I get so tired of ranting about how I’m treated at the doctor’s office, or how scared I am whenever I meet a new doctor.
So, today, I’ll rant about how my husband was recently treated at the doctor’s office.
Humans like simple, categorized things, even when they say they don’t. That’s just their biology at play, since that is how their brains work. Sure, you can actively work against it, but realize that it happens regardless.
What the hell am I talking about? Well, oversimplification silly! Rarely are there cut and dried answers in this life, with the majority typically falling within some state of gray.
A great example of pigeon-holing is saying all fat people are lazy and if they would just get off their gluteus maximus and exercise for a change, we would all be thin or at least thinner than we are now. Another great example is when a politician says if we just do X, then the economy/country will be better. Just like the biology of a fat person isn’t a “calories in, calories out” machine, so too is a nation not a “one fix will solve all our problems” experiment.
Two very different types of women have dominated my life.
One faction was the warm, matriarchal housewife type who loved to cook, eat and enjoyed providing nourishment and a loving home for others.
The flip side of that coin was the set who made sure to dole out the icy, but subtle, disapproving glares that let you know you just weren’t cutting it on a number of fronts.
Your hair was a mess, your clothes were too wrinkled to go out in public, your face (devoid of makeup) shouldn’t be viewed by strangers. Were you even wearing clean underwear?
Please Note: “And Now for Something Completely Different” is a new theme that will be dedicated to posts that are not directly related to fat. Until I develop a forum for posts like this, I’m going to use this forum to get things off my chest. These will not replace the fresh daily posts on fat subjects.
Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. Debating comedy is damn-near impossible.
I’ve tackled the subject of fat jokes on this blog many times, from Kathy Griffin to George Takei to Daniel Tosh, but each time I feel a bit uneasy about the entire process of critiquing comedy because it resides in such an awkward zone of free speech. Contemporary comedy (at least the hackneyed, undisciplined kind) seems to thrive on pushing the envelope and making its audience uncomfortable.
We can thank Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, and George Carlin (among so many others) for transitioning comedy from “Take my wife, please!” to constructive social commentary. And the best comedic commentary is the kind that simultaneously makes people squirm and think. The late Bill Hicks remains the gold standard, while Louis CK has taken up the mantle.
So when I criticize people for making fat jokes, I try to gauge intent, which is about the worst way to criticize anything since the go-to rejoinder is “that wasn’t my intent!” But I think there are cases (e.g., Griffin, Takei and Tosh) where the intent is so egregious that it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than the fact that the joke in question was of the malicious hack variety — no intelligent subtext, just cruelty and a quick laugh.
Although I would love to convince the world that malicious fat jokes are a net negative on the culture, I generally look at them as a squishy grey area that’s open to interpretation. Fat jokes can be troubling, but aren’t as harmful as some of the other shit we put up with.
I can’t say the same about rape jokes.
I know I have one last installment in my Health at Every Size® eating series, but there’s something else I want to write about. That’s coming soon, I promise.
Today, I want to write about being afraid to go to the doctor. Only, it’s so much more than that. It isn’t just fear of the doctor dismissing my concern and chalking it up to my weight. It’s fighting against my own deeply-ingrained indoctrination that any kind of pain I might experience is my own fault. My own fault because I’m fat.
It’s become a sort of mantra for me: saddened, but not surprised.
This time, it’s in response to Chris Christie getting the Lap-Band.
Predictably, the press went wild with speculation over Christie’s obvious presidential ambitions. Just as predictably, Jon Stewart pushed back against the hyperventilating punditry by simplifying Christie’s justification:
Why else would a 50-year-old man with young children and a loving family take steps to address obesity and extend his life? Why else? It is a classic presidential run tell… Can’t a guy get healthy without the prognosticators? “Oh, what does it mean?” It means he doesn’t feel well and wants to feel better.
Of course, Stewart’s assessment is also speculation. That’s the thing about personal health: you can’t determine the motives behind such a drastic, personal health choice unless you can peek inside the head of the chooser.
The fact is, you can’t divide motivations into mutually exclusive camps of professional ambition versus personal health concerns. It’s far more complicated than that.