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Pondering a weighty matter



March 28, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -
We used to weigh a lot less.

I know this for a fact because our scales were smaller.

For years we had one of those round silver and black scales in our bathroom and it only went up to 200 pounds. Then - like those produce scales at the grocery store - it would start over again.

Leaving one to do some quick math to come up with the actual number. And also having to remember how many times it had gone completely around!

For example, I had an uncle who was roughly the size of a small Caribbean nation. But according to our bathroom scale, he only weighed 126 pounds! (It was his second time around).

jpg Weighty matter

Fat Leonardo
By: Tab, The Calgary Sun
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc

I was thinking about this as I was listening to a radio news program about new high tech measuring devices that will not only weigh you and determine the specific body fat of specific body parts but it would then transmit that data via a wireless receiver.

Just in case you wanted to immediately post the results to your Facebook status (uh huh).

Of course, the idea of that vital personal information being transmitted anywhere beyond my personal frontal lobe is somewhat horrifying enough. But here was the kicker.

Since we are "bigger" than we used to be, the scale would now be able to go as high 400 pounds. I’m not so sure that is a good thing.

Years ago, I was at a county fair outside of Seattle and there was one of those weighing machines. Of course, no one was going anywhere near it except for children to whom weighing “more” was a good thing.

Then I noticed a very large man step on the scale. It was like someone whaling away on one of those strong man ring the bell carnival games where you used  a mallet to make the ball go higher up a scale. The top of the weight scale read "What a big baby you are!" The ball rocked off the top of the scale.

"I already knew that," the big man huffed.

I was surprised the scale didn't ask him to get out of his car before weighing himself.

That came later, I suppose, when the first "talking" scales came out.

Now, there was a great idea. Like we wanted a scale to say to us: "You weigh 175, Buster, back away from the smorgasbord a littler earlier next time."

Of course, in those days, 175 was considered portly. I know that I thought it was. In high school I was 5'10" and weighed around 125-130.

I am still 5'10" (actually I may have lost 1/4 of an inch or so, but who's counting). But now I weigh nearly enough to go "around the horn" on the old bathroom scale. Not as far as my uncle, mind you, but far enough.

And it's not just me.

I read last week, that transportation safety planners all have their knickers in a twist these days because bus safety planners are having to rethink their standards because - quelle horreur - the original standards were based on the early 1960s when the average American was around 150 pounds.

We would now consider that average weighted person to be severely malnourished or perhaps a super model. Apparently, the modern American is now up up to an average 175 pounds (and I'm still 'above average' yay!).

A couple of years ago, we were at Disneyland and "It's a Small World" was closed (again) for refurbishment. Naturally, I was saddened because I love how that 18 minute ride lasts your entire visit (or at least the song lasts that long in your head).

I asked one of the "castmembers" why it was closed this time.

"They are digging a new trench," he replied.

That was a new one.

I looked confused.

"The boats were bottoming out in the old channel, so they had to make it a little deeper."

He paused.

"People are bigger than they were in 1955."

Maybe more folks should be eating a few fewer Mickey McNuggets.  


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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