Tonight, I rant.

I see the hashtag #notyourgoodfatty is making the rounds on Twitter. Good. Surprisingly, most of the people using it seem to have got the idea -- it's for venting about the idiocy that gets flung at fat people, not about sniping at not-fat people for being not-fat, which is what some of these things turn into. It is an unfortunate truth that assholes come in all shapes and sizes, and ruin everything for everyone else; I'm glad this one's being run by sane people, so I can support it without also wanting to bonk my head against the wall the whole time.

I am in fact on y'all's side on this. I'm shaped how I'm shaped because I am, just like you. I'm not a very good thin person, either, for the record.

I do not have any of this mythical "willpower" stuff. I'm perfectly capable of putting away most of a pizza by myself, if someone makes it for me and brings it to my door. I don't do it more often because I see cooking as an annoying interruption. I have to get up, go into a completely different room where the computer isn't, dig out pots and pans and utensils, chop or peel or mix or stir or whatever until ingredients turn into a meal, plate it, eat it, and then clean up after myself. Apparently some people find this a soothing ritual; I find it irritating and would rather be doing something I consider less boring, which is almost anything. I've recently discovered that the grocery store across the street carries tuna canned in olive oil with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, so about 50% of my meals for the past month have been one of those dumped over a bowl of pasta. If I had more money in the food budget, I'd just buy a bigger stack of cans.

I have no idea how many servings of vegetables I'm supposed to have per day, and I couldn't draw you a food pyramid if you paid me. I like plant-based food just fine, but fresh salad stuff is expensive and wilts quickly. Mostly I buy fruit I can eat with my hands, and vegetables that come in cans or freezer bags. That way, when I've bought seven packages of broccoli and get sick of it after going through three, I can safely ignore the rest of them where they are until I feel like eating them, too. I've never come down with scurvy or Wernecke's encephalopathy because I live in a society that has invented these wonderful pills that ward those things away using magic, and maybe zinc. In accordance with municipal building codes, no point in the Greater Boston Area is more than 12 minutes from a CVS, and in three consecutive years I don't think I've ever seen them take the BOGO sale sign off the multivitamin shelf.

(The rats probably eat better than I do. They're tiny, and since their native diet is mostly seeds, grains, and grasses, supplemented by almost literally anything they can catch and stuff into their wee little mouths, it's cheaper to do it right the first time. I'm sure someone, somewhere, is selling rat multivitamins; I'm equally sure they're selling them at a 40,000% markup, and that the rats -- who will eat wooden chopsticks, corrugated cardboard, and plain oatmeal -- will mysteriously refuse to go near them.)

I could give a shit if my food is "organic". All food is organic. Organic just means it has carbon in it. If you're routinely buying "food" items that contain no carbon, you might want to check to make sure you're not accidentally doing your shopping at the Jiffy Lube. I think DuPont had the right idea with 'better living through chemistry', even if they were somewhat lacking in the execution. I am thrilled by the advent of sucralose, because that means I can now get flavored vitamin water mix that won't grow fuzz if I leave it in the cabinet for a few weeks, and doesn't taste like ass. I think that people who assign a moral value to the source or content of food are mainly inventing reasons to be upset. If you don't have celiac disease and you insist on going gluten-free because you believe the snake-oil salesmen who tell you it's the root of all modern ills, you are making your life insanely difficult for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It's perfectly acceptable to not eat stuff because you just don't want to, without starting an argument about mysterious unverifiable allergies and that quack Wakefield. I think aspartame tastes absolutely terrible (saccharin is worse -- if you've not had the pleasure, TaB tastes pretty much like the can it comes in), and that one's a real bitch to avoid.

Jazmin seems to be under the impression that I have a "workout" schedule. What I actually have is a "get dressed and leave the house like a goddamn grown-up on a regular basis" schedule. It just so happens that there are a limited number of things you can do with your time that don't cost any money, and most of the ones I can get to involve using up my free rehearsal time at the dance studio. If I had access to zillions of skeins of free yarn, I'd be sitting on my ass doing endless macramé instead. I walk long distances because I'm broke enough that the subway seems like a waste of cash. Plus the MBTA transit schedules are, at best, a work of impolite fiction. Whenever I attempt to take the bus somewhere I end up half an hour late.

I have been heavier than I am now, although not by all that much. I unintentionally dropped a ton of weight right before I moved to Boston, and never have gotten it all back. If you want to slim down in a hurry and aren't concerned about the side effects -- which is the direction many of the more insane fad diets are going -- then my suggestion is to have a complete nervous breakdown and spend a year unemployed and terrified that if you leave your apartment and venture out into the tiny shitty town you live in, you'll run into the unmedicated crazy person who prompted the nervous breakdown in the first place. Worked for me. I still catch my reflection in mirrors and train windows and wonder where the rest of my thighs went.

Also for the record, I feel this way about most of the health scares they're trying to convert into moral panics, which is what they're trying to do with obesity. I wasn't that impressed when I tried pot, but I think it's insane to keep it illegal on the basis that it's dangerous. The LD50 of tetrahydrocannabinol is so high, there's no practical way to reach it. It's about 1.3g per kg of body mass, at least in rats; I'm unaware of any human studies that ever managed to establish toxicity. The 'standard human' used in calculations is 55kg, so 1.3 x 55 = 71.5 grams of pure THC for a human that weighed about 110lbs. THC content varies according to strain, but I see 5% quoted a lot; if that's accurate, then you'd need to toke your way through 1.43kg (something over three pounds) without any help, in order to stand a 50% chance of killing yourself with the psychoactive drug. You'd do yourself in from smoke inhalation long before you got there, if you could even concentrate long enough to try. The active dose of THC is on the order of milligrams, which means the therapeutic index has a good couple of zeroes in it. The therapeutic index of acetaminophen (paracetamol, for the rest of the world), in contrast, is about 10 -- single doses should be no more than 1g, but hepatotoxicity kicks in by 10g, if not sooner. This is down with opiates and benzodiazepines, and rather alarmingly low for something you can buy in 500-ct bottles at Walgreens. It's just that nobody cares, because Tylenol isn't fun.

I'm also quite tired of being told that everything in the universe "causes" cancer. No it doesn't. Nothing "causes" cancer the same way that inhaling water "causes" drowning, or even the same way the common rhinovirus "causes" colds. Cancer is the result of cell division going haywire, and although some things can damage DNA and increase the chances of that happening, so far as I know, nothing has been found that specifically goes into your cells and flips the "grow a dangerous tumor now" switch. And even if it did, I'm rather tired of having it insinuated that not only is exposure to it completely under my control, but that I'm an irresponsible sinner if I don't spend every moment of every day micromanaging my life in order to avoid it. The last straw was really when they spent my entire life telling me to wear sunscreen because sun exposure causes cancer, and then turned around and told me that sunscreen also causes cancer. I already wear long sleeves and pants all year long; I considered never going outside again, but I don't have the kind of delivery budget that you'd need to be a successful agoraphobic, and someone would inevitably yell at me that I'm destroying my immune system by not getting enough vitamin D. I have to die of something at some point, and if all of my options are going to result in horrible skin cancer, I'm going with the one that enables me to also avoid the uncomfortable sunburns.


  1. "I could give a shit if my food is "organic". All food is organic. Organic just means it has carbon in it." haha this reminds me of all those people who talk about using "chemical free" skincare. I'd be very concerned if anyone's skincare was chemical free ;)


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