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I hope my babysitter doesn't read this... - Elf M. Sternberg
I hope my babysitter doesn't read this...
omahas and I are cultivating teenagers who can watch over Kouryou-chan (and Yamaarashi-chan when she's here). We've found three so far, and like all teenagers they need money and, y'know, Omaha and I pay pretty well, at least minimum wage, which is better than most people according to the teens we've asked. Friday night, we asked Lily to come over and try it out.

She's a neat kid. Brought a stack of books to read for when Kouryou-chan went to sleep, as we expected to be out until after midnight. Omaha and I went out and had a good Valentine's day party, and when we came home we found Kouryou-chan safely in bed and Lily asleep on the couch, her book on the the floor next to her, curled up on a Tazmanian Devil pillow and under my favorite Sad Girl In Snow blanket. We woke her long enough to ask if she wanted to go home or crash for the night-- offering to feed her if she stayed, a bribe as I was tired enough I didn't want to drive anywhere.

She's pretty, too, but... While she walked about in a t-shirt and jeans I noticed that her triceps just sorta hung there. She has absolutely no muscle tone at all in her arms. It was a moment when I realized that she was falling into that category of teenager who spends too much of her time not doing anything at all physical. Smart as she is, it was sad to realize that physically she's probably already caught in that downward spiral that has made America the most obese nation on Earth.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: Bill Curtis, Crimes and Trials

12 comments or Leave a comment
From: ixx Date: February 16th, 2003 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
"Smart as she is...?" Does this mean fat people are stupid now, too? Aren't the routine and casual accusations of laziness and gluttony enough?

Reading this a couple of weeks after reading about Rush Limbaugh accusing America of "food stamping its way to obesity," I'm feeling a little touchy. Being overweight is not a crime, it's not really even a tragedy, and it upsets me when people look at it as some sort of tremendous blemish on a person's overall worth or attractiveness. "You've got such a pretty face, but..." The most obnoxious part is how often our society estimates a woman's worth on whether or not she could conceivably be stripping in a bar for money. It's not really -great- for a guy to be fat, but there's no male equivalent of the 'No Fat Chicks' slogan.

"If you’ve grown up in twentieth-century American society, you probably believe that being fat is a serious personal, social, and medical liability. Many Americans would rather die or cut off a limb than be fat, many believe that fatness is a serious health risk, and many are convinced that it is a simple matter to reduce one’s body size and are so offended by body fat that they believe it is acceptable to shun fat people and make them the butt of cruel jokes. Those who are fat quickly learn to be deeply ashamed of their bodies and spend their lives trying to become what they are not and hide what cannot be hidden. Our society believes that thinness signals self-discipline and self-respect, whereas fatness signals self-contempt and lack of resolve. We’re so accustomed to this way of thinking that many of us have never considered that there might be an alternative." --National Assosciation to Advance Fat Acceptance
omahas From: omahas Date: February 16th, 2003 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Excuse me???

I find it interesting that you should be slamming Elf for his comments on obesity, while sporting a thin caricature for your avatar.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 18th, 2003 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I took "smart as she is" to mean that she is smart enough to know that physical activit is essential to health in general.

His comments about "downward spiral" seem on target as well. There is a direct relattionship between lack of physical activity and obesity.

I notice that he did not say anything negative at all about "fat people" (as you seem to think) or that he ever said that all "fat people" show "laziness and gluttony" (as you seem to imply)

All I see him saying is that she is smart enough to know that physical excercise is important to health and that lack of physical excercise usually leads to obesity.

riverheart From: riverheart Date: February 16th, 2003 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
About 10 years ago, I realized that my body had hit its setpoint; that my body is happy and healthy with the amount of meat I carry on my bones.

You know, I may be overweight. I may be *FAT*. But I'm strong, healthy, have stamina for days (when I'm not sick, as I have been this week), generally able to fight off illnesses with little problem, smart, and am considered lovely at the least by my beloved (and I think by others).

I can ride a horse, train a dog, walk all day long, kayak all day long too for that matter, push my own truck if necessary, fix a Mac, fix a fence, prune a tree, etc...and I don't have much muscle tone in my triceps, either. I don't "exercise" or work out in a gym; I live, and live large.

Yes, Lily's a neat kid, and pretty, and there's more to being attractive than having buff triceps. If she's grounded and centered, aware of her own strengths and able to act from them, and keeping active both physically and mentally, then she's doing pretty well.
omahas From: omahas Date: February 16th, 2003 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

I had to comment

I have no problem accepting fat people as who they are. I won't walk around ridiculing them, or making them feel bad about themselves for being fat.

I, however, am *not* going to walk around and advocate obesity (as determined through CT scans and a doctor's diagnosis) as a *healthy* choice. It's not, folks, and if you have fooled yourself into believing it, then you are a fool indeed. That amount of weight from fat strains your muscles beyond what nature intended, strains your organs (including the all important heart) beyond what they can handle, and will shorten life spans.

If that is what you want, that is your choice. But please don't ask me to say it's a good one. It's not.
riverheart From: riverheart Date: February 16th, 2003 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I had to comment

In my own case, I don't seem to be able to lose weight - to lose pounds on the scale. Most places, that's the only number that's considered important.

Am I considered fat through a doctor's diagnosis? Well, that depends on your question of diagnosis. "You weigh too many pounds. Take off some pounds." That's about the only diagnosis I've received. No BMI, no CT scan, no measurement other than a number on a scale.

They don't consider whether those pounds are composed of muscle or of fat. OK, yes, I have too much fat. That's true. Dieting and exercising doesn't seem to do a darn thing to keep it off; I've gone on minimal-calorie diets (under 1200 calories, which was considered a weight-loss number by the doctor who handed me the printed form-letter sheet) and exercised two hours a day, four days a week, for a period of a year - and still no weight loss. I have a significant amount of muscle, too, and more so since I spent 6 months in 2001 living on a farm. I didn't lose any weight, but I definitely gained muscle.

On the other hand, my cholesterol is terrific. I know that for a fact, too; I just completed a 2-year cholesterol study at UW, and my "bad" cholesterol is very low indeed. My diet is generally healthy, as approved by the nutritionist in the cholesterol study, though I drink too many diet sodas on occasion. I can walk up the long flight of stairs from the beach at my mother's house without getting winded; I just did that last weekend. Straight up, no problems other than a sore knee, and it's about 3x the length of your entire staircase (maybe more) and steeper.
mouser From: mouser Date: February 18th, 2003 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
hope my babysitter doesn't read this...

FYI, there is a way to lock entries so that only specific folk can see them...

luvlyrita From: luvlyrita Date: February 26th, 2003 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
i presumed by the fact that this is *not* private
he *wanted* her and/or her mom to see this

i'm sorry.....but to me this seems to be purposefully crafted to be hurtful
why you would *want* to hurt a *kid* for chrissakes is beyond me.....
elfs From: elfs Date: February 26th, 2003 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
The "friends" list as a restrictive mechanism is a convention, not a reality. If Lily or her mother want to read this, no matter what I did, they would. It's that simple. There are people in my friends list who would forward every comment I made "in private" to her, and, y'know, I'm okay with that. I long ago accepted that anything I posted anywhere on the Internet could show up on the cover of the New York Times, and I write with that kind of fearlessness.

Riverheart mentioned that her body has a set-point. Most bodies do. And the set-point gets "set" during puberty. That is the time when your body's hormonal balance reaches equilbrium, and it is during this period that your initial fat cell ratio is set as well. Fat cells hold only so much, and then they divide-- and puberty is when the initial surge of your life-long bodyfat cell count is established. Once they're there, the only way to be rid of them is liposuction.

Lily's problem isn't fat, though. She's not. It's simpler than that: she has no habit of physical activities. She doesn't live in an environment that affords many (namely, the suburbs), and she doesn't, as far as I know, own a bicycle. I hope she recognizes this as a problem and does something about it. She is well past the age where her parents can have any influence in the matter without her consent.

I find it curious that expressing concern over someone's well-being, even if obliquely, is somehow "hurtful."
voltbang From: voltbang Date: March 9th, 2003 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I long ago accepted that anything I posted anywhere on the Internet could show up on the cover of the New York Times, and I write with that kind of fearlessness.

Kids today, think they invented sex the internet.

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 26th, 2003 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is if you do it in a profoundly patronizing and high-handed manner. Would you like me clucking over in my journal about poor Elf and how it's a pity that he hasn't developed a better sense of tact, since it'll serve him poorly in the long run? That, too, could be waved away as legitimate concern for your well-being -- but it also reeks of the rude habit of presuming to know others' circumstances and what's best for them, a peculiar habit for a libertarian.
elfs From: elfs Date: March 26th, 2003 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I already know I have a poor talent with tact, so stating the obvious isn't going to offend me.

Besides, a peculiar habit for a libertarian would be trying to use the force of law to impose what he believes is best for others. I didn't do any such thing.
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