Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A Bit of a Rant Today on the Passing Scene
For lunch I had another client luncheon – this time with a pregnant woman! She was keen for Greek, so off we went to Molyvos again. I had humus with pita bread and olives. Of course it tasted good, but I felt guilty – too much pita, and too much oil from the olives. I had the Greek salad without the feta cheese, and of course, too much oil. I guess I could have ordered no oil on the salad, but when I am in the company of a client, no matter how friendly I am with her, I just feel like an ass making suggestions to my meal. I need to find a restaurant which serves a great menu for “normal” people, and a large hearty salad for vegans who are looking for a nutrient-dense meal without much dressing at all. It was a great conversation about dieting - she is pregnant, and her husband is on a hardcore 90-day eating and workout regimen. We also discussed why women not only assumed I would cheat on the diet, but are a little miffed I have been so diligent. Her theory is that women diet all the time, and cheat on their diet all the time, so the fact that a man can just decide to flip a switch and be militant to a new healthy lifestyle is confounding.
I then met up with my old boss, who had also invited advertising clients, to the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden. I was not hungry, but even if I had been, there was nothing to eat at the The Garden. I must say, I saw a neat little gadget. They were selling beers in a plastic mug, and in the handle of this mug was a slot to stick a large pretzel stick. Maybe I was envious of their afternoon drinking at a basketball game, but I thought it rather ingenious. From amazing seats we watched the University of Connecticut get crushed by St. Johns University. Although it looked like a persistent street mugging (The Big East plays that way), it was entertaining. Of course the image that stuck out the most was seeing some players from the previous game walk into the stands – young men in impeccable shape – drinking sodas. I guess youth is really wasted on the young.
The more I hear about this soda tax the more disingenuous it sounds to me. It is just another revenue stream for the state that will not do one bit of good to help reduce childhood obesity. First of all, increasing a can of soda from $1.00 to $1.12 will not deter any lover of soda from that soda, no matter the income level. But let’s say it does, for the sake of argument – what about candy bars, ice cream, and all that fast food which is even worse for childhood obesity? They are not getting taxed. If somehow this tax resulted in every school having mandatory Physical Education and Health instruction at least three times per week, then I would be willing to listen. But, as it stands, this tax on soda will accomplish none of its goals, and in the end, it is the parent’s responsibility to raise their children in a basic common sense, and healthy manner.
I say let the free market determine the cost of goods and services, and really attack this problem of obesity. Even though the rearing of children must be the responsibility of the parents, schools should be aggressive in the teaching of nutritional health, and home economics so children can learn what to eat, how to cook it and why. Sadly, today, those courses are largely non-existent. Also, rigorous instruction and participation in Physical Education every year is a must. Additionally, a letter sent to all parents explaining the difference between Asthma and fatigue, and to be excused from full participation in PE class the child must bring in 7 letters from 7 doctors, and go before a panel made up of former Draft Board members from Southern States who served between 1967-1971 before they are allowed to sit out a game of dodge ball.
I know that advertising junk food is an enormous influence on children – the McDonald’s ad during the Winter Olympics saying, “Today we eat like an Olympian,” was outrageous. Bruce Jenner probably never ate a bowl of Wheaties until after he won the Gold Medal in the decathlon in the 1976 Summer Games, but I can assure you he was not feasting on burgers and fries while training either! But, simply penalizing the free market economy and those who spend the most on advertising is not the right idea on many levels. The bottom line is that the state has the children from 8 AM – 3 PM every day for years, and that is plenty of time to educate them on good nutrition and the perils of an unhealthy life.
I am making more of a stand here in this debate, and I would cherish some dissenting opinions.