A study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that overeating, lack of exercise, genes, hormones and gamma rays from the THX 1138 spiral galaxy do not cause your weight problems. Your friends do!
The study was described as “one of the most exciting I have seen in decades” by Richard Suzman, director of the National Institute on Aging’s Behavioral and Social Research Program. Which proves one thing: Richard Suzman does not have a very exciting life.
Still, the evidence is clear, and who are you to argue with a prestigious academic publication, you who needs to lose ten pounds by Fourth of July? I mean, you sit there on the couch all day watching soap operas and stuffing your face with Cheezy Puff Balls, while famous scientists run experiments on white lab rats who sit on little couches eating brown pellets while watching the hamsters exercise.
Obesity is a growing problem, and the study points to the only effective way to fight it: Get your friends under control. The Help–My Friends Are Making Me Fat! Hot Line is here to assist you.
Dear Help–My Friends Are Making Me Fat! Hotline:
Last night I went over to my friend’s house to play pinochle. “Darlene” is overweight, to put it mildly. When she walks down the street her big butt in them capri pants she wears looks like two hogs fighting under a sheet. Hot Line–I do not want to end up like her, although I notice my jeans are getting a little snug in the hips lately.
Anyway, Darlene brings out a tray of her favorite snacks–Open-faced peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff sandwiches sprinkled with M&M’s and potato chips. I can send you the recipe if you want.
I had three of them little suckers and wanted to “hold the line” right there, but Darlene kept pushing me to take another, so I had six more. Hot Line–is there a graceful way to decline a snack that your hostess pretty much forces you to eat even if you don’t really want to?
Wanda Jean Embree, Green Ridge MO
Dear Wanda Jean:
You must walk a fine line between sounding shirty and being downright obnoxious. I would stay away from rejoinders that reflect poorly on your friend’s physique, like “Darlene, I do not want to end up looking like you!” and go for something more subtle. Instead, try something discreet like ”What with global warming and all I am trying not to keep from turning into a total sweat hog like some people I could mention.”
Dear HMFAMMF! Hot Line:
Settle a bet for me. I know that potatos are fattening and all the vitamins are in the skin, so I try to curb my hunger by just gnawing on the outside and throwing the rest on our compost heap. My friend “Ellen” says who wants to eat a bunch of potato skins unless they are drenched in melted cheese and topped with bacon and you have some sour cream on the side? (That is my restatement of her question, I don’t know whether it should have a question mark because it’s “rhetorical.”) I believe that would defeat the purpose, but I am no nutritionist. We have agreed to abide by your decision.
Joyce Ruzanski, Williamsville, New York
Thankfully, you are both right! People are less likely to stick to a diet that is unappetizing, and the fattening condiments that Ellen suggests do make potato skins more appealing. So why not compromise by skipping the potato part and diving right into the cheese and sour cream? You’ll be glad you did!
Dear Help My Friends etc. Reporter:
Have you ever heard of something called a “Happy Food Hour”? It is like happy hour at a bar where you get two-for-the-price-of-one drinks except it’s for food. I guess they outlawed the liquor kind.
Anyway, my friend who I will call “Tom” asked me to go to one and when I ordered a Nacho Supreme Plate for myself–like I always do to keep from getting drunk when I have a case of beer–they brought out two! I do not like to make a glutton of myself, but on the other hand I was always taught that it is a sin to waste food when little kids in Africa or wherever have never even seen a nacho before.
I feel that Tom–whoops, I forgot the quotation marks, now you know that’s his real name. Anyway, he got me into this, and he should have to exercise to work off the weight I gained. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.
Jim Van Buskirk, Waukegan, Wisconsin
I’m afraid that life is very unfair. While our friends make us fat, we must do the sit-ups, push-ups or whatever it takes to get back into shape. Why don’t you and Tom settle on a different routine for your social lives. Instead of sitting on a bar stool watching sports while you stuff yourselves, try a night of “Cosmic Bowling” where the healthful exercise and the distraction of flashing lights will help you keep your beer consumption under a case per person.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”