Friday, September 24, 2010

Big Boy Ain't so Big

When I was a child my grandparents used to treat me to lunch at a place called "Big Boy." Outside Big Boy stood a rotating statue of the Big Boy himself, rosy cheeked ever-open-mouthed in jolly laughter, a child laborer and presumably a glutton, wearing checkered overalls and white cornered folded hat, and holding aloft a tray with a burger the size of a Toyota Tercel complete with inch-long sesame seeds (the plastics behind the thing were quite advance--probably injection molded polymers, I'm guessing), fries and either a shake or soda. This giant child, this idol of gluttony, loomed over my childhood town. It pointed, as church steeples are meant to do, toward our idea of heaven: creamy, beefy, sugary, salty, glorious gift of industrialized food processes.

Big Boy is no longer around--the Big Boy himself has been sent to a graveyard in an undisclosed location in Michigan, along with other members of his kind.

I'm not making this up. There is a Big Boy graveyard at an undisclosed location up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. If capitalism has anything resembling communism's graveyard, where statues of Lenin and Stalin rest, this is it.

It's a shame, really, that we now know Big Boy kills. I remember my kindly grandmother encouraging me to order an ice cream concoction that included, but was not limited to
(1) a cup of blueberry tinted corn syrup,
(2) a cup of pseudo-ice cream, and
(3) a half a cup of whipped cream.

America was a hefty nation at the time. In fact, my first real etched-in-stone obese person memory is from Big Boy--I remember the awe of seeing one man occupy the entire bench seat of a booth. One man!

It's insane to think how much weight we've put since then. I could run through the numbers--the percentage of obese in America climbing from around 10% in 1990 to around 30% today. But all you need is to consider the Big Boy himself. Take a look, won't you? He isn't that big, is he? Look at those chicken arms!

Meanwhile in Canada men build machines with wings, and fly...

HPO Flight from U of T Engineering on Vimeo.

And in America we have to burn a billion tons of jet fuel to drag our ballooning carcasses to the NRA gun show.

C'mon, America. Go get yourself cleaned up. Even Canada's making you look bad. What a disgrace. Try riding a bike now and then.


Marten said...

Interesting to see Asian countries at the very bottom of that list. Must be something to eating rice, biking, and walking after all.

Interesting post, I grew up in Michigan but had no idea it was home to the Big Boy graveyard.

Fascinating video, that's quite an amazing accomplishment, and graceful flying machine.

Anonymous said...

I'd bet the population of the U.S. is more massive than China's or India's despite the U.S. having 1/3 the number of people.

Nick said...

ok, let's see here:

eating everything the tv tells us to eat: american
driving everywhere the tv tells us to drive in our cars that the tv tells us to own: american
accusing those who might suggest other courses of action of being unpatriotic: american
questioning the sad status quo: unamerican

if only there were some preventative way to bring healthcare costs down and keep us from having to pay for all the heart disease and diabetes patients. all that money needs to go to the big companies to pay for the technology to let us fight without soldiers.

Tim Rugg said...

Nick... I'm sure you mean the money should go to peace initiatives.

Calvini said...

I think Nick means "bicycles," Rugg, which are pretty much the same thing as peace initiatives, although you guys are both pretty good at using them as weapons of warfare.

Yeah, Marten, that video is pretty cool, isn't it? If they can get it to the point where we can strap the wings on for the commute, now that'd be something.

Nick said...

yea, bicycles would be acceptable.

non-sarcastically, i really think it should go towards primary education. peace initiatives are nice, but i am of the humble belief that we should probably tackle the basic domestic issues first.

Drake said...

"If they can get it to the point where we can strap the wings on for the commute"...

That opens up a whole new set of dangers for cyclists. Imagine in addition to getting run over, now we could get landed on. :-(

Tim Rugg said...

Nick... are you now referring to women or school? I was thrown off by "domestic issues".

Nick said...

"domestic issues" = poverty, hunger, literacy, health, home/joblessness, you know. i just mean in contrast to going out and building other nations, or trying to solve conflicts that we are not part of.

not that i'm against helping other nations. just more of a "get your own house in order before you start telling others what to do" outlook.

Nick said...

-things that government has been too distracted fighting inane political battles to actually address.

that's what i was looking for.

seriously though, just spend money on bikes and schools, everybody ends up happier.