were once the rage, then not so much. Once upon a time they’d gotten us all hooked –absolutely hooked– on easy credit, the benefits of eating copious amounts of red meat, acetaminophen and drinking bottled water rather than the stuff from the tap. On all of these things the authorities eventually said: “Uh…er, sorry folks. We wuz wrong. We wuz also wrong about ‘dem PSA tests too and mammograms, vitamin supplements and the required elapsed time between eating and jumping into the deep end. Oh, and we’ve changed our minds about the ‘public option’ too. Sorry.”
This latest miss though—the one about weight and fat and all –is a biggie. And while those other big never minds didn’t bother me as much; I’m not just a bystander this time. I’ve got skin in the game, literally my own blood, sweat – and skin. There was also the business with the police.
The excess weight had plagued me for years and I’d tried everything to win the battle of the bulge, everything short of a blow torch, dynamite or witchcraft. Counting carbs, counting calories, high-protein diets, low protein diets, high fiber diets, low fiber intake, fasting, starvation, meditation, hypnosis, water-boarding…you name it. Nothing worked, at least not permanently. Every attempt ended with me throwing up my hands and stalking off the diet. The naked truth is my weight has always had a mind of its own. Always! It’s mind is not unlike that of the black and gray stray cat that’s back again or a lay about in-law, both of whom at one time or another have taken up seemingly long term residency on my living room sofa. Like both the cat and the in-law, my weight came and went as it pleased –when it wanted to go – not when I wanted. I had no say in the matter, no command of the situation whatsoever.
As much as I would have liked, I couldn’t –like you could a cat– just shoo my excess weight into a burlap sack, throw the sack into the trunk of the car and a two hour drive later, drop it off deep in a far away wood and then hightail it home before the cat er, rather …. my weight – could figure out what the hell happened. You just couldn’t! (By the way, in case the people at PETA happen to be reading, I’ve never done any of this burlap-bag-far-away-wood stuff to a real cat or even to my in-law even though both of them deserved such treatment in full measure. Honesty compels me to admit that once, the high price of gas and not being able to locate a burlap bag big enough to contain the both of them was likely the only thing that kept me from making a two hour drive to a far away wood. The imagery actually comes from an old movie I saw in which I think it was either Gregory Peck or Charleston Heston before he played Moses, who was trying to outwit the a felonious feline.) Then, about six months ago, at my wit’s end, again unable to locate a large enough burlap sack or a Board Certified witch doctor to perhaps cast a spell to get rid of the weight, the in-law and the cat I, fittingly enough, stumbled upon a copy of The Walk 10,000 Steps A Day Method to Lose Weight.
Seven months or so later, I can report no matter what those TV fitness sadists might say, aimlessly walking 10,000 steps a day for no apparent reason is an unnatural act and I’ll bet illegal in the red states. Ironically, and as it works out, one of the real tragedies of this whole sorry episode: the 10,000 Steps a Day Method works! It works…for me, at least. And while the pounds didn’t just melt off, I’d managed to lose enough of them to not be classified as slightly obese anymore. As to why the method works I can’t rightly say although I assume the trick of the thing has a lot to do with sheer exhaustion as it pretty much takes all day to do 10,000 of anything. Also after awhile, the goal of aimlessly walking ten thousand steps becomes both improbable and impossible. Ten thousand steps might as well be ten million… or ten zillion – in other words, a Death March.
Success on ‘the Method’ –as well as personal survival– must come largely as a result of calories burned dodging F-150 pick-ups, playing chicken with apparently blind cyclists, outrunning angry pit bulls or finally winning freedom after being pulled over in ‘mid walk’ by the police because some busy body Neighborhood Watch captain has called 911 and reported that you look suspicious s and unlike anyone she’s ever seen before, “…at least not in this part of the neighborhood” and you surely must be casing the joint. After the roadside police interrogation and you manage to walk, run, crawl, roll, stumble and stagger the rest of the 10 trillion steps home, you’re just too exhausted to eat –or do much of anything else except pass out and fall asleep– i.e. assuming you can shoo away the stray cat or lay about in-law still occupying the sofa from when you left at daybreak.
Despite modest success in finally getting rid of the excess baggage around my middle, I’m left in a real conundrum. The authorities tell me it’s all no good now. It’s better to be slightly fat! I’ll live longer they now say.I am perplexed, bewildered more than ever and more than a little estranged from the ex-in-law, the people at the CDC as well as morning TV news maven who dresses like a hooker. Weighing the same as you did in high school is now another thing the people who supposedly know what’s good for the rest of us have changed their minds about. In fact, it may well shorten your life. It’s just another item put in the dustbin of history:
HERE LIES IDEAS AND NOTIONS THAT JUST AIN’T TRUE NO MORE.
One wonders what the authorities will change their minds about next. You can bet it won’t be “Never mind. We’ve determined that hot cars, fast women, malt liquor and pie are good for you. Have as much of each as you want.”
After the CDC announcement on New Year’s, I figure the only course of action is to go back and enjoy the giant slice of Mile-High Lemon Meringue I turned down at the Cheesecake Factory a few days back —before we learned the new truth. Now, it looks like I may need to put on a few pounds –for the sake of longevity. Better go back for the lemon meringue soon before the morning TV news goddess who dresses like a hooker and the CDC change their minds back again.
I’ll get started as soon as I leave some milk in a bowl on the back stoop for that stray cat that is lurking around the backyard again. It’s the same one I shooed away about six months ago at the same time as I’d managed to shoo away much of my excess weight. I’ve named him ‘Nevermind’. I have this sinking feeling Nevermind may be back for good this time.
1“Our Absurd Fear of Fat,” Paul Campos, New York Times, January 3, 2013. “The study, by Katherine M. Flegal and her associates at the C.D.C. And the National Institutes of Health found that all adults categorized as overweight and most of those categorized as obese have a lower mortality risk than so-called normal weight individuals. If the government were to redefine normal weight as one that doesn’t increase the risk of death, then about 130 million of the 165 million American adults categorized as overweight and obese would be re-categorized as normal weight instead.
To put some flesh on those statistical bones, the study found a 6 percent decrease in mortality classified as overweight and a 5 percent decrease in people classified as Grade 1 obese, the lowest level(most of the obese fall in this category.)”
© 2013 Will Cantrell