One of my favorite musicians was Root Boy Slim; circa late 70s – early 80s. He was a genius, who attended Yale University and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush (in fact when George took over as Fraternity President, he kicked Root Boy out of the club). His real name was Foster McKenzie, III. A noble name for a person thought by most to be a derelict; the type of guy you expected to be living in a Whirlpool refrigerator box over a steam grate in Washington, DC. Well, he did have an apartment above a garage in Silver Spring, MD at one point in time. If you have an interest in him, check out his biography Roots of Root If you attended the University of Maryland during his 15 minutes of fame, you may have seen him at the Varsity Grill or other haunts in the vicinity.
What appealed to me was his Rock/Blues style and the lyrics of his songs. He was a hoot. Some of his bigger “hits” were “I Broke My Mood Ring,” “Boogie ’til You Puke,” “Dozin’ and Droolin’,” “Too Sick to Reggae,” and my favorite “Dare to Be Fat.” He died about a month before his 48th birthday. Not surprising, since he was obese and abused every chemical substance possible. My purpose here is not to sell you on the wonder and fascination of Root Boy Slim . . . . it is to lead into “Dare to Be Fat.”
Most Boomers are daring their bodies to live with the medical marvel of maintaining obesity via drugs and surgery. Our bodies can only take so much, not to mention our Health Care System. Surely, my early demise could be caused by some other disease or calamity; however, it won’t be obesity that takes me away. Although it may seem cavalier given my own indiscretions, I am concerned about how our Health Care System has suffered because of our Lifestyle.
I take a few drugs, which I want to discontinue. Medication for hypertension and high cholesterol, both of which can be attributed to allowing my body to grow to the point of obscenity, are a reality. Is it fair to those who take care of themselves to allow the Health Care System to keep me in check? These drugs are not cheap. Even though I absorb a co-payment, the overpriced cost of the medications is borne by the System. Sure, we can blame the drug companies for charging too much, but don’t we share some of that blame? If we didn’t eat ourselves silly, there would be no need for the drugs and no pharmaceutical companies to attack.
I don’t want to appear as some hero simply because I lost weight. I want those who are challenging the Health Care System to understand that it is only a band-aid. Obesity takes too many of us well before we should go. I worked until I was 68. Not just because I selfishly wanted to live a long time; I enjoyed the office atmosphere and being around people. Cutting it short unnecessarily, because I felt the need for too many bagels, doughnuts, Big Macs, Double Cheeseburgers and super-sized this and that, seemed a waste. Yeah, all those things taste good, but they’re deadly. Pay attention to what you are consuming before you are at the point of no return. Losing weight is not particularly enjoyable. I feel deprived. I also feel good.
Get a scale and get on it every morning. As your clothes start to feel tight, eat a salad. Drink a diet soda. Consume less. Exercise. It’s not the American Way, but don’t you think it’s odd that half the world is starving, while the other half is trying to lose weight?
That’s my speech for the day.
Bake My Fish