Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Weight of Words

Our country is [tubby] obsessed with weight. In developed nations, and perhaps for the [pudgy] very first time in the history of humankind, we have reversed an age-old [fat] trend: the skinny people are generally well off while the [heavy] ones are poor. This is a revolutionary [jowly] reversal based on improved agricultural output mated with [piggy] a transportation system that works cheaply [rotund] and around the clock. Add to this the climbing calorie count [overweight] of basic staples, and we have [corpulent] an America that has become [obese] and unlikely to change.

Food, in many instances, has become [bloated] an addiction. It has its own 12-step programs and literature, and there exists [stout] a counter-food movement that promises weight-loss [elephantine] without effort. And if you are wondering why there are so many words in brackets, it is to [beefy] demonstrate that while the Eskimos may have hundreds of [massive] words for snow and the French dozens for making love, Americans [roly-poly] have developed an extensive vocabulary to describe those carrying too [porky] much weight.

I have friends whose weights have [hefty] become the focus of their lives. Almost everyone I know has, in recent times, [ample] followed one diet or another. Diet books [chunky] are routinely on the best-seller lists, and there are television channels [rubenesque] devoted entirely to the sales and promotion of pills, potions, secret balms and lotions designed [large] to make folks shed pounds.  Millions—not, billions—have been [stubby] spent on exercise machines that gather dust in dens and basements. Movie stars and athletes [husky] have launched impressive second careers with exercise videos, [lardy] and the greatest compliment one can bestow nowadays [porcine] is to say to another: “You’ve lost weight!”

There are more words: bulky, chubby, bearish, lardy, hippy, full, generous, huge, substantial, enormous, bovine, fleshy, plump. All the words cited above where found without the aid of a computer or dictionary, and there are certainly a dozen more that I can’t remember but have heard use to describe someone who might be all of the above.

An entire vocabulary based on poundage.  How very strange.

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