The other day, msn Finance published an article about the potential savings to the US economy if nobody were fat. Never mind that the author’s math doesn’t add up on any level. After all, she assumes that a) every fat person eats lots of Big Macs and b) no thin person does. She also assumes that McDonalds would survive – nay, would continue to be profitable – if instead of selling Big Macs they sold ‘little steamed chicken snacks.’
In this Thintopia suggested by the author, diabetes and heart disease would nearly disappear. What’s more, apparently nothing else would kill us! Insurance rates would plummet and more money would go into preventative care…or:
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.
Of course, no thin person has diabetes or heart disease or suffers a stroke, right? And nothing else would come along to kill us because if we would just stop being fat, clearly we would live forever. And people are only willing to pay for catastrophic health care over preventative or maintenance care because…well, we’re not entirely sure why, but since an economist said it, it must be true.
And of course, in this new nirvana, nobody would ever take a sick day because we all know that every time someone calls in sick at work it’s because of fat…not colds, flu, sprained ankles, or a host of other ills that befall everyone, fat or thin. Our dependance on foriegn oil would evaporate as our trim little bums would lessen the strain on our SUVs and airplanes could fly with less fuel making up for the difficulty of getting a bunch of lardly butts into the skies. Farmers could stop growing so many sugar beets which we bad fat people have been demanding and start growing lots of vegetables which fat people never, ever eat, of course. Because clothing manufacturers wouldn’t have to cover such a wide range of body sizes, they could – and of course would! – concentrate on covering a much wider range of body types. Yes, it is because I need a size larger than the average store carries on a regular basis that some deserving thin person is unable to find pants that fit both her hips and her waist properly. I stand utterly chagrined in the face of such logic.
Really, if we would all just stop being fat, everyone would ride unicorns and find true love, tra la.
The thing that worries me most, however, is not the way the math doesn’t add up, but the fact that our very individual human lives, whether fat or thin, are treated as a matter of pure economics. Our value as people does not diminish because we need health care or transportation or food. Our value depends so much more on what we bring to the people around us. So what have some fat people in history brought to our world that’s worth having? What could a fat person possible have accomplished? Well, here are a couple examples I think are worth considering.