News flash, y'all! This just in from - well, wherever these things come in from. America is getting fatter - especially in Mississippi. We are in an obesity epidemic, and there is no let-up in sight.
Excuse me for a moment.
"Jenna! Could you please ask your mama to put a little more of that blackberry jelly on my next three biscuits? And while you are at it, tell her not to be so stingy with the syrup on the next stack of pancakes."
OK. I'm back. Sorry for the interruption. Just trying to have a little breakfast while I'm working. A man's got to keep his strength up, don't you know.
This obesity thing is apparently a big deal. Listen to some of these statistics.
Two out of every three Americans are considered to be obese, according to - well, whatever those charts are that decide those things. That's almost 67 percent, isn't it? And we have 25 million obese children waddling around, eating Twinkies for breakfast and having McDonald's for lunch and supper - that is if you believe the statistics that are being thrown around.
I'm sorry. Somebody in the other room is asking me a question.
"Sure, we can go out to eat for lunch. Yeah. Barbecue is fine, but let's don't go to where we went last time. They only put about a half-pound of meat on my pork-pig sandwich. Let's go to the place that loads up the bun and puts a lot more sugar in their sweet tea."
Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yeah. Obesity. It seems that in 31 of the 50 states, we are fatter this year then we were last year. The percentage of obese American adults has doubled over the past quarter-century, and the rate of childhood obesity has tripled. That's bad news, and the reasons are a mystery to me.
Can y'all excuse me one more time? My lovely wife, Lisa, is about to go to the grocery store.
"Let's have steaks for supper. I want a 16-ounce T-bone. And buy the great big potatoes. Don't forget the sour cream. Hawaiian sweet bread would go good with the steaks, and whatever you do, don't buy any more of that fat-free salad dressing. It ruined my whole meal last weekend."
I know I'm being rude, but you know how it is. I just have a couple more things to tell Lisa and then I will be right back with you.
"Pick up one of those pecan pies for dessert. Or maybe the coconut cream. Oh, shoot fire. Get one of each. And pick up some stuff to make peach ice cream for after church Sunday night. And it's a long weekend, and there are some good ballgames on TV, plus a golf tournament and the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon, so buy some chips and dips and cookies and plenty of Co-Colas - get the red cans, I ain't drinking no Diet Coke over a holiday weekend. And if you get popcorn, get the ultimate butter kind. Oh, yeah. And plenty of frozen pizzas in case the kids have friends over, and some spare ribs for Monday."
Sorry about that. Let's see - oh, yes. The obesity report. Yeah, it seems that the epidemic is actually hurting the American economy because us fat folks get sick more often and lay out of work. Plus, we have a lot of other longterm health care problems. Heart disease. Diabetes. Stroke. Cancer. The risks for all of those things are increased by obesity, according to this report, not to mention a diminished sex drive.
Sounds serious to me, but I don't know what we can do about it. I'm a few pounds overweight myself. Always have been. I think it's glandular, though, because my wife and kids all eat the same things I do for supper every night. My wife is a little-boned woman who has to run around in the shower to get wet, and my kids all take after her.
I'm sorry. It's Lisa again. I thought she had already left for the store.
"Go for a walk? Are you crazy? It's hot out there. What? I can't walk on the treadmill. It's covered up with clothes. Don't you have some shopping to do? Buy some of those canned mixed nuts, too. The big size. The ones with lots of cashews."
Geez! A fella can't get any work done around the house. I could have been Shakespeare if I had never gotten married!
Oh, no. One more interruption. This is the last one. I promise. It's Jenna again.
"No, honey. Daddy can't play tennis this afternoon. There are too many games on television. I'm sorry, sweetheart. Tiger's playing tomorrow, and you know how much I like watching Tiger. Why don't you go upstairs and play some video games, or chat with your friends on your computer? Or watch a DVD. I picked up three good ones at the video store last night."
Well, like I was saying. I don't know why there is so much obseity in the country, but there is some good news, too. Dunkin' Donuts is not going to be using trans fats to cook its doughnuts anymore.
Doughnuts! Those would be good for breakfast tomorrow morning.
I gotta go y'all. I have to take my wife to the store.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.