Friday, April 14, 2017


Why are three quarters of we Americans fat, or worse, obese?  Why? Why?

Just about everyone over 40 remembers going for an annual check-up where the doctor advised “lose 10 pounds” and “reduce your intake of alcoholic beverages.”  Now medicine has advanced to a point where we are hearing “lose 25 pounds and cut WAY back on the booze.” 
As we age, beefing-up just happens.  Once there, women are better at losing weight than men. If only because talking about weight has become a 24/7 obsession within the sorority, their hairdressers, and just about any passers-by they happen to bump into at the mall. Males, beyond their other shortcomings, are inclined to consider that belly-roll as a badge of honor for success in the boardroom and/or expense account lunches. I belonged to the Fat Boyz, a small fraternity of former athletes who still considered themselves athletes.  You had to come to the tennis or paddle courts with poundage. Period. No skinnies allowed. In these days of heightened IRS surveillance plus general good health awareness, the BIG lunch has virtually disappeared. Today we poke at salads, parsley by the pound and foods we would never have looked at, let alone eaten, in bygone days of large steaks, garlic mashed potatoes and cheesecake by the ton.
The world continues to whirl, whirl, and whirl some more. And we Americans are whirling right along with it, devouring unconscionable amounts of grub.  Advertisers and food chains seem to be in a race to hasten our demise. “Sad” is the word to describe the physical profiles of USA/2016. All you have to do is take your sunglasses off and look around. Fatties are all around.  Unhappily many of the stricken are children. What does this signal for their lifespan? Sad news indeed.
There is a huge miscalculation here somewhere. Starvation abounds in many parts of this whirling world. None of us is immune to the plea of charitable organizations depicting emaciated urchins, and their elders, barely steps from death. Is it just here in the land of the Whopper and fries where this frightening plague of obesity reigns? I think so. To top it off, the medical profession is ill-equipped to handle this surging number of obese patients. Much of the equipment doctors would normally use for various tests – like routine weighing of patients - can't measure the obese whose tonnage frequently exceeds the marking numbers on the scale itself.   
For most of us selecting a counterweight to the craving to eat may be a solution.  For example, committing to “being in shape” can overrule ordering from the dessert tray. So too, appearing slim-by-comparison to the photo at the college reunion.                      

Sorry guys, no magic formula for your head and that thinning thatch.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Where Did I Put It?

Just about everybody experiences the madness of misplacing an item. Car keys seem to be #1 in the ranking of these lost causes.  Trust me, dear reader, as the shadows lengthen these events will be turning up with greater frequency. They come along with your AARP card. You are in the company of many others.

There are some among us who feel that you can beat the odds by developing a “system” to find things.  For example, one pal says that he uses the “bureau top” approach, by placing virtually everything he owns on the surface of the furniture holding his socks, handkerchiefs and underclothes. He cautions that this system can only work for bachelors for “if you are married your wife will use the whole house as her bureau top.”

When my brothers and I were little kids our mother, a devout lady who practiced good deeds throughout her life, had us pray to St. Anthony, the Finder of Lost Things. (“St. Anthony, please come round; something is lost and must be found.”) When St. Anthony came through with a positive result it also served as a thunder clap over our heads to be good. I'm not saying each recovery was a miracle, but it only took one “find” to convince us.

Beyond my friend's “bureau top” approach, there is much to be said about “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  Simplicity and routine are critical ingredients to the “where did I put it?” dilemma. Keys on the table by the front door, credit cards in the wallet in your coat or purse – never loose in the jacket or pocketbook. As for your automobile, use the McGuirk Rule.

During my traveling days I shared many professional assignments with a gentleman named James McGuirk. Jim always wanted to be the driver, and that was okay. But he consistently forgot where he parked our rental cars. Not so good. One evening after I retired for the evening, McGuirk came back from a little night life in San Diego. To avoid a problem this time, he pulled the car right up to the main entrance of the Hilton hotel, got out and locked it up. Next morning chaos reigned with guests trying to check out, taxicab service, etc. But the principle is still valid.  Park your own car out front and lock it up.

Just be sure you're not at a Hilton.