It was a Saturday morning ritual for way too many years.
I’d get up, grab one of our Arrowhead Melmac bowls, pour it over the brim with Sugar Frosted Flakes, add four or six tablespoons of sugar for good measure, pour as little milk as I could get away with and settle in for a couple hours of Bugs Bunny, Blabber Mouse, The Flintstones, and The Roadrunner. During the course of those two hours I’d make a second cereal bowl like the first one and follow it up by mainlining via a kitchen spoon four or five servings of pure unadulterated empty calories from the sugar bowl.
During the course of a Saturday I’d also manage to down a couple of 16-ounce bottles of glass Pepsi back before the beverage companies discovered corn fructose was a cheaper alternative to sugar.
Given the number of years I did that every Saturday morning followed up by downing an inordinate amount of what is today dismissed as pure poison — potato chips, Twinkies, and fast food — I should have been in a diabetic coma years ago. My mouth also should have resembled Swiss cheese plugged with fillings too numerous to count.
My idea of working up a sweat as a kid was trying to speed read through two books a day. As for sports, my coordination was so bad the one year I struggled on a Little League team I actually took it as a compliment when I was being taunted by adults watching games that I threw like a girl given the fact it took the coach who had the patience of Job four weeks to get me to release the ball in time so my throws didn’t resemble the spiking of a football after a touchdown.
I am neither dead nor have I had more than two cavities in my life time.
Those days seem like a lifetime ago.
Breakfast is yogurt, oranges, a banana, apple and almonds. It’s been that way for 10 years and counting.
I haven’t purchased sugar per se for 30 years.
The hours I spend each week watching TV — or anything that passes as such whether it is video or production quality endeavors on the Internet — I can count on one hand. Usually that happens only a Saturday evening when I’ve returned from either giving platelets or recovering from at least a 6-hour day hike. My selections today center around “Major Crimes”, “The Middle”, “Madame Secretary”, and watching re-runs of “Law & Order” that I memorized 10 years ago. That is also the only time I’m a proverbial couch potato.
And, based on my last pre-platelets donation check my resting heart rate is 50, my blood pressure 108 over 80, my iron is OK, and I weigh 172 pounds while standing 5-foot-11. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs — unless chocolate chip cookies count. I don’t drink. I wear a helmet when I bicycle. And I don’t own a gun.
Based on the political correct movement I should be the poster child for the nanny government campaign to modify personal behavior through draconian taxes and passing laws to raise the minimum age to smoke tobacco but surprisingly not medical marijuana. I’m not.
In fact, I can honestly say the change in virtually every “bad habit” as they are now perceived — and I might add correctly in my opinion — wasn’t the result of nagging by the government or anyone else. Nor was it because of a doctor as I managed to stay away from them until after I dropped 160 pounds save for two trips to the emergency room — one from a car accident and the other from a roof collapsing on me which is actually a funny story for another day.
Real change isn’t something that takes hold with punitive taxes, treating people like lepers, or by government decree.
Arguably financial punishment whether it is in the form of draconian taxes or as court penalties for things such as marijuana possession and drunken driving or taxing candy aren’t exactly proven agents of change.
Neither is shaming nor issuing edicts on what people essentially put in — or do to — their body very effective.
I get that society has to have standards. I get there is a cost to society from those that indulge in being sloth and who partake in gluttony. But if you believe the Big Brother model is the answer then by all means apply for a visa to North Korea.
But what I don’t get are politicians, activists and others who rail against controls over everything from smoking marijuana to abortion who have no problem with unleashing the government to penalize people for drinking soda, eating junk food, and such.
Russia has a 26.2 percent adult obesity rate compared to 35 percent in the United States. The Russian government employs a much sharper use of taxes and shaming to get people in line.
But then again the country that has got it down to an art is North Korea. Their adult obesity rate is at 2.5 percent ranking it 173rd in the world.
Having said that, have you noticed Kim Jong-un isn’t exactly Slim Jim?
If obesity is the price of freedom from government control so be it.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Journal or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.