As many of you know, I am concerned that the United States of America, if it were an animal, would be the hippopotamus of the world. The average American woman now weighs more than the average American man weighed in 1950. The average American man now weighs approximately the weight of a juvenile elephant. Go anywhere now and watch as we waddle around like ducks on an Easter walk.

I am sure the causes could be many for this explosion in obesity. It could be the fact that my phone says I took 345 steps all day yesterday. I’m shocked it said such a thing. I really don’t remember making at least 200 of those steps.

Maybe it is all the processed foods with additives that sound like a high school chemistry class. Maybe it is all-you-can-eat buffets and free refills at the fountain drink counter. Perhaps it is meat filled with hormones that the poor cow, or pig, or chicken ate to increase their size. I ate a chicken the other day from a local fast food joint that I promise you could have bench pressed 275.

But I think the root cause is convenience stores. Yep, good ole convenience stores.

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as convenience, period, forget whether it was a store or not. Folks went out of their way to be inconvenient. I believe the Baptist preacher preached it was a sin to do something for convenience’s sake. The hard way was the best way. Walk 5 miles to school. Work from sunup to sundown eight days a week. Take the pain, forget even an aspirin. Vacation for two days only, and within 50 miles of home, in case you had to work some more.

Back then, if you wanted a snack you could have either made some the night before, and carried it around in your pocket, or do without. The only other choice would be to enter a grocery store to buy a snack and they only had snacks in packs of 12 or 24. No self-righteous man alive would have dare entered a grocery store simply to buy a pack of cookies. Nope, you did without.

Now, however, there is a convenience store on every corner. If I drive more than 20 miles I need to stop and fuel up my body. A man can’t be expected to endure the rigors of a grueling drive of 25 minutes or more without at least a Pepsi and a Payday candy bar. I’d estimate it takes 1,800 calories to drive from here to Atlanta. And a trip to the beach, since we are on vacation, takes 3,500.

I use the self-serve credit card pump so I do not have to go in and face the temptation. It does not matter. A bag of Cheetos calls out to me, like a ghost in a horror movie ... Come in and buy me … please. I am helpless. Add some Sweet Tarts and a box of Milk Duds. Throw in a Gatorade — and may Krispy Kreme burn in damnation forever for beginning to put donuts in convenience stores — six glazed donuts. I surrender. And, Seven Eleven, it’s all your fault. You started all this.

Hello, baby elephant, here I come.

Email T Gamble at

wtg@colliergamble.com.

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