Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The fat guy in the little cafe routine

It always annoys me when people from other nations scoff at Americans for being fat. First of all, neither myself nor most of those I know are particularly overweight, and secondly, the only reason folks in foreign lands aren't as fat as the typical American (who I will admit is larger than God intended) is that non-Americans are a little behind the times and have yet to be fully exposed to the sedentary starchy and super-sized lifestyle that defines the twenty-first century.

But in this global market bad habits spread fast, and today comes more evidence that the Europeans, faced with a tidal wave of fast-food-eating-all-day-Nintendo-playing youth, are quickly catching up with Americans for overall girth.

So take that, Pierre, Hans, Joop, Bjorn, Sergio, Giovanni and Basil. If you had had any prescience at all you wouldn't have been laughing at my countrymen for being susceptible to "fourth meal" fast-food marketing campaigns. Rather you would have been praising me for resisting the succulent charms of the 64 ounces of carbonated sugar water and the endless plates of grease-fried potato products that surround me -- while you were getting off easy in a prehistoric world of lukewarm spring water and modest baguette sandwiches.

But soon I'll be laughing too. Remember America is a new country, built for people who work in offices and hit the all-you-can eat buffet at the China House for lunch, while Europe was built for half-starving shoemakers, weavers and hatters.

I'm not even sure Europe's next generation of fatties will be able to fit through the tiny alleyways that go for roads over there, let alone maneuver the old world's medieval doorways and interior halls.

And then there are those glorified motorcycles generously referred to as cars. When Europe gets over the initial shame of having followed America down a rabbit hole of lard, Europeans everywhere will discover that there is nothing more funny than a really fat guy trying to get into a really small automobile. So, at least from a general comedic perspective, a continent's inevitable broadening will have its advantages.

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