Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Scooter Nation

Recently I went to the local Wal-Mart to purchase home-improvement materials. While there I noticed something that was hugely alarming. The number of middle-aged people doing their shopping in one of those scooter-mobile deals was unbelievable. Literally every aisle of the store was filled with the soft humming of an oncoming scooter engine. Now I’m not writing this to sound off on people who’re legitimately disabled. That’s not what this is about. But I do ask if the whole scooter thing has gotten a little out of control. The ads for these scooters are everywhere on the Internet.

So I ask: Are we really this lazy and lacking of pride as a nation?

I read about a study done through the University of Michigan (I believe it was Michigan not Michigan State). The study concluded that nearly 40% of middle-aged Americans cannot climb 10 steps without stopping, cannot walk a quarter mile, or stand up for two hours. Most middle-aged participants in the study blamed neck problems, back problems, and even diabetes as reasons why they couldn’t complete these simple tasks. To me these figures are terrifying. Not only is that level of physical deficiency pathetic at middle age, quite frankly it’s indicative of so many more problems in this country.

The truth is most back and neck problems come from a life of laziness and inactivity. As far as diabetes goes, if you don’t think bad diet contributes to that condition, you’re crazy. Two places that paint a picture of what Middle America looks like are the local Wal-Mart and Walt Disney World. And let me tell you, the people you see at those two places are overwhelmingly fat slobs who look horrible. You cannot inhale McDonald’s and never step foot inside a fitness center and look good at age 40. Sorry. Not only does that kind of life style put medical costs through the roof and cripple our health care system, it negatively influences our nation’s future generation.

What do I mean by that?

Try to imagine the humiliation a child must feel walking beside a parent who’s so fat or so lazy that they need a scooter to complete a simple shopping trip. Now remember I’m not attacking people who are disabled. But fat-and-lazy is not a disability. Sorry. Imagine the lack of pride a child would feel seeing classmates or friends whose parents are actually fit enough to walk upright around a Wal-Mart. I would’ve crawled up and died if my mother needed a scooter at Price Chopper when she was 35 years old. If that’s the way I was raised, I’d likely be sitting in bed right now, sucking down a Big Mac, 80 pounds overweight. But I wasn’t and now I’m not. And I promise my unborn children that, unless I am unable due to serious disability, I’ll never be caught dead in a Wal-Mart scooter at age 35 or 40 or whatever. I’d rather crawl on hands and knees through the aisles and drag myself around Disney World on my stomach than submit to some damn scooter. Did you know that these scooter-riding idiots get to jump all the lines at Disney World too? So now we’re rewarding laziness. I love it. 40% of middle aged Americans can’t climb 10 steps!? Get off the goddamn couch you fat slobs. Have some pride.

We as a nation wonder why the obesity rate among children and young teenagers is sharply on the rise. We blame schools, we blame restaurant menus, we blame politicians. I say nonsense. You need not look any further than the local Wal-Mart to realize why this country is becoming fatter and weaker every day. If I’m a child and every middle-aged adult in my life is a lazy slob with “neck” problems and “back” problems, and whatever other excuse, these adults are most likely creating a life of least resistance for me. There’s no emphasis on physical fitness and eating right. Instead it’s fast food and video games, and lacking pride in every area of living. This slob-problem’s becoming generational. I read about an invention--a shoe horn--that allows for someone to put their shoe on without even bending over! Bending over is too much work for Americans now. Pathetic.

Now I realize that obesity and lacking health is so often consistent with poverty, and so many people are having a hard financial time right now. I get that. But jogging around the block costs nothing. Taking some pride in your appearance costs little. And putting down the damn scooter and actually walking around the grocery store is not too much to ask of a 40-year-old woman, in any condition. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids.

Brian Huba

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