The Old Coot doesn’t measure up

You’re 10 years old and waiting in line to get on the roller coaster. You see the bar ahead, the one you have to be taller than, to ride the “Monster.” Will you make it this year? You hope against hope, pulling yourself up, to be as tall as possible, wearing work boots to give you an extra half-inch. Maybe? But, no! Not tall enough again this year. 

Fast forward 50 years. It’s a different size test you need to pass this time, not to get on a ride, but into your favorite “all-you-can-eat” restaurant. Ham, chicken, roast beef, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, potatoes au gratin, vegetables (mostly going untouched), a zillion other items and a dessert bar that could feed a small village. This size test is not a height measurement; it’s a set of bars that measures your girth. You’ve got to fit through them to feed from the trough. You wait. You try. You fail. And are just as crushed as you were when you failed to make it onto the roller coaster fifty years earlier. 

A real scenario? Not yet, but it looms ahead as we evolve into an obese society. Without it, the all-you-can-eat restaurant business will become extinct. I think we’re safe for a while; it hasn’t come to a set of bars at the entrance. Not yet. The airline industry is another story. They already make us pay for our width, to buy a second ticket to get on board. We’ve gotten bigger; the seats have gotten smaller. What a profit-making strategy. We’re on even more of a collision course. A measurement system is all set up at the TSA scanners. The airlines just have to convince the agents to relay measurements to them, so they can collect the extra before we get on board.  

We wonder how this has happened to us. Every year when we went for a checkup our weight was almost the same as the previous year. Okay, maybe a pound or two more. If you do the math, you won’t have to wonder anymore: two pounds per year, times 50 answers the question of how this happened. I refuse to do the math; I know my girth is expanding and I also know my height is shrinking. It’s just a matter of time before I’ll be banned from both, a smorgasbord and a roller coaster ride. It ain’t as great as you might think to be an old coot.

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