Thursday, July 5, 2012

Supersize Me!

          I didn’t see it in the news, because to be honest, I find the news rather depressing and would rather watch Gilligan’s Island in case they ever manage to get off the island.  Besides, I’m not a fan of newscasters trying to tell me how I should think.  I have the girls for that.
          I remember when reporters used to do just that, report the news, and left the opinionated commentary to Andy Rooney.  Now, everyone has an opinion and if the public doesn’t agree with it, then shame on them.  They are obviously not of the intelligent enlightened class.
          I don’t feel bad about not knowing what’s on the news, either.  I had a friend several years ago that didn’t know that a hurricane was going to hit us and most of the town had already evacuated.  Most people tend to go about their merry way, not really caring what the overpaid guardians of special interest groups are doing.  Of course, then they try to screw with my Big Gulp and like everyone else I’m outraged.
          I came across this infringement of rights via Facebook thanks to my friends who do read the news and blast out what they are against so the rest of us know which way the wind is blowing.  I’ll pretend that you are like me and too busy searching for news about Avengers 2 to know what’s being done behind our backs, but it is being done, and so I’ll share it with you.  The government in New York City, much concerned about the welfare of the voting public is putting a ban on supersized drinks.  There will be no more sugar-sweetened beverages larger than 16 ounces and those people who do insist on giving the people what they want will be smacked with a $200 fine.  Of course, I don’t know if that’s per beverage or just an overall onetime fee.  Maybe we should all just pitch in and pay the two hundred bucks up front and forego the refills.
          Whether I devour one massive Coke or four tiny glasses of the sweetened nectar is totally up to me.  I don’t believe my dietary habits are any of Uncle Sam’s business.  If I’m thirsty, I’m going to drink as much as I want.  If I’m hungry, I’ll eat as much as I want of whatever I want.  I had to tolerate my parents selecting my dining experience when I was a kid; I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow someone else to dictate what I can consume now that I’m an adult.  Okay, so the girls may choose what I eat, but I eat all I want when they’re not looking.  I’m an adult, after all.
          Of course, the city isn’t trying to tell anyone “No,” at least not according to New York City’s health commissioner, Thomas Farley.  “It’s saying, ‘Are you sure?  Do you really want that?’”  It’s like Word when I go to close a document asking, “Are you sure you want to close Word?  Did you do it by accident?  Did the cursor jump up and click x on its own?”  However, isn’t putting a ban on something really saying, “No.  You can’t have it?”    Furthermore, what if you really do want it?  The cost of wanting it is now $200 plus the cost of the soda and all because you didn’t make the choice Big Brother wanted you to make.  That’s like being put in time out for not attending the college your parents wanted you to.
          The reason behind this ban is because America is overweight.  Of course, they use the word “obesity,” but that sounds way too harsh to me.  It conjures up visions of a nation of Sumo Wrestlers who can barely fit through the sliding glass doors on my back porch.  Personally, I think if we’re going to ban my supersized Coke, we should also ban television, video games and computers.  I mean, if it wasn’t for them my fat ass might be outside more.  We should also close Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as they suck away hours of my time once I open them up, keeping me from chasing the neighborhood kids out of my yard.
          Supersized drinks are not the problem; supersized laziness is, however.
          Of course, when you start taking away people’s freedoms they start trying to get logical on you.  “What’s to keep me from just getting up and getting refill after refill?”  Yet, the reason most of us get the oversized soda in the first place is because we’re too lazy to go back for refills.  Otherwise, we’d get the cheaper drink and save ourselves some money.  The government knows this and is counting on it.
          One of the problems I have with this whole campaign is that they’re blaming the wrong people.  Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, is upset with the beverage industry for not “owning up to their role in the nation’s weight struggle” according to an article by Susan Heavey.  “The industry needs to acknowledge that they are part of the problem,” Nutter is paraphrased as saying.  However, that only reveals that they believe Americans are weak and too stupid to take care of ourselves.  The finger should not be pointed at the companies, but at the people purchasing the drinks.  No one forces us to drink or not drink something.  The blame belongs on us and to believe a beverage company is responsible for my Grinch belly is like saying Charles Barkley should be a role model.  It’s asinine and mere political games.
          According to the article I read, Health Advocates are comparing the tactics to that taken with the no smoking campaign.  Soon people will embrace the smaller drinks just as they did the bans on smoking in public places.  Now there are designated smoking places, usually by the trash dumpsters, and eventually they will be joined by obese people sucking down carbonated sugar 32 ounces at a time wondering if they’ll survive until the next designated spot.
          Of course, comparing it to smoking carries it all just a little too far, I believe.  How many people have you met who have died of second hand carbonation?  The possibility of that just grosses me out as I don’t like sharing drinks to begin with.  Get your own 44 ouncer!
          “We are trying to save lives,” they say, which translates into obese people add to the health care costs of America.  Yet, what about the amount of free money handed to lazy people through the welfare system?  We could save billions and make people exercise just by making them get up and get a job.  Why attack those of us making a contribution to society by paying taxes as well as buying our own drinks instead of saving money by making the moochers of society take responsibility for themselves?
          Government is never happy with just a little control.  Once they get an inch they interpret that to be the proverbial mile and go it for it all.  It’ll start at the soda fountain, but then it will invade our homes and glass makers will be forced to do away with tall glasses over 16 ounces, as well.  Soon people will be filling tea pitchers with Coke and drinking it from there while watching C.S.I. determine that the fat man died simply because he couldn’t move.
          People always figure out a way to get what they want and the supersized beverage is no different.  People will be selling 32 ounce cups on street corners that you can sneak in with you and fill up.  Most fast food joints have the soda fountains in the dining area, so this won’t be an issue.  They’ll drop “Supersize” from the menu and replace it with an “I brought my own cup” price, which will just coincidentally be the same as the banned supersize product.  That’s how after hours bars work, after all.  You bring in the alcohol and they charge you an exorbitant amount to pour it, but hey, it is their glass, after all.  Where there is a will, there is a way, and people always figure out a way to cheat the system.  Look to the welfare system as proof.
          We are told that reducing obesity by “10 percent in New York City would save about 500 lives a year.”  I think Mr. Bloomberg is thinking way too small.  Why, they could triple that amount easily by putting a ban on stupidity.  Of course, that would also free up a lot of space in political offices so it has a “win” written all over it.
          The outcry of government overreach is loud and I have to admit I’m screaming as well.  However, I don’t like Home Owners Associations, either.  I just don’t feel that other people have the right to tell me what to do with what is mine, whether it’s my house or my body.  It’s my life.  I will do with it as I please.  You’ve made me aware of the health risks as was your job, now it’s up to me to listen or not.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink if he really wants a 32 ounce Dr. Pepper.  The government needs to stop wasting time and money on laws that are really not their prerogative to institute and finish widening the highway.
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