Extra Weight and Extra Costs
On the face of it, there's not much that can be said about that, especially by someone like me. Nevertheless, as this is such an important topic, I will conspire to find something.
Obviously, while extra-heavy people in large numbers may see many disadvantages in the weight they're carrying, they're not likely to say that they have to reduce in order to save the airlines money. Nor are the airlines going to seriously challenge their customers' weight problems, even if at least one carrier, according to this report, requires really big people to buy a second seat.
I wonder if they see that as an embarrassment or as a badge of honor.
I have always looked with fascination at obesity and baldness, perhaps because I've never been threatened by either. It's my genes. I can't recall any instances of them in my family. They're bugaboos that I tend to lump together even if they're not related, except in the fear and loathing that they invoke. One is plainly a health risk, while the other is purely a vanity matter. Yet, if TV ads are any indication, they are twin demons that routinely terrorize large parts of the populace. I've watched the comings and goings of legions of diets through the years -- my wife, who does not share my genes, is the cause of that -- and, though I'm very squeamish about any scene in which a scapel approaches a person's body, I look at the programs on the Discovery health channel about obese people going through serious operations to shed some mass, and I always devoutly hope that it works.
It's weird how things can flip so totally. In previous eras, fat people were envied, because their weight was a sign that they had access to more food than the average person. Also, especially in the case of a tribe like the Pima Indians, it is thought that fatness was a mechanism for storing body fuel in times of plenty, to be automatically expended in the inevitable times of scarcity, though I can't see how there could have been many instances of fatness in those periods. Biggies would have become just large windfalls for the numerous sleek, slick wild animals who could easily exploit their impaired ability to run.
During the several trips that I took to Japan many years ago, I was struck by the fact that you never saw an obese person -- except of course the sumo wrestlers. Those were the years immediately after the Second World War, and it could have been the lingering results of privation plus their diet. I'm told that that is no longer the case, now that their great prosperity has given them greater incentive to eat too much too often and at the wrong tables, as ours has.