Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's the point?

Yesterday, one of my two best friends texted me that the third in our trio may come to visit him in NYC for the Iron Man 2 opening.

Yes, both my best friends are comic book geeks. Then again, I'm an all-around geek, so they have me beat on all other fronts.

I called to see if this threatened visit was more likely to happen than some of the past visits that were threatened but never made. And I, of course, ended up talking to my best friend's lovely wife.

She was a bit miffed that she's not recognized as one of my six regular readers and also worried that I keep referring to Jewel as hefty, which will lead to body image issues later. I reminded my friend's wife, as the psychiatrist that she is, that even if I didn't do this, Jewel would blame me later--if not for body image issues, then for something (or everything) else. Besides, I don't call her hefty, I call her husky.

The reality is that 3B was as husky as Jewel is. We just make big kids. What's slightly different, and amusing to me, is how sensitive everyone is when you say that your girl is big or pudgy or fat or husky--a euphemism coined to avoid all those other disparaging terms, which has itself become a term of disparagement. But if you mention that your boy is big or pudgy or fat or husky, nobody minds. In fact, people celebrate it.

And, let's face it, this goes on throughout life. Big boys are celebrated, even though it's just as unhealthy and unattractive to be a big boy as it is to be a twiggy girl. Obesity and anorexia are two sides of the same coin, and it's time to stop using asinine euphemisms for men who are nothing more than fat--he's not stocky, he's not mostly muscle, he's fat. It's not attractive, and it's deadly. We need to stop being so sensitive about referring to everyone's weight--it's not doing any of us any favors. Women are dying from it at astonishing rates, but so are men.

And, boys, if fear of death isn't enough to motivate you...I know, I know, you'll never die--you're still 18, can drink a bottle of Jack in 15 minutes, and can still eat a bag of chips before halftime...then you should be shamed into shaping up by the boom in male breast reduction surgery.

So, while I know that the good doctor's concern is well-intentioned, I'm also hoping that by talking more openly about all body image issues--for boys and girls--that we'll help Jewel and her brother avoid problems.

And yes, I'm hoping they have some sense of humor about it. If not, don't worry, I'll modify those posts. There's nothing I wouldn't do for my girl and boy.

As for not being recognized as one of my six loyal readers, good doctor, I think you're on the map now. The reality is that plenty of people read this blog, including my mother in law, most of my siblings, my aunts, some cousins, coworkers and some internet-only friends. Writing that I only have six readers is a way of poking fun at this blog and at myself. It's a reminder that this blog is not one that's going to allow me to quit my day job, like some.

That's not the point of this blog.

The point was from the beginning to share with my family our life as a family back here, since they're all still way out there on the left coast. When I started, I was primarily interested in sharing it with Mom, who was the information hub for the family. However, although she was a regular reader--and would print posts for my sister who didn't have internet access at the time--Mom died a few months after I got started. Turns out that as a family we figured out how to reconnect our information network, and we all rewired a little bit, so now my siblings read directly--as I read the blogs they write.

Through Facebook even more family have been connected to the blog, but the point remains the same--give a window into our lives. Although I drift into politics, this isn't a political blog. Although I voice opinions that I'm sure others don't appreciate, this isn't an op-ed blog. What this is, despite the language I use, is a family blog. The point is for all of us--family or friends--to stay in touch, to communicate, to see each other as much as the innernets makes that possible.

My firm belief is that if any two people, no matter how dissimilar they may seem, talk for five minutes, they'll find something that they have in common. And through that one item, they'll find that they have an affinity for each other. Given enough time and enough communication, these two people will inevitably find other items and a deeper appreciation for each other.

And that's the point of this blog--to stay connected so that we can stay together and remember that we're all in this thing called life together.

(Judging by your reaction to it, good doctor, it seems to have achieved that goal...if only you could get my best friend, your husband, to break away from the comic book sales on eBay long enough to check it out, perhaps it would work with him too.)

I'm working to make cancer history. Will you help me?

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  1. When I started reading, I wanted to be impressed that you and your friends were doing the Ironman. Silly me.

    I enjoy your posts, and I also believe in calling a spade a spade. I am sure Jewel will slim down when she starts walking, as al healthy babies do. Right now, she is helping Mama lose some of her baby fat by consuming it. I had big babies too, though you could not tell to see them today.

  2. And that's the other thing...just because they're big now doesn't mean they won't hit five feet tall and stop growing.

    We must be related because I'm all about calling it like it is--we need to start telling some of these "super"models that they're too damn thin and it's ugly. And some of these guys--well, I already said my piece about them.

    I don't think for a moment that these are easy problems to solve--anorexia or obesity--but we can start by telling the truth about them.

  3. I like using appropriate words to describe things so my kids will have a well developed vocabulary.

    As for body size, I think your son should be more worried about body size since he is the one wearing the tutu. It will be hard to find someone to lift him if he is heavy. Okay, not really. One of the things I like about the studio where my daughter dances is that they do not focus on body size or shape, but instead on ability. It is a rare thing at a ballet studio.

  4. Great post, sir. I've got a pudgy two year old, but I'm not worried about it because I know that he eats properly and he'll grow out of it.

    He eats properly because the new Western tendency to obesity is very disturbing to me. I've noticed a disturbing trend to try to justify obesity as a lifestyle choice. It's not a lifestyle choice, or if it is a choice it's a stupid choice. Obesity is a public health issue. And in a country like mine in which the public funds the health system it's both an irresponsible civic and health 'choice'. Fat is fat.

  5. We pay for it here too, in the form of higher insurance premiums, so it's just as irresponsible here as there.

    But too many people here would argue that it's un-American to not allow them to make the choice to cost me more money. Just like smokers insist that they're being imposed on because not everybody wants their lung cancer.