I was having lunch in the park, with my workmate, John. My lunch consisted of polish sausage sandwiches with mustard and onions, a Twinkie and a milkshake.
John was eating broiled skinless chicken, a grapefruit, washed down with Perrier water.
He poked me in the stomach and said:
“Sid, you should come with me to the gym and work off some of that.”
I scrutinized John, he was emaciated.
“A few years ago I renounced the diet and fitness craze, John.”
“You’re out of step with the times, Sid.”
“Sorry John, I don’t want to do push-ups, sit-ups or pull a rowing machine, jog or anything more strenuous than rolling out of bed.”
John looked at me like I was an alien.
“I get a great reward from being fit and watching my diet.”
“What’s that, John, after a shower you admire your flat stomach for a minute in the mirror?”
“Yes, I like the way I look, but the main thing is I probably will live longer.”
“So, you will live longer. Then you will probably go to a nursing home and die,
slowly neglected in a corner or you will end up in a low-rent neighborhood and try to make ends meet on Social Security.”
“But Sid, you could have so much fun playing handball and aging gracefully.”
“John, let me enlighten you on the new scientific discoveries.”
“What are those?” said John, quizzically.
“That exercising and diet doesn’t work in many cases of controlling fat. Hormones and genes are just as important if not more so.”
“I don’t believe it.”
“Yes, it’s true. Hormones are the substances that tell our bodies what to do. And the appetite gene is what we inherit from our parents.”
“How does it work?”
“Well, some people no matter how hard they try, can’t lose weight because of a defect in their hunger and fullness hormones. Even though you are full, you still feel hungry and want to eat.”
“What about the genes?”
“It concerns the appetite gene, whether it is turned on or off. If you’ve had a lot of stress in your life, your appetite gene could turn off and you’d get thin or it could turn on and you’d get fat.”
John just stared at me.
“So, in conclusion, killing yourself with exercise and diet is irrelevant. It’s your hormones and genes that are important. Your fatness or thinness is not under your will at all.”
“You mean I could start eating sausage and drinking beer again?”
“That’s right, John, it makes no difference!”
John had a look of surprise on his face.
“Go to the beer garden behind the tavern and look at all those happy folks popping sausages and drinking steins of beer. Then they thump their stomachs and smile. It’s complete heaven.”
John was smiling, thinking of all the wonderful food he could have again.
“Look, John, at those runners in the park, how emaciated they look, and then they drop to the grass, tongues hanging out, wheezing and throwing up.”
John gawked at the runners.
“If that’s the way to health and happiness, pass me the salami and beer!”