Can’t Say That: Chewing the Fat

“The South shall rise again!”

…If, that is, it ever can pull its fat gut out from the dinner table under which it’s wedged, and away from plates and bowls and casserole dishes brimming with fried chicken, massed potatoes, gravy, chicken and dumplings, gravy, pork rinds, peach cobbler, gravy, and sausage and biscuits.

Oh, and did I mention gravy?

According to CalorieLab Inc.’s obesity analysis, the ten fattest states in our union are all southern (“And the winner of our pageant – for the fifth straight year! – is Miss Mississippi!”).  Colorado is the leanest.

And where does Florida weigh in at?  We’re 36th.  We’ve gained weight in a year, moving up three notches from 39.

I’ve lived from coast to coast, and never have I seen so many – do excuse me – lard asses than here in South Florida.  Lard asses, lard hips, lard necks, lard thighs.  You’d be forgiven if you thought this was Crisco Country here.

62% of us are overweight.  A quarter of us are considered outright obese – so fat that we’d probably have to book two seats on a plane just to squeeze our fat Florida ass cheeks into something resembling a sitting position passable for takeoff.

Two-thirds (67%) of non-Latinos in our nation are obese.  But three of every 4 Latinos (75%) are.  (In Hialeah and other pockets of this county, I swear – from personal observation – it’s gotta be more like 4 out of 4.  ¡Ay, caramba!)

To cure America’s economic woes, some say we should adopt a VAT tax, as in “value added tax.”  Forget that.  I say we impose a FAT tax.

No, FAT isn’t an acronym for anything.  I mean just that:  FAT.  As in obese.  Overweight.  Tubby.

Let’s impose a fat tax in the society that now ranks as among the fattest in the world – ours.

(“He didn’t just write what I thought he did, did he?”)

Oh yes, he did!

I’m not so much interested in inducing our fellow Americans to start whipping themselves into shape, hitting the gyms and jogging paths, and chugging down every weight loss shake they can empty the GNC of in an attempt to avoid the tax man.

No!  I’m more interested in reducing the weight of that giant monolithic monster, the National Debt, and its ugly sister, the Federal Deficit.

Just think of it:  If we imposed a tax on the overweight and obese in our country – my god, that must account for at LEAST a good, sizable – and we’re talking SIZABLE here – chunk – and I mean CHUNKY – majority of the American public – then we could wipe out our red ink and put our country on solid financial footing in no time flat.

I’m not the first to suggest this tax, but how ’bout I be the one to resurrect it?  I’m serious.  Now how would we impose such a tax?  Good question.

Everybody hop up on the weight scale.  Like the insurance industry has those actuarial tables, the IRS would have a similar table showing how much latitude people could have, weight-wise, depending on age, gender, and height.  Translate those numbers into tax tables showing how much you’ll fork over for each pound you’re overweight by, and, voila!, there’s the tax you’ll owe to Uncle Sam.

“Get up on that weight scale!  Hmmm.  Fifty pounds over.  The tax auditor calculates that’ll cost you the equal of a month’s pay.  Or, in your case, a week’s worth of Hostess Ding Dongs.

“And for that chocolate cheesecake you devoured on the sly last night, we’re going to dock you the equivalent of a day’s pay.  But it’s going to a good cause:  Paying off the debt.

America, you have the singular distinction of being at the top of the fattest countries in the world.  Let’s make something good and worthwhile out of this ignominious shame.  Let’s make it work for us.


And now for some sobering news about what the dumber half of our nation is up to.  Really sobering.  And dumb.

A recent Pew Internet and American Life Project study shows that 47% of adults who use their cell phone to text had done it while driving.

Now get this:  Only about a third of 16- and 17-year-olds, according to an earlier Pew survey, had texted behind the wheel.  Well.  Guess it might be time to reassess those insurance rates that are slanted against teens, huh?  Looks like their parents are the real hazards of the highway.

Here’s where I favor the instant death penalty.  Cop pulls over a texter, orders said texter from the car, then – BANG!  Right there.  On the side of the road.  A service to society.  Salvage the vehicle, of course.  No need to let a good car go to waste.

But as for the ex-texter… perhaps next-of-kin will care to come and scrape their jackass relative off the blacktop.

For the braincell-depleted among you who require a good smack upside the cranium to be convinced how dumb texting while driving – or, for that matter, steering any vehicle – is, take this as your cranium smack for the day:

Chatsworth, California.  September 2008.  Commuter train.  Engineer runs red signal.  Collides with freight train.  Too busy texting some teenage train enthusiast.

Result:  25 dead.

Enlightened now?  ‘Nuff said.


On the hypothetical premise that it takes one to know one, why not deploy that “Barefoot Bandit” kid – who so audaciously eluded authorities until his capture last week – to the task of going after the elusive Osama bin Laden?  He couldn’t bungle that assignment any worse than have our government’s own inept intell agencies and special ops teams.  Am I right?

Speaking of whom, what’s become of the Towel-headed Vid Kid?  It’s been a long, LONG time since we were last treated to a video of the Bearded Bastard (who, if he’s even still alive, is now 53) foaming at the mouth with yet another one of his many rambling rants ruminating on religious rectitude, resentment and revenge.

What’s a terrorist Godfather to do when there are so many Osama-wannabees now?  So many Sonny, Fredo, and Michael Corleones running around, trying to out-plan and out-plot each other in terrorist attacks and outshine the old man when it comes to evil and bloodshed?

Guess he’s become too much a homebody in that cave of his.  That, or his kidney dialysis treatments are sapping his energy for jihadist jabber-jawing.

By the way, how – and where – do you plug in a dialysis machine in a cave?  I always wondered.

If you know nothing else about the man – and are not even familiar with the works of South Florida’s fave literary lion (for shame!) – you now know this bit of trivia (as I learned last week from NPR):

Ernest Hemingway hated socks.

On a lesser-known note, so did those legendary six-toed cats of his.  But that was due to the fact that the Key West Petco never carried anything but mittens for kittens of the five-toed variety.

Let history record:  It was the fifteenth of July when the Vatican issued new rules aimed at preventing the abuse of children by pedophile priests.  Rules for priests like, “Thou shalt not possess child pornography.”  (For real.  You’d think that would be an obvious don’t, but the Vatican did formally forbid that last week.)

Unfortunately, it looks almost like it will be the twelfth of Never when they ever get serious about the problem, quit beating around the bush, and adopt measures with teeth.

Victims advocacy groups are damning the new guidelines as too little.’s Anne Barrett Doyle calls the new rules the equivalent of “bringing a child’s sand shovel to an avalanche.”

The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, a fellow (and personal favorite) columnist, wrote last week:  “All the penitence of the church is grudging and reactive.  Church leaders are merely as penitent as they need to be to protect the institution.”

“If Roman Polanski were a priest, he’d still be working here.”

Alas, it may take another papacy and perhaps some of those old farts in the red robes to drop dead and be replaced before real reform comes to the Church.

Oh, but there was one issue the Vatican male hierarchy decided just couldn’t be condoned:  They declared it a “sin against the sacraments” to ordain a woman as a priest.

Commented Dowd:  “Letting women be priests – which should be seen as a way to help cleanse the church and move it beyond its infantilized and defensive state – is now on the list of awful sins right next to pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism.”

That’s Vatican priorities for ya.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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