Saturday, August 22, 2015

Guilty Pleasure

Imagine, if you will, that you are a college student somewhere in the Midwest. Your prospects, as a tubby glasses-wearing fellow seem limited in the extreme. Until one day, you have this genius idea: What if I ate nothing but one particular fast food for months at a time? This kind of diet nearly killed Morgan Spurlock, but did win him a best director award at Sundance. This Midwest kid did manage to lose a bunch of weight. Enough to impress a former dormmate who wrote about him for the school's newspaper. That article was in turn picked up by Men's Health magazine, and from there it was just a hop, skip and a jump to Madison Avenue where a weight loss program that was tailor made for a before and after campaign was born almost out of necessity. This guy lost a whole extra person. A big one. He subsequently became the face of that fast food chain, starting way back before the turn of the century.
The story doesn't end there. This fellow used his new found fame and wealth to establish a foundation to create awareness about childhood obesity and find ways to help stem the tide of this national trend. This guy was a celebrity, due primarily to his willingness to consume the same basic meal over a span of years. If the story ended here, it would be heartwarming, but since it is America and our heroes seem to have a ticking time bomb affixed to them, it makes sad sense that there would be an end to this inspirational tale.
Jared Fogle plead guilty to paying for sex with minors and receiving child pornography. This came just a couple of months after the executive director of the Jared Foundation was taken into custody on similar charges. At this point, decorum suggests that we limit any further discussion of five dollar footlongs. It is now a sad story, and one that cannot end well. I will assume that the "black card" that Mister Fogle bragged about two years ago that would give him free meals at Subway for life has been revoked. And his marriage has ended. Jared's own children will probably never see him the same way they used to. Child pornographer is not the way most people want their story to end, but you can probably stick a fork in this one, because it's done.
But I can't help wondering if he had never bothered with the sub sandwiches or the interviews or the TV ads. Would he have had a happy ending, instead of that happy but ugly middle? F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American lives. Jared got his. Unfortunately, it was followed by a third. The end.

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