“Never send care packages to the so-called starving families in Europe because they’re not starving at all. Can you afford to live in Europe? No. You can’t even afford to visit Europe. And you know what they do with the care packages you send? They whack them with their polo mallets and kick them in their swimming pools and have a good laugh at your expense.” These are the words that I put away in my memory, along with a great many others, after listening to that National Lampoon record over and over in those formative years. The ones we call "teenage." Those were heady times, back when my world view was still forming, but comedy albums were essential for the generation of that view. Those of you who have kept track of that vision over the years shouldn't be surprised that mine comes with a laugh track.
But now back to that whole starving children concern. I was never truly badgered by my parents to clean my plate, at least in as much as it could have saved lives in some foreign country. In Europe, Asia, or even down the street from where I lived. This lack of hectoring may have been due, in part, to the way my brothers and I devoured the meals set in front of us. We were good little eaters. And my mom was pretty good about putting permutations of meat and cheese in front of us so that we only had ourselves to blame if we went to bed hungry. There wasn't a lot of food being pushed around the plate, unless it was on it's way to one of our gaping maws. Starving children, indeed.
But if there was a place that I had been led to believe was full of children in need of a square meal, it was India. Imagine my surprise when, this past weekend, I opened up this story about "the obesity epidemic" in India. Soda, candy, Flamin' Hot Cheetos and all that good junk is finding its way into the formerly malnourished bellies of the teenagers in Delhi. Okay, so maybe malnourished is still pretty much the case if you take that as "bad nourishment." Man cannot live on Flamin' Hot Cheetos alone. More good news: The United States is no longer number one on the list of childhood obesity. That distinction now belongs to Greece. Italy is number two, followed by New Zealand and Slovenia. Estados Unidos shows up as number five. Sure, we're still in the top ten, but it looks like all those carrot sticks and Wii Fit seems to be paying off.