Slightly Off Center

Slightly Off Center: Keep America fat and free

By Dennis Hinkamp

…but not fat-free.
by Dennis Hinkamp

Do you know what’s ruining an otherwise flawless health care system? It’s those fat people, people who smoke, people who don’t exercise and people who eat junk food—and especially those who have all four bad habits. They are driving up health care costs almost as much as people like me. I have almost no unhealthy habits except one: trying to stay healthy.

I’ve had expensive injuries from skiing, biking, running, playing soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, stitches from playing basketball and baseball and skin pre-cancers just from being outside doing all these things. I’ve had surgery on both feet, a knee and an elbow. Doing all this exercise probably means I have consumed more food, breathed more air and worn out more shoes and clothes than the average person would in a lifetime. Staying healthy is killing me and no doubt driving up the health care costs for everyone else.

None of this would have happened if I just stayed inside and watched TV, played video games and watched commercials about people playing video games. And if any of this stuff really makes me live longer, the tax payers are going to have to pay more out of Social Security and Medicare the longer I hang around.

On the up side, I have stimulated the economy by purchasing exotic bikes, boats, skis, Frisbees, disc golf discs, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, racket balls, tennis balls and mountains of specialized shoes for every sport. I’ve paid a year’s wages on entry and membership fees just for the privilege of doing all this crazy stuff. Physical therapists know me on a first name basis.

So, healthy or slothful, what’s best for the economy? It’s a tough call. Possibly the best thing for the economy would be to encourage people to go to school, get jobs, abuse their health and die young; which is essen­tially what we have been doing.

As the health care debate lingers on longer than the war in Afghani­stan, all the crazies are coming out to play. We actually have a group of people running around high-fiving each other for defeating health care reform. If you followed my earlier twisted logic you might conclude that keeping the populace numbed and unhealthy is the best approach. If everyone were like me, we would be wallowing in debt. Oh wait, we already are.

The answer is that there is no easy answer and that’s why we have been arguing about this since Hillary Clinton was merely a first term First Lady. The current First Lady is taking a more reasoned approach and is just going after the low-hanging fruit of childhood obesity. Who could be against that? If they haven’t yet, it will be the same keep-government-out-of-the-home-except-for-gay-marriage swizzle sticks. If you force everyone to be healthy, everyone in our once great nation will end up slim, beautiful and socialist like those Swedes.

So please, urge your elected representatives to put an end to all this health improvement nonsense and let America stay fat and free—but not fat-free.

Dennis Hinkamp is really a fat person trapped inside of the body of an obsessive-compulsive exercise nut.

This article was originally published on March 31, 2010.