Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Watching Waistlines and Borders

Sitting in my hotel room when I’m on the road, I watch a lot of TV. Some would argue that I could make better use of my time (e.g. teaching personal hygiene classes at the local Y, reading to the deaf, herding cats, etc.), and they may have a point. But after reading this, you’ll be glad I wile away the hours glued in front of the boob tube surfing like a maniac. I’ve unearthed a conspiracy that is more vast and pernicious than Dan Rather’s toupee. Indulge me.

In the same night of viewing, I saw a brief news story on CNN detailing the unprecedented rise in obesity rates among illegal aliens. (Apparently one government agency can get close enough to illegal aliens to measure their body mass indexes, but the Border Patrol is completely befuddled by this elusive cadre of sojourners.) Then, two or three minutes later, MSNBC aired a report on a new link being scientifically established between obesity and dementia. My mind started racing upon hearing the details of this second report. I was having visions of thousands of illegal aliens just snapping and taking to the streets. Before I let myself get caught up in the hysteria, I flipped the channel to one of the local news stations.

After returning from a live remote about a dog who could pick out Democratic presidential candidates from a photo array by peeing on them (the photos, of course), the anchor screwed up his face into the most somber, gravely serious look he could muster. He looked straight into the camera, as if he were peering into my soul, and reported that there was a shortage of lard in the U.K. Oh, the humanity! What would the world be like without the culinary buzzkills of English gastronomy? Quickly, I thought of ways to stem this horrible tide of evil. A worldwide benefit concert – Lard Aid – might do it. Or perhaps have elementary school children bring in cans of Crisco to be loaded and shipped off to Britain. However, in the midst of my brainstorming session, I felt the need to continue flipping channels either for a cathartic soothing or a means to find an answer.

Screaming past a movie about a woman in peril (Lifetime, I’m sure) and the blatherings of a middle-aged man over how toile was the bull in the interior decorating china shop (I swear he said that), I stopped at Fox News. I caught the tail end of a story about sea slugs being used for memory enhancement, and that’s when the night’s viewing came full circle. The epiphany figuratively hit me like a crazy, obese Guatamelan man eating a pasty (but not wearing one, thank goodness!): more ruthless than the mafia, more bent on settling scores than the IRA, and more annoying than a car full of four-year olds hopped up on Orange Soda and chicken nuggets asking you how much farther, it’s the French! They’re behind all of this madness!

What’s one of the most fattening and addictive foods readily available to young and old illegal aliens alike? French fries. If we’re preoccupied with keeping the streets free and clear of overweight lunatics (illegal, naturalized, and US-born), who’s going to have the time to help Boeing fend off the French government-sponsored Airbus from taking over the aircraft manufacturing industry? (Do we really want to fly in airplanes brought to us by the same country who brought us Le Car?) Sure, our friends the British would be willing to help, but the French have deftly shorted their lard supply. The Brits have their own set of hand-wringing problems now.

I realize all of this seems a stretch, perhaps circumstantial. I was leaning in that direction, I’ll admit, until I saw the last bit on the sea slugs. What other mollusk (of the gastropod genus) is similar to a slug? Do I even have to say it? Yes, it’s the snail. And who tries to sell the world on how posh and debonair it is to eat snails? Yes, the French! They control the mollusk market, and they’re holding it over our heads. Our own government knows it, but it’s all very hush-hush.

If the French were to make sea slugs readily available to the world thus enabling all to have free access to memory enhancement, we would all be able to recall that the food pyramid did not have a base of Ho-Hos, Twinkies, French Fries, and Moon Pies. By remembering these fundamental dietary truths our grade-school teachers spent hours trying to drill into our heads while we ate paste, we would all begin to slim down (illegal aliens included), and obesity-related dementia would be a thing of the past. (However, crazy or not, we would all continue to know that lard-laden English food tastes like the paste we ate in our younger years and avoid it like the French avoid combat.)

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