Featured Column
Week of 5.23.2005
"Super-size" my body
           The aisles of the super market were filled with women pushing shopping carts. A few men were roaming the aisles, appearing lost, searching for foodstuffs. I was in the frozen food area looking for some low-fat, low-sugar ice cream. I wanted a suitable dessert that would follow my dinner of spaghetti and a combination pizza.
          Down my aisle rolled a blue, plastic racing car shaped vehicle carrying two children in the seats. Pushing the two- seater shopping cart was a woman in her thirties carrying some 30-40 pounds of extra weight around her middle. I watched as the woman loaded the racing car/shopping cart/baby sitter with cans of prepared pasta, microwavable buttered popcorn, two loaves of white bread, an Entemann’s chocolate cake and a pound of butter. I left her and headed for the check- out counter as she continued her shopping. As I waited in line I wondered about the future health of her and her two sedentary children if what I observed was a sample of their diets and lack of activity.
         As I checked out the bag boy asked me, “Can I help you out with your packages?” I told him, “Thanks, I can handle them.” Carrying two bags, I walked towards the market’s front doors, which opened electronically, requiring no effort from me.
          In the parking area three cars were vying for two spots close to the front of the market as dozens of spots remained vacant 30 yards further from the doors. Evidently the 30 yards was too much of a walk.
         With over 59 million Americans classified as obese (that’s half of American adults!) and two thirds of all American adults either obese or overweight it seems that we might want to stop relying on gadgets and other people and start doing some lifting, carrying and walking ourselves.
          Of course, computers have a lot to do with the softening of America. Used to be we had to go to the airport to purchase airplane tickets. Now we can stay seated in front of our computer and print out our tickets without moving anything except a finger or two.
         We can lie on our couches and have our groceries delivered to our homes. No need to walk to our local library. We can get most information on the internet at home. We can click on Land’s End and order our clothes without walking out the front door. Movies can be rented and watched on our plasma TV’s at home – and returned without taking but a few steps. No need to walk to the nearest music store. Just download any tune you want while sitting at home. 
          Want to send a letter to a friend. Just use one finger while sitting down and send them an e-mail. Why bother walking to the mailbox in front of your home? Most kids don’t know what it means to have to get off the couch and change channels on the TV. The remote is usually in one hand and their cell phone in the other. Want to discuss something with a friend? Do it on a chat room. Why move?
          We can even diagnose many of our own physical ailments without walking out the front door and heading for our nearest HMO. Just punch in WebMD and find out what’s causing your itchy scalp.
          There was a time when a housewife could walk next door to ask a neighbor for a new recipe. Not now. Just look up any one of hundreds of recipe sites. We can load up on fast foods at the drive thru window, never leaving our Corinthian leather car seat.
          Our weekend warriors can wave goodbye to the wife on Saturday morning, feeling good about their golf match and then spend the majority of the next 4-hours sitting in a comfortable golf cart, occasionally taking one of a hundred or so swings at the little, white ball, returning home not with anything more serious than some mild chafing from sliding out of their cart.
          Stand and watch the giant SUV’s line-up at your local schools at 3 p.m. Most kids are tuckered out from the 20 foot walk from the school door to their family SUV.
          When it comes to sex, that’s another case of someone sitting in front of their computer and playing at it – the easy way.
          Who washes their own cars nowadays?
          Cell phones, elevators, escalators, computers, better built cars. True wonders of our modern world and nothing wrong with them. Our lives have become easier, much easier. We don’t need a bunch of muscle power anymore like our parents and grandparents did. We don’t even have to push doors open, they open for us.
          Health experts now urge us to “take 10,000 steps a day” for our health. I’ll bet my mother took 20,000 steps every day, but who’s counting.
          I just hate to see us Americans turn into the planet’s “softies.” I recently watched a giant cruise ship unload its passengers and I was amazed at the sheer number of pot bellied, huffing, puffing, overweight passengers. 
          Life is certainly easier for most of us now. Less physical work. Less exercise. No sweat. Good for us. But, are we going to turn into a country of spindly legged, pot bellied “softies?”
          Maybe if we would just walk up to our local gyms instead of driving our SUVs we could avoid becoming a nation of “softies.”
Americans are growing fat
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger