Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Lack of Movement - movement

by m.moore (writer), Los Angeles, October 19, 2006


He was slow. He was stocky. He was hilarious. He was the fat kid. Growing up, you knew him too. He was in every community, in every genre of the schoolyard hierarchy from tunnel-slide roughian to the double-dog-dare-girl kisser. The fat kid traversed time appearing in your grandfather’s one room school house yarns, bell-bottomed clad tales of your mother’s prom, and even sitting shotgun in your older brother’s Z28 drag racing stories. The fat kid is as universal as laughter, and as soothing as love itself, but there is an epidemic troubling today’s youth that could possibly remove this piece of Americana forever. Of course, I’m referring to today’s lack of movement-movement known as childhood obesity.
You remember ‘your fat kid.’ Growing up, yes he was fat, but like the chameleon changes from green to brown, the fat kid learned to adapt. The fat kid had to learn how to make a contribution to the group, to ‘fit in’ and so many found that said contribution in the form of comic relief. In many ways the fat kid’s gift of humor counterbalanced their curse of (for better lack of a humorous word) ‘huskiness’ and allowed them to evolve into a part of the group. Life evened the playing field, and like Jurassic Park, “Nature finds a way.”
Until today, fat kids were like blue diamonds; elusive and rare among the glass case of clear/skinny kids. Though my metaphor doesn’t hold up in the monetary sense (fat kids=blue diamonds? C’mon, they were worthless) they were heralded as humorous, gifted in gab, and a silent symbol of a house were one could ALWAYS find pizza, but that is no longer the case in today’s society (aside from the pizza). For today, an overwhelming majority of American children are fat, blurring the line between ‘fat funny’ and ‘fat ass.’
Despite my enthusiasm for youth-related activities/volunteer work, this obesity situation has long gone unnoticed, but like your girlfriend ‘studying’ at you friend’s house, I knew there was something going on. It wasn’t until I became ‘event staff’ for a large-scale youth party planner that this obesity situation became blatantly apparent. Every weekend as I would monitor activity in an inflatable obstacle course, or use a garden hose to wet down an air-injected slide, I’d be forced to wonder if Pillsbury was Griffith Park’s official sponsor and I was startled at the number of overweight children I came into contact with. There were no signs of ‘my fat kid,’ the fat kid with the glasses entertaining a group of ‘athletic youth,’ but it was droves of portly elementary children slowly walking like herds of dairy cows. What startled me the most wasn’t their lack of zeal to be outside or the ridiculous pace in which they attempted to climb a rope ladder (see ‘pathetic’ in dictionary), but it was the fact that out of an endless group of chubby cheeks and strained elastics, I couldn’t find 1 funny fat kid. Initially I thought, “Man I’m going to get some laughs (or some milk!) out of these kids today,” but like sitting next to them at a dinner table… I got nothing.
From my understanding, fat kids are supposed to be funny, but today’s cream-filled youth are no longer required to have extra skills to fit in. ‘Somehow’ through the marvel of modern parenting a huge portion of the child population has been allowed to become overweight. Now of course proper responsibility for the fat epidemic rests on the shoulders of today’s parent who is ‘too busy’ to encourage activity or healthy eating habits. But a parent’s job has not been made easier by the influx of fast-food dinners, unattended snack reserves, and technology geared toward keeping American youth ‘plugged in’ which only aids in the descent of creating a healthy/physically fit lifestyle. With no appropriate example to follow, and a culture based on quick meals and visual stimulation, the plague of childhood obesity is a threat on par with the bird flu… but this time the threat is real.
Though I don’t agree with today’s parenting methods, my true gruff resides in the extinction of the ‘all-natural’ funny fat kid, a kid who would choose to make jokes about his weight rather than face the ridicule of having it done for him… a true American hero. But this Davey Crockett I speak of is all but gone. With much of America’s youth becoming ‘blimpy,’ there is no longer a need for the fat kids to defend themselves and to be on guard with their humor. With no one to make fun of them, they have no desire to make a change or to better themselves. They’re no longer humorous, or smart, or good at marching band, they’re just fat children reaching for another cookie. To those of us who grew up in the ‘Golden Age’ of the elementary school hierarchy (1949-1997), the truly disheartening fact is that the cool kids are even becoming portly, allowing the not-so-cool to just be chubby and humorless, i.e. useless.
Though I hate the epidemic, I don’t hate fat kids. I hate the fact that parents believe its okay for an entire generation to throw health to the wind, I hate the fact that children would rather ‘plug-in’ than play outside, but more than anything, I hate the fact that trying to spot today’s ‘funny fat kid’ is like trying to find a Waldo wearing one striped sock. After watching ‘my fat kid’ attempt to climb the gym rope back in ’95, if you’d have asked me if I wanted more fat kids, the answer would have been simple, but after seeing what that overweight world is actually like, today that answer resounds like a freshmen girl at a frat party… “NO.”
Let’s get real; the funny fat kid is as American as the apple pie he ate all by himself, but like everything, he’s only healthy in small portions.

About the Writer

m.moore is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on The Lack of Movement - movement

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By quinne anderson on October 21, 2006 at 03:10 pm
Our middle school fat kid ended up dropping a bunch of weight after high school and took his scathing humor onto the Jenny Jones show and became Rude Jude. He might not have developed his sense of funny (as a defense mechanism, of course!) enough for tv if he wasn't the lone chunker...
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