All around the world, we're all the same
An itsy-bitsy house somewhere in suburbia. The door is opened and a smiling, friendly woman looks at me. The husband is waiting in the living room with a large greyhound. The man is overweight but relaxed, happy. The son pokes his head round the door- grossly, morbidly overweight, he doesn't make eye contact and quickly seeks refuge upstairs, away, apart.
All over the world there is some malaise affecting young men today. We could blame feminism and the rise of the second sex who refuse to be bowed and want equal everything.
Or we could blame the parents- I've seen families where the children get asked what they would like for supper. I've secretly torn my hair out but have bitten my lip rather than ruin a friendship. To me it's a bit like handing a lead to my dog and telling him to go 'walkies' on his own.
Or we could blame the government for failing to teach kids in school how to become valuable paid up citizens.
Or we could blame the supermarkets for selling cheap food.
Or we could blame....
The list is endless.
I often marvel at the all the signs everywhere - don't do this and don't do that. My favourite is the misaligned NO SMOKING DOGS outside a park. But what if we stopped telling people what not to do? It's pretty obvious that a chainsaw should only be used on non-human matter yet the manufacturer finds it necessary to state the bleeding obvious on the packaging. I purchased Christmas cards this year and the warning not to let them within an inch of infants and toddlers was quite remarkable. Is the child going to eat them? Set fire to them? Toss them out with his or her dirty nappies? Where are the parents in all this?
If for that matter greeting cards are deadly weapons, shouldn't all kitchen knives be banned? Or corkscrews? Or scissors? You get the picture. I'm amazed we can still buy matches without providing a DNA sample first. My Jewish friends lament the ban on salpetre used in making the traditional salt beef, a classic Jewish dish.
Our culture is changing before our eyes where we can do nothing, say nothing and think even less. Is it any wonder that young men all over the world are staring at extra large TVs and are oblivious to their souls screeching in distress yet unheard by anyone?
There really is no excuse to be overweight to the point of damaging one's health. We're all wobbly in our middle age but obese with an over affection for food, we are not.We live in a country where we can walk unimpeded pretty much everywhere. Britain is a long walk to anywhere - Roman lines, secret pathways, pilgrims' ways, treks, hikes, gentle strolls, abound all over this green and pleasant land. A newsagent or corner shop are for the most a short hop away, we run for the tube or bus in London often amazed that we didn't have a massive heart attack at the end of it! So how does anyone manage to stretch their skin to zenith proportions? By sitting down all day long scratching their heads. By not seeing the wood from the trees, the swallow from the goose, the chipmunk from the squirrel. By deciding that life is a massive drag where shuffling away is better than looking in the mirror. By NOT liking what's in the mirror.
None of us can save another human being. Each of us has a responsibility to save ourselves. No one is to blame when the easiest option becomes the best option. Life is hard. Life is cruel. Life sucks for the best part and leaves us marooned most of the time with a tide that forgets to fetch us back. Our choice. That's the beauty and enigma of life in two small words. We decide.
Photo copyright S. van Dalen