My journey going 100% vegan for 6 months. November 1, 2009 - May 1, 2010 (And my new life now)
Monday, August 9, 2010
Class War in Obesity
Southwest Porch, Bryant Park
On Friday after work I met a friend at the Southwest Porch of Bryant Park - a great place to feel like you are on a neighbor's recently refurbished patio to munch on snacks or have a drink. I met a father and son from Denmark as we were sitting at the same communal table. Although my Irish side is quite dominant, percentage wise I am actually more Danish than Irish (a Czech [Bohemia] paternal Great Grandmother tipped the blood-line percentage in favor of my maternal Scandinavian heritage). So, being their first visit to NYC I was fascinated by their reaction and I of course gave them my suggestions to get the real flavor of the city. I then asked about Denmark and the people. And of course I asked about obesity issues - they were both tall and thin. They bought me a beer as my friend showed up so wanting to avoid an international incident, I obliged. Not to worry the entire weekend was liquor-free and quite healthy (if you remember, it's the weekends that give me the toughest boxing match with moderation).
They mentioned that in their travels of the United States they have seen much heavier people outside of NYC - I tend to notice the epidemic in the city as well. And as a side note - my cousin is staying with me this week, the one who works for Devo, and they just finished a concert tour. He said the people he saw in middle America (mentioning the Rochester, NY area specifically) were almost to a person quite obese. Very sad. I digress.
So, the Danes answered my question about obesity in Denmark thusly: "The upper class, the educated, are fit, only the lower class and uneducated are obese in Denmark." Although lacking tact, he was speaking the truth and I think that goes to many things here in the States too, mainly: fast food is deathly cheap. I only insulted them once - I never realized Carlsburg is a Danish beer. I never gave it much thought, but if pressed I would have said German or even the Netherlands. I could tell the old man was hurt, he told me so. Sorry! I was also curious about that extremely fattening piece of pastry some people eat in the morning, and asked them, "What do Danes call a danish?" "Vienna bread." Whoa! Who knew? I was about to launch into a line from the film Caddyshack, as often men my age do - typically on the golf course, but thought better of it. There was also the chance of offending them again ( more likely confusing them - along with you the reader) with the inane line from Chevy Chase pondering, "A flute without any holes isn't a flute. A donut without a hole is a danish."
The rest of the weekend will get its blogging due soon - Turks, Cigars, the Park, Yankee game, etc.