I recently saw a plethora of people posting an article on Facebook, Man Writes The Greatest Complaint Letter Ever to An Airline for Having to Sit Next to an Obese Person. At first I thought it was a joke, then the disgust set in.
I’m fat. In fact, by any stretch of the imagination, I’m obese. I’m just under six feet tall – I’d be six feet if I wasn’t quite so heavy, and I currently weigh 152.2 kilograms. I say 152.2 because I’ve finally been starting to lose weight again, so I’m pretty damn proud to be where I am at the moment.
I’ll speak bluntly from the outset – I think the writer, Rich Wisken, is an arsehat.
We should think he’s a poor bastard because he sat next to an obese person. How unpleasant for him. It was like Les Miserables, in flight form.
Statistics show that more than 65% of Australians are overweight. It was expected that 29% of Australians would be obese by 2010. Congratulations for being a member of a minority group, Rich. (I’m assuming he’s thin.)
Rich set the scene thusly:
What weighs more than a Suzuki Swift, less than a Hummer and smells like the decaying anus of a deceased homeless man?
I’d have guessed Rich’s sense of personal respect towards others. But it turned out to be a guy he had to sit beside on a plane.
There’s even a photo Rich included which shows the guy sitting in an aisle seat, clearly extended out into an aisle.
[Edit: It’s been pointed out to me the photo wasn’t with the original article. Fair call.]
And then Rich just got nasty. Ahem. Nastier:
As I boarded the plane, I mentally high-fived myself for paying the additional $25 for an emergency seat. I was imagining all that extra room, when I was suddenly distracted by what appeared to be an infant hippopotamus located halfway down the aisle. As I got closer, I was relieved to see that it wasn’t a dangerous semi-aquatic African mammal, but a morbidly obese human being. However, this relief was short-lived when I realised that my seat was located somewhere underneath him.
Suzuki’s, hippos and decaying anuses. What a delight Rich is. He’s so fecund with his words.
Or perhaps fetid.
Rich goes on to talk about how unpleasant the guy smelt. Guess what though Rich – rank odour is not the exclusive domain of obese people. In fact, for all the years I’ve caught public transport, ridden in taxis, been in bars or public spaces, been in business meetings or been on planes, I’ve sat next to a whole lot more rank thinner people than larger people.
Sure, Rich had an uncomfortable flight. But guess who had a more uncomfortable flight? The guy sitting beside him.
Does Rich actually, seriously think the guy set out to get fat in order to make the lives of people around him miserable? Hopefully not.
Like it or not, obesity is a major problem in Australia and many other countries throughout the world. It’s easy for people who aren’t fat to laugh and snigger and have a good sneer about fat people waddling ungainly through the world. Last year, passing through Southern Cross station, I overheard a woman nearby say quite loudly to her kid:
No, you can’t have that. Do you want to turn out as fat as that man over there?
Nothing like a good bit of public shaming, right?
Say it by all means, but don’t think you can get away with saying something so mean within earshot. So she got a lesson when I walked back and said:
Or you could just grow up to be a bitch like mummy.
Uncalled for? No more than her ‘lesson’ to her kid.
The world is far too full of people who are quick to judge and reluctant to think:
- What led the person to get fat?
- How do they think about being fat?
- How is the world difficult for them being fat?
- Do they enjoy being fat?
These questions, and a plethora of others, hardly seem to spring to mind to people who are quick to criticise fat people. And one thing is for certain: the shitty pushers of sugar and grains, and the idiot dieticians who insist without merit or understanding that the perfect food pyramid sees a large amount of daily intake coming from carbohydrates?
Being fat is rarely a choice. Very, very few people set out to get fat. It happens, then it cascades thanks to a bucket load of reasons – emotional eating, stress, high demands from family or work, fear of judgement when trying to exercise, and a medical community who are only just now realising just how badly the food industries have fucked over the population of the world over the last 30+ years.
Being fat is rarely a choice. Being an arsehat always is.