Archive for May 2008

Missing The Good Old Days

May 30, 2008

You know what sucks?  Daytime television.  Now that it’s summer, I have a decent portion of time between about 10:00 am and 5:00 pm in which I have almost zero responsibility.  On most days, I get out to the golf course, but on days like today when it’s raining and crummy out, I usually toss a load of laundry in and watch some TV.

One thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that there is next to nothing worth watching during the early afternoon.  I hate soaps, there is usually nothing but SportsCenter reruns on ESPN, and most programming is targeted for children and senior citizens since everyone else is at work.  So, what I used to watch in the summer was a heavy dose of good old fashioned cartoons.  Call me a loser if you want, but I love cartoons.  The good ones though, not this new garbage that kids are exposed to.

I love stuff like Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes, which were staples when I was a kid.  Even though they were made 50 years ago, those old Warner Bros. cartoons are genuinely funny.  Sure, most of them were inherently the same in theme, but that was alright.  I was strangely comfortable watching Wile E. Coyote chase after the Roadrunner day after day only to fail every single time.  Same went for Tom chasing Jerry all day as well as Bugs and Daffy trying to convince Elmer Fudd it was either duck season or “wabbit” season.

Now cartoons have to have a message and instead of watching Yosemite Sam fire off a few rounds from his revolvers, kids are watching some jackass named Bob the Builder put up drywall.  Is that what kids should be idolizing – being a construction worker?  I guess that’s the message: Kids, you can be whatever you want, even a manual laborer! Apparently the old cartoons just weren’t politically correct and portrayed images deemed inappropriate for children.  I’m sorry, but if you feel like you need to shield your six year old from Foghorn Leghorn and Porky Pig, then we have deeper problems that I could spin into a completely different post.

Maybe it’s me, but I miss Sylvester and Tweety, but instead I have Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer.  That’s just not cutting it for me.  Not only has Nickelodeon gone soft on us, but the Cartoon Network, which was my last venue to see those old toons on, has dumped them in lieu of cartoons about robots and chickens.

I yearn for what I recognize because not only are these new cartoons weird, but they are completely incomprehensible.  I’m almost 25 years old and I consider myself to be an intelligent person, but I tried watching one of these new age jobbies and I was completely lost the whole way through.  Thank God it’s almost college football season again, because Saturday mornings are getting to be too much to bear.  It’s a good thing I have DVR and a collection of over 300 DVDs or I would go nuts.

Well, I hope you all have a good weekend.  If the weather cooperates, this might be the weekend I start my garage sale hunting for things I am going to need for my new apartment.  At one time or another, I’ve thought of at least 20 major things, only I haven’t had the genius thought to write them down, so I am going to go in search of the basics (i.e. kitchen table, furniture, perhaps a grill) and see where it takes me.

See you in June!

One love,

10

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I Love Pie

May 27, 2008

Sorry, couldn’t think of a better title. This post has nothing to do about pie whatsoever. Forgive me.

Anyway …

Happy Tuesday. Have a good weekend? Good, good. Mine was alright, even though it was a bit exhausting, especially Friday and Saturday. As I mentioned in my last post, I had an all-nighter to pull between my job and my other obligations. Everything went well, but I was incredibly exhausted when I got home from work Saturday morning. By the time I finally got home, I looked like Chris Legh, that triathlete who collapsed at the Ironman Competition in 1997. (If you’re not familiar with what I am talking about, see video below at about the 20 second mark).

After being up for 31 straight hours, and working for about 16 of them, I crashed at 9:30 AM and didn’t arise until about 5:30 PM. The only reason I woke up then was because I had to be back at work by 6:00. Oh well, I survived, despite dozing off a few times while driving home from work in the morning. Now that is some scary stuff. I was driving in the right lane, and when I woke up, I was half in the ditch on the left side of the road. Thank God for rumble strips or I would be writing this from intensive care.

With that busy weekend looming over me, I lost track of a few things that I wanted to get done. I have a few loads of laundry that are begging to be done, and I paid a bill late for probably only the second time in about 8 years. I really hate the feeling of paying a bill late because I have this paranoid vision of a group of stuffy guys with turkey necks in business suits passing my bill around a big oak table and scoffing at it.

“Wholly unacceptable! This is an outrage!”
“What a deadbeat!”
“Blahhhhh! Gobble gobble gobble!”

In truth, I paid the bill online the day it was due, but apparently it takes three days to process so bada bing, bada boom … late fee. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that’s crap. Oh well, not a thing I can do about it, so I won’t piss and moan about it. I guess I just figure that with modern technology as good as it is, I should be able to pay a bill online the day it’s due and not incur a penalty.

My next three weeks are going to be pretty plain and boring, and full of nothing but work for the most part. But in a few weeks, I make my way down to Minneapolis for my weekend hanging with JK and relaxing. Then shortly after that it will be time for me to move (more on that in a minute). In between then and now, I am hell bent on getting out and having some kind of fun at least a couple times. If I don’t, then I foresee myself becoming the equivalent of a crazy bag lady or some other kind of loner/cast away, seeing as how the most exciting part of my weekend was the marathon of Law & Order: SVU on USA. Well, I guess it was a tie between that and the grocery shopping I did.

I absolutely LOVE grocery shopping for multiple reasons. First is the fact that it signifies that I can finally eat something other than peanut butter sandwiches. I generally stock up big when I go and then let the food run down to nothing before I shop again. A second reason I love it is for the people watching, which is almost as good as it gets sometimes. But the reason I love grocery shopping the most is for the time when I return home with all my newly purchased food and I have to try to figure out what I want to eat first. Nine out of ten times, I have a mini smorgasboard in which I have a little bit of a few different things that I bought. Like today, I had some salad, a granola bar, and a turkey sandwich. Maybe I’m a big loser about this, but I really love having food in the house. Even more, I love having milk and juice in the house, because I get sick of water fairly quick and I can go through two gallons of milk in an average week.

In apartment news, as you may or may not know, I found a place that suits me well and I laid out a deposit for it last week and was given July 3rd as my move-in date. The only problem with that is the fact that I have to be out of my current apartment on June 30th, so there is a two day period where I am in a sort of apartment purgatory. I asked if I could stay a couple extra days in my current place, but the unit has been rented out and there will be people moving in immediately after I get out. This leaves me with one option, and one option only. I called up my Mom today and we had this exchange:

Me: “Hey Mom, can I move back home?”
Mom: “WHAT?! You can NOT be serious. Why?”
Me: “Well, it will just be for two days, but I’m glad I know where you stand on that issue now.”

I love freaking my Mom out like that. We have a fantastic relationship so we are constantly doing little things like that to one another. Anyway, she has a friend who owns a trailer, and I have been granted permission to use it so I can avoid hauling everything in and out of my Mom’s house for just a two day stint. Instead I will just lock everything I own inside the trailer, and hope no one gets ambitious enough to steal every worldly possession I own. Cross your fingers!

One more random topic before I sign off. I purchased Usher’s new CD “Here I Stand” today, and for all of you fans of Usher, this album is an absolute must. I might be a little quick on the trigger here, but I am ready to call this the album of the year. Un-freakin-believable.

That’s all I’ve got for today. To all of you out there who love your Daddy, remember that Father’s Day is just about two weeks away, so get your gift ideas straight. Father’s Day is harder than Mother’s Day because moms are generally satisfied with all the standard female gifts like flowers, chocolate, a card, or any variation of the three. Men are a little more tricky, but a naked lady calendar and a case of high-end beer will probably do the job for most.

One love,

10

I’m Running Out Of Ideas

May 22, 2008

I have nothing to write about.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Goose egg.  This is one serious case of writer’s block that I’m in.  If only my life were more interesting …

As it stands, I suppose I could tell you how things are going for me and let you in on what’s new with my life, simple as it is.

Work is continuing to be great.  Now that school is over, I am working a lot of overtime.  Five days a week I work double shifts at Fed Ex, on the sixth, I work my morning shift at Fed Ex and I spend my afternoon and evening bartending for Ladies’ League at my golf course, which is a blast.  On the seventh day, I rest.  It gets a little exhausting but the paychecks make it all worthwhile.

This weekend is going to be a real testament to my manhood.  Friday morning, I work my usual shift from 5-9 AM after which I will be sticking around for another hour or so for a training class I have to take.  Then I go back for the evening shift from 6-10 PM.  After that, it’s straight home to shower and change, because starting at 11:00, I am dealing blackjack at the post-graduation party for my old high school.  It’s a tradition I’ve done each year since I graduated and it is one hell of a fun night.  Basically all the seniors get fake money to play games and gamble with in order to get as much fake money as possible, then at the end of the night there is an auction with some really cool stuff up for grabs.  This whole ordeal will last until about 4:00 in the morning, at which time I will throw some water in my face, eat a five pound bag of sugar, and go back to work at Fed Ex at 4:40 until about 9:30.

Over/under on the number of times I need to slap myself in the face to stay awake during my shift: 43

I’ll probably get home just before 10:00 and I’ll probably be asleep within 32 seconds of walking in the door.  I have nothing to do until I go back to work at 6:00, so I imagine that I’ll sleep almost the whole time.

Enough about work though.  In another corner of my life, I put down a deposit on a new apartment today.  I went about two weeks ago and took a look at it and basically fell in love with the place.  As much as I am excited about living alone and getting into a new place, I am going to miss living with B-Weezy like crazy.  Let’s face it, I love the kid.  When he moved in with me two years ago, he was like a lump of clay.  Since then, I have molded him and turned him into the man he is today.  Alright maybe I’m tooting my own horn a little too hard there.  But we’ve learned a lot from each other and it’s been the time of my life.

My new apartment will be vacant on June 30th, and the maintenance guys need a few days to make sure everything is in good working order, so my move-in date is July 3rd, which is a Thursday.  So, if there are any of you who don’t have anything to do over the July 4th weekend, you’re more than welcome to help me move.  I mean, it’s not like there is anything special about that weekend anyway.  I imagine most people will just be sitting around at home watching reruns of House or something.

Yes, I am being sarcastic.  I am screwed and it looks like I’ll be moving all by my lonesome.  Oh well, I’ve done it more than once before, and it’s not a big deal … it just takes forever.

For now, I am basically counting the days until I saddle up and go back down to Minneapolis to visit JK and attend the Kanye West concert.  Everything I’ve heard about the show has been incredible, and even Diddy himself said the show he went to changed his life.  That doesn’t come until June 11th, but time has been flying, and that’s only a few weeks away now.   You had best believe I will have a lengthy post about that weekend as I did last time I went down to the big city.  There is never a shortage on good stories that come from a guys’ weekend.

Speaking of JK, he was getting on me last week because he wants me to write something deep and controversial on this blog, but when I pressed him for an idea, he curled up in the fetal position and backed down hard.  So, if you’ve got any ideas for something deep and pressing, let me know.  Forewarning, I will not write about the war or abortion, and I’ve already written about gay rights.  So, something else please.

Well folks, it’s bedtime for this guy.  I hope you all have an excellent weekend.  I will definitely not have any time to write again until Sunday at the earliest, so if you’re looking for something to pass the time, try different combinations of setup for a Mr. Potato Head doll.

One love,

10

Rethiking My Bathroom Reading Material

May 18, 2008

You know, with school being done, I really thought I would have a lot more time to spend writing a few times a week in between work and golf.  Turns out, I have been golfing a ton more than I expected.  Hey, can you blame me?  The weather is finally coming around up in my area, and I cannot bring myself to spend these nice days pent up inside.

Despite my absence, I have had things to write about that have come and gone, and I really need to start writing some ideas down because I feel like a 90 year old man when my memory fails me like that.  What’s got me even more in a box is the fact that the idea I had for my next post was stolen from me.  Yes, stolen … sort of.  Here’s the story:

So I got this month’s Maxim magazine in the mail on Wednesday, and they unknowingly stole my idea for a blog post when they ran their article about the ten worst broadcasters in sports. This was going to be my next top ten list, and I have actually had this as an idea for a couple months now. So since that post is now down the drain, I figured I could tell you why I am beginning to really dislike Maxim (aside from them invading my brain and stealing my ideas).

I have had a subscription for a couple years now. The first year’s subscription was given to me as a gift, and right when it was about to expire, the magazine sent me some hulla balloo in the mail saying that I could renew and get two more years for something like $20. At less than a dollar an issue, I couldn’t afford not to scoop up on that deal. I mean seriously, that’s a hell of a deal considering they are $5 each if you were to buy one magazine.

But, now that I’m a couple years into it, I’m starting to realize that this magazine just isn’t doing it for me anymore. To be quite honest, if you’ve read about five or six different issues, you’ve basically got the gist of about 95% of everything they’re ever going to cover. Aside from the fact that the magazine itself has fewer and fewer pages every stinkin’ month (added to the fact that the ratio of advertisements to actual content is becoming laughable), the material seems to get cycled through repeatedly depending on what time of the year it is. For example, at Christmas, they tell you about all the cool gifts you should ask for, but can’t afford, and in summer, they tell you about all the cool summer vacations you should be taking, but also can’t afford. Take last month’s issue; they ran an article about cool ideas for bachelor parties. All of them sound really fun, but the cheapest one was $1,200 per person and ran all the way up to just over 14 grand per person. I really don’t think the magazine’s core demographic can afford that kind of stuff.

Each month sees a different lady gracing the cover, and despite what you think, I very rarely give two shits about that person and her subsequent interview and racy photo shoot. But since sex sells, they toss some thin lingerie on a good looking broad, and bada bing bada boom they’ve sold ten million copies despite the fact that there is next to no substance at all. All they do is throw in a different set of overly expensive items each month that only 3% of the population can afford and top it off with a few different interviews with random celebs. One of the only reasons I used to enjoy reading the magazine was for the jokes that people used to send in, and they don’t even get published anymore.

I know I will not be renewing my subscription for a second time when this run expires.  I would rather find something else to read in the bathroom.  Any suggestions?  I also have a subscription to Golf Digest, which I really like but also foresee it getting repetitive after a year or so.  I’ve already had subscriptions to both ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated in the past few years and I liked them both, but I watch SportsCenter and lots of other sports programming, so it gets to be overkill.

I would love a few creative ideas from you.  What do you read?  I get a discount on hundreds of different magazine subscriptions through work, so I would be open to a lot of different things.  Hit me with whatever you’ve got.

One love,

10

Hello Moto

May 12, 2008

You know what I’m kind of sick of? Cell phones. Well, it’s more of a love-hate relationship than anything. While I couldn’t possibly imagine being without mine, I hate some of the social ramifications they have bestowed upon us. You might know what I’m talking about without even knowing what I’m talking about. Does that make sense? Are you all now dumber for having read that sentence? Probably.

In any case, I’ll give you an example that proves my point. Saturday, the graduating class of the University of North Dakota had its commencement exercises, and a couple of my friends were among the many who got a diploma. One of my buddies was telling me that he spotted more than one person who was on a cell phone during the commencement and hung up only in time to snag their diploma, shake a couple hands, and walk back to take a seat. He said there was a girl in front of him who went so far as to crouch down while she talked so as not to be seen. Also, I rarely go to the movies anymore, but the last time I did, someone thought they were so important that they had to answer their phone during the movie. Seriously, you’re not that important.

Is this what it’s coming to? Are we so detached and needy that we can’t be without our precious phones for a couple hours? Honestly, have you ever left your phone behind or been without it for an extended period of time? Life goes on. Sure, you might miss a couple calls and a handful of text messages, but none of them are about anything so important that it can’t wait. I personally enjoy time without my phone here and there. It’s a liberating feeling for me and it’s something I rather enjoy not having to worry about from time to time.

For instance, I never ever take my phone with me out on the course when I go golfing. I golf to relax and enjoy the game and (hopefully) the company. I can sit on my ass and text any other time of the day, but when I get outside, I want to enjoy it, and not having to even think about my phone ringing is a feeling I thoroughly enjoy.

On the other hand, B-Weezy, for example, can’t go five minutes without his phone before shaking and convulsing uncontrollably. He’s on the polar opposite end of the spectrum from me in that he has no shame about answering his phone (or making calls for that matter) when I’m in the middle of trying to tee off.

Where, might you ask, is this all going? Well, I guess what I am driving at is that there is acceptable cell phone etiquette that I think we are straying from. I’m just as guilty as the next man sometimes, I can admit that. But, I figure if we lay some ground rules here, we can start getting back to good.

So, submitted for your approval, here are my Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Usage.

I. Thou shalt keep the ringer at a modest volume level, especially indoors.

II. Thou shalt respect modern technology and refrain from yelling into the phone. Yes, they can hear you now.

III. Thou shalt avoid douchebaggery and not use a Bluetooth device unless you are driving.

IV. Thou shalt always silence the ringer of any call you do not plan to answer. Allowing a phone to ring until voicemail picks up is quite unacceptable.

V. Thou shalt not have a music ringtone after the age of 21. Leave that for the high school crowd.

VI. Thou shalt respect friend time and avoid being on your phone at length when with your pals.

VII. Thou shalt understand that the vibrate setting is your friend, especially in class, meetings, the movies, at work, and every other place you know you shouldn’t have your phone.

VIII. Thou shalt follow proper text message etiquette and at least make an effort to spell things out. Leave the abbreviations for the junior high crowd.

IX. Thou shalt not allow cell phone usage to interfere with medial tasks like ordering food in a restaurant or being in a checkout line.

X. Thou shalt always leave a message if a call back is expected.

I think that if we all followed these simple guidelines, people (namely: me) would be a lot happier overall. If you’ve ever worked in a customer service job, you know what a pain in the ass people can be if they’re on the phone while you’re trying to help them. It’s not difficult really, just use common sense. It’s all about the golden rule – Don’t pee into the wind. Wait … that’s not right. Treat others how you want to be treated. Yeah, that’s it.

One love,

10

Arrested Development: Pure Genius

May 6, 2008

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I … I don’t know what to say. I guess I’m sorry. Long story short, it was a busy weekend and the beginning of this week isn’t cooperating either. On the bright side, I’ve got one final tomorrow at 1:00 and then I’m done for the summer, so I got that going for me … which is nice. Then you and I can spend more quality time together, and by “quality time,” I mean the spare time I have in between work and golf.

Went and sold my text books back today, and suffice it to say that my ass is a bit chapped from the spanking I took at the hands of the bookstore. I dug up my receipt from the beginning of the semester, and it made me even more mad to actually see the amount I got slicked for.

Total spent on books for four classes: $463.38
Total received upon selling them back: $60.00

Now that’s what I call keeping the money in the hands of those who need it. (Please note sarcasm).

In another money-related situation, coming into this golf season, I was pretty content with everything I had equipment wise. Since B-Weezy had his entire set stolen, he’s been trying out a few different clubs here and there, and I happened upon one of the drivers he had taken for a demo, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I’m talking love like Barry White sang about, minus the fireside love making. So now I’ve got myself in a box I don’t want to be in, where I know a new toy would make me better and therefore happier, but it’s going to come at a price that I don’t want to pay. In all reality, my inner child will more than likely win this battle, and I’ll probably purchase that driver by the end of next week, so I don’t know what I am getting all uppity about.

Even though I made absolutely no effort to write anything over the weekend, I got a lot of other things done. I finally, finally watched Superbad since I was pretty much sick of being the only person on planet f*cking Earth that hadn’t seen it. It lived up to the hype for me, and I laughed out loud constantly despite the fact that I was watching it by myself. There were so many one-liners and memorable quotes in that movie that I couldn’t even keep tabs on all of them. I fully plan on watching it at least two or three more times in the near future to get a firm grasp on those zingers.

While we’re on the subject of hilariousness, I bought the third and final season of Arrested Development on DVD and watched that in two sittings. Seriously, thank you to everyone to suggested I watch that show, because I cannot believe how much I like it. And on that note, I will come through on my promise to amend my top ten favorite television shows list to reflect the addition of my new favorite sitcom. Everything stays in the same order as before with respect to everything else and the only change seen is Rob & Big getting bumped out of the top ten, and Arrested Development takes over the number three spot. This moves Friends down to number four, and of course moves everything above that down a spot as well. And like I did for the others, I suppose I could indulge you with my thoughts on the show and run it through the five categories I put the others through as well. And what better time to do that than now.

3. Arrested Development – FOX
This has to be one of the most under-appreciated shows I can think of. I was pretty much in the dark about it myself and it could have gone on that way for who knows how long had you all not stepped up and told me to get it. Never in my life have I laughed harder or more frequently at a show. The humor is witty, clever, subtle, and completely spot on. I am already rewatching the series and I’m halfway through season one again … that is just how much I like this show. One of my favorite things about the show as a whole, though, is the continuation of certain jokes and the way the show always calls back upon previous jokes that are often extremely subtle. The acting in the series is superb, and I really can’t decide which character I like best. They all have their moments. Why, oh why, is this show not still on the air? I did a little looking in on this and found out that part of the reason perhaps lies in the show’s time slot. For the third season, the show ran at the same time as Monday Night Football, which of course led to sub par ratings and forced FOX to cut the season from 22 episodes to 13. FOX then aired the final four episodes in the same time slot as the 2006 Winter Olympics. Yeah, really solid call there boys and girls. David Cross, who plays Tobias on the show, tells you why he thinks the show didn’t do well in the clip below. Don’t worry, it’s only 38 seconds, you can spare the time and watch it.

Well said, David. As for the future of the show, a lot of rumors swirled about the possibility of an AD movie after the final episode referenced it subtly. While I don’t know about the big screen, a return to the silver screen appears to have been green lit and season four is slated to start production and be ready for Fall 2009. Please, please don’t quote me on this; I only read it on IMDB.com, and those nerds have a lot more time on their hands than I do to look this kind of stuff up. For now, just cross your fingers and pray to whatever God you believe in that all of this is true.

Acting: 4.5
Storyline: 5.0
Eye Candy: 4.0 – I’m sorry, but I have a thing for Alia Shawkat (seen below), and Portia de Rossi isn’t bad either.
Getting-Sucked-In Factor: 5.0
Re-Watchability: 5.0

There isn’t much more I can say about the show without getting carried away and spinning off into a discussion about how ridiculously funny certain scenes and quotes are. If you’re a fan of the show, we can talk about it for hours. If you’ve never seen it, check it out, it’s definitely worth your time. I really believe if the show had been in the hands of another, more competent network, it would still be on the air today. Let’s hope it can make a comeback. I am not going to rule it out, because the same thing happened to Family Guy. FOX canceled it, the fans rose up and poured in their support, and FOX brought it back. Here’s to hoping the same thing can happen again.

For now, I should at least make some kind of an effort to study for my last final of the semester. I’m glad to be back into the swing of things because I went through my entire weekend feeling as if a part of me was missing. Now I’m whole again … except I’m really hungry. Have a great day everyone.

One love,

10

Life in the Fat Lane

May 1, 2008

I stumbled across this article today on MSN.com, and it fascinated me. It goes without saying that obesity is becoming a huge problem in our nation today, but this is sort of a “what if” article. Check it out, it’s actually pretty interesting and eye-opening.

————————————————————————————

What If No One Were Fat?

By Shirley Skeel

In the United States today, 66% of adults are overweight. Almost 33% of adults are obese, and 4.7% are morbidly obese, or more than 100 pounds overweight. But . . .

What if nobody in America were fat?

We’d save billions of dollars in gas. Airlines would double their profits. A dearth of diabetes and other diseases would save billions of dollars more — and put thousands of doctors on the street. McDonald’s would sell not Big Macs but little steamed chicken snacks — or watch its profits melt away. Productivity would rise, potentially creating tens of thousands more jobs or higher wages all around.

Add up the savings up on health, food, clothing and efficiencies, and you could buy a professional home gym for every U.S. household — or hand each $4,270 in cash.

$487 billion in gas, sweat and stretch pants

Yes, it sounds a little wild, but the implications of a leaner, meaner country add up to a weighty $487 billion. That’s almost 3.5% of gross domestic product, no small sum.

Mind you, only 1.8% of that is new growth. The rest is a radical shift in resources, away from the needs of our bigger citizens to . . . well, whatever we and our overlords would spend these extra billions on.

First, let’s put the meat on that $487 billion. The estimates below assume the average American adult is at least 20 pounds overweight, a figure nutritionists see as fair.

  • Savings on fuel for cars and airlines due to their lighter loads would top $5 billion, according to industry studies. Researchers say each overweight driver burns about 18 additional gallons of gas a year, or just under a billion gallons altogether. Savings in the air are far greater: The jet-fuel savings alone could double North American airlines’ forecast 2008 profits to $3.8 billion and maybe persuade them to stop stranding passengers because they can’t afford the fuel for flights. As for oil imports, they’d be dented by less than 1%.
  • Plus-sized clothing costs 10% to 15% more, so shoppers would save $10 billion on shirts, pants and dresses. And clothes might fit better too. Cynthia Istook, an associate professor in textile apparel at North Carolina State University, says the economies of making fewer sizes would be tremendous. Clothing makers could then afford to offer more variety in hip and bust sizes, rather than asking every woman to squeeze into an hourglass shape.
  • Because 3,500 calories translates into a pound of fat, somewhere along the way, America’s 227 million adults have eaten 16 trillion calories too many. That’s 14 billion Big Mac meals, with fries and a soda. Eliminate those and you wipe out $81 billion, or McDonald’s past four years of sales.
  • If Americans were slim and maintained their weight by eating 150 fewer calories a day (half a slice of pizza), that could snip roughly 6.5%, or $20 billion a year, off U.S. farmers’ sales (assuming no extra exports). Bob Young, the American Farm Bureau’s chief economist, says farmers would cope. They’d switch some land from fattening seed oils and sugar beets to fruits and vegetables. Or they might grow corn for ethanol, or even open a hunting resort.
  • The medical costs of obesity-related problems such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease run near $140 billion, or more than 6% of all health-care costs. That ballpark figure was calculated by Joel Cohen, an economic researcher for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, using data from a 1998 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Cohen reckons that if no one were fat, medical insurance costs would fall — to everyone’s delight — and doctors and drug makers could do more preventive care. That sounds good, but Roland Sturm, a senior economist for Rand in Santa Monica, Calif., doubts anyone would pay for preventive care. More likely, he says, some doctors would be on the street. “They could drive cabs,” he suggests.
  • Productivity in the workplace would jump as people took fewer sick days and spent less time at work feeling unwell. Ross DeVol, the director of health economics at the Milken Institute, says the loss of productivity due to people showing up at work sick is “immense.” Using a recent Milken report on the subject, he calculates that if no one were obese, the added output from workers and their caregivers would give the country a $257 billion boost. That’s 1.8% of GDP, enough extra output to allow businesses to hire tens of thousands more workers or to raise wages, economists say. Or at least, that’s the theory. Given bosses’ love of expanding their profits and their own pay, you can count on some of this being spirited away. Just look at 2000 to 2005, when worker productivity rose 16.6% while median wages rose less than half that amount.
  • “Jenny Craig would be very unhappy” if everyone were slim, says Rand’s Sturm. And so she would, along with the rest of the $55 billion weight-loss industry. Trimmed-down citizens would be swapping their diet pills for bikinis and their gastric-banding for nose jobs.

What to do with all that money?

On top of these savings would be billions of dollars more. Manufacturers and builders wouldn’t have to make doorways bigger, car seats wider, furniture stouter. Some even argue that global warming would slow a mite, as consumption of gas, energy, fertilizer and methane-producing cattle decreased.

Even without those extras, the $487 billion reshuffle of the economy would put us on the spot. Exactly how would we spend all this freed-up cash? Optimists sing about improving education or medical research. Others figure we’d fritter away the money.

It seems, in fact, that economists have a word for our usual behavior: suboptimal. That’s what we do. We suboptimize. We think short term instead of long term, reducing our chances of living healthily and happily ever after.

So assuming we didn’t behave like angels, the net effect on the economy of a slimmer population would be a lot of reshuffled resources, with a nice rise in productivity that should take our living standards up a notch.

The social gains are more difficult to predict. Research has shown that people who are not obese marry more, are paid more, are promoted more, sleep better and have better sex lives. We don’t yet know whether people earn less because they’re fat, or whether they’re fat because they earn less. Researchers suspect it is the former because there’s some evidence of discrimination against the obese.

Either way, a slimmer society would, arguably, seem to be more secure and content.

But, of course, then we have the awful question: Can we all be paid more and promoted more and marry more? Only to a limited degree.

Jay Zagorsky, a sociology researcher at Ohio State University, is convinced that society would adjust. We might lose an awful lot of people to pick on, but he concludes: “They will find something else. If it’s not the size of your waist, it may be the size of your nose.”

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Crazy huh? If we as a society could manage to lay off the double cheeseburgers and switch to diet soda, we would (theoretically) live not only longer lives, but happier ones. Think about that next time you pull into McDonald’s.

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