Yesterday, I got an invite for my high school reunion and the sizes for the optional t-shirt ranged from small to 5XL. This explains why there’s a defibrillator every 5 feet in the Atlanta airport. However, it doesn’t explain why there are so few options for healthy food in a land of farms and farmers.
The last time I went back to Fitzgerald, I hoped to make dinner for my family. I headed out shopping – at the Super Wal-Mart, where you now go for groceries in my hometown – and I was floored by the lack of fresh produce.
The majority of the foods available are shrink-wrapped, boxed, processed, chemical-laden products and you guys, there isn’t a sprig of basil or rosemary in sight. No wonder I had no idea about fresh herbs until I moved to Italy.
Sure, you can get romaine lettuce, tomatoes and carrots but the variety practically stops there. Standing in the “produce” aisle, I got so disheartened by the fact that every healthy option was paired with some gross manufactured product that would negate any health benefits of the natural food. Apples sat next to packaged caramel dip. Cucumbers were surrounded by jars of fatty, creamy dressing. Peaches were accompanied by recipe cards for delicious yet, super unwholesome cobbler.
At every turn you are encouraged to drown, distort and disguise fresh, raw food so that it ends up being much simpler to just drive down Highway 129 to McDonald’s where they do all that extra work for you.
My classmates and I are in our very early 40’s and already someone has had to endure a heart bypass procedure. Full disclosure: I do not know what led to that surgery but, I will venture a guess that there are at least a dozen people using one of those sleep apnea machines at night.
In the two years before I graduated, and for several after, there was a rash of teen suicides in Fitzgerald. It was a devastating trend that left a lot of us more broken than we’ve ever been able to share with each other.
So, what gets to me about those 3, 4 and 5XL options isn’t that my classmates are overweight. It’s the sad fact that we haven’t been able to get past our self-destructive phase.