Monday, November 23, 2009


Poignant isn't the right word. Compassion, pity, sympathy, empathy -- not it. What ever it is though, about futility, I feel it. Felt it. I felt it about fatherless kids, enough to try to do something about it. To a lesser degree I feel it about fat people.

Futility. A concrete noun that carries with it an abstract feeling, if you feel it. I won't go into it again, the insanity cycle of doing the same thing expecting different results. Not in detail. Broadly, calorie restriction slows metabolism up to 45%, stopping calories from being used as energy, storing it instead. Lethargy and cravings.

Of course there is some character issue involved. A little bit at least. It's the industrial carbs that gets the obesity cycle started. Everyone knows not to eat those sorts of things. Chips and cookies and things in bags and boxes, of whatever flavor. It's the stuff parents don't want kids to ruin their appetites on. A sort of folk wisdom. What, it doesn't apply to adults? But since we're answerable only to ourselves, in actuality, we eat what we want. Character, then.

But that's what's behind almost every problem. You married a slutty woman because you were attracted to her. You lost your home to foreclosure because you were adolescent with credit cards. You lost your job because et cetera. Not about blame, though. We have problems because we're human.

The fat problem is about what we eat. I know of people who eat once a day, and spend no small part of it on the treadmills, and they don't lose the fat. It's the carbs. The industrial carbs. Refined, denatured, powdered, fried. Pre-digested. What are we, baby birds? Instant bloodsugar means instant hyperinsulinemia means excessive fat storage and consequent lack of energy. Industrial carbs means an excess of the raw materials that are essential in forming fat. Don't eat the industrial carbs and you will starve your fat instead of your immune system. Seems like a good deal.

But appetite is what it is. Even with the actual sure knowledge of what the problem and its cure are, some shocking number of people will continue as they are. Smoking through the hole in the neck. At which point, futility largely decouples itself from compassion. Perhaps not though. Judgment hardly does any good at all. It serves justice only, if anything. Justice is an abstract.

As for fatherless children, well, for a time that's what Jesus was, on the cross. Isolation is our natural state. If we fill the void with comforts, it cannot be a surprise. High on the list of first-learned-words, is "mine".

Even good boys need to be bad sometimes. Bad, in the sense of disobedience. Find a way you can get away with it. Because otherwise it's always about being good, and that's not possible. Not fully human. It's not healthy. I saw that yesterday. It was very interesting. I hadn't known it in quite that way before. I called to a little boy and he kept on running. Heard me of course, he's not deaf, but he made the calculation that he didn't have to listen. I think he was right. It's a safety valve. A subtle assertion of individuality. Yes, we want them to be above criticism. We want them to receive the praise of strangers. But on the other hand, those are the children who get into windowless vans idling by the bushes in big parks. We have to practice being disobedient.

I seem to have mellowed. Maybe it's the season.


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