Paige Schilt

Sick and Wrong

Filed By Paige Schilt | January 13, 2010 7:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, The Movement
Tags: body image, fat people, fat phobia, feminism, gay families, gay parents, LGBT parent, parenting

It had to happen sooner or later.

When we sent our son, Waylon, to school, we knew that eventually some kid would tell him

that it's sick and wrong

to be


Apparently, some denizen of the playground has taken it upon himself to inform Waylon that he has "fat cheeks." Now, whenever Waylon looks in the mirror, he sucks in his cheeks like a six-year-old Zoolander. Suddenly he shuns his puffy coat. The other night at dinner, when I told him he needed to eat his chicken for a little protein and fat, he looked at me with panic in his eyes. "I don't want to be fat!"

I find these developments more than a little disturbing. Before Waylon was born, my wife, Katy, and I made one solemn vow: no fat talk in front of the kid. Whatever our private struggles, we promised to abstain from negative body talk about ourselves, other people, and especially our son.

It may seem strange that we prioritized body-positive parenting before, say, saving for Waylon's college fund. But it's all a question of context. To say that our families were fat phobic is a little like saying that Fred Phelps has a problem with gay people. Katy grew up hearing "lose some weight" as the one-size-fits-all response to every dilemma. When she became addicted to speed in the eighties, her mother was initially blinded by her miraculous weight loss. There's actually a picture of Katy in the family photo album, looking skeletal and vacant, with the breezy caption "a size six!!!!"

My parents' attitudes toward weight were similarly disordered. They approached dieting with punitive, penitential fervor. At one point, when I was 13, my dad was exercising two hours a day and subsisting entirely on raisins, grapes, and bagels. "You don't want to be unattractive," he'd say when he dropped in between workouts to admonish me and my sister for eating junk. "Unattractive" was the code word for fat. Its connotations were lazy, undisciplined, stupid, feminine, and self-indulgent.

These kinds of messages, which mistakenly equate physical attributes with moral qualities, were shaming and insidious. Luckily, I had one natural ally in sniffing out hypocrisy: my metabolism. I have a fairly fast metabolism. Whether I eat a lot or a little, whether I eat healthy food or junk, my weight stays within the same 10-pound range. By the time I reached adulthood, I had realized that the social approbation I received for being thin had nothing to do with self-discipline or moral righteousness. It was just genes and pure, dumb luck.

Thus, when Waylon was born, Katy and I were determined to disrupt old family patterns. As a baby, Waylon demonstrated a marked preference for well-cushioned bodies. This was most apparent when we traveled to France and decided to save money by holding him in our laps for the 11-hour flight. When I held him, Waylon would toss-and-turn, trying to find a comfy way to rest his head against my bony clavicles. Again and again, he'd give up and reach for Katy's more comfortable belly.

As a toddler, Waylon preferred to rest on Katy's belly while we read bedtime stories. He could fit his body between the crook of her neck and the cradle of her hips. Before he tottered off to bed, he'd squeeze her and bestow rows of tiny kisses. "Belly, I love you! You are the most comfortable belly in the whole world."

Of course, raising a fat accepting child turned out to be easier said than done. Although Katy and I had vowed to eschew negative body talk, that didn't mean that we'd successfully jettisoned all of our negative baggage about our bodies. One summer, when I ventured to the pool in a new two-piece bathing suit, Waylon patted my midsection. "Hey," he said, in a tone of pleasant surprise, "your belly looks kind of fat in that." I resisted the urge to shroud myself in a giant beach towel, but I can't say that my reply, "thanks a lot," wasn't shrouded in sarcasm.

When you've grown up in a fat phobic family, it's pretty hard to leave all those old habits behind. I came up listening to my mother bemoan her wide thighs and child-bearing hips. I know I've slipped up once or twice and said disparaging things about my own body within earshot of my son. And although we try our best to love the bodies we've got, it's not like we don't watch what we eat. Katy's a performer, and she has a target weight that makes her feel more comfortable on stage. When Waylon first realized that she was dieting for an upcoming show, he was absolutely stricken. "Please Mommy," he begged, "please don't get rid of your fat."

It was perhaps the first time in her life that Katy had to assure someone that her diet would not be too successful.

But the most challenging thing about raising a fat accepting child has been helping him make sense of the social stigma attached to fat in our culture. The necessity of introducing some context became clear when Waylon was three and we took him to our favorite pizza place. The waiter came to our table, and Waylon greeted him with a cheerful "Hi Fat!" The young man blushed and avoided my eyes for the rest of the evening, which was excruciating. I wanted to tell him that Waylon's words weren't meant to wound, but I doubted my ability to explain our parenting philosophy quickly and convincingly enough to avoid causing the man further mortification.

When I talked to Waylon about that incident, I tried to explain it in children's terms. Being fat doesn't make someone bad, but calling someone fat can make that person feel bad. It's complicated and contradictory, but I think he gets it. Just to make sure, I backed it up with some good, old-fashioned parental guilt: "If I ever hear you call someone fat in a mean way, I will be very, very upset," I told him.

"I know, I know," he said, in the impatient voice he uses when I tell him something obvious.

These days, when I see Waylon sucking in his lovely round cheeks, I wonder if we've succeeded at all. It's easy to see his self-consciousness about his appearance as an external manifestation of my inner demons, a reflection of my own not-fully-expurgated fat phobia. I think, if only I hadn't said that thing about my butt, if only we'd never told him that Katy was dieting...

But part of me recognizes that there's no way to shelter Waylon from the prejudices in the world around him. And fat is hardly the only issue where there's a gap between our family worldview and the ideology of the larger culture. The other day, one of his classmates told him it was "strange" that he had two moms. Yes, we had to tell him, kids are going to say that. Not everybody knows gay people. Some families don't know that it's okay to be different.

As a parent, I have to trust that Waylon can encounter other people's assumptions without losing touch with our family's core values: justice, compassion, and self-acceptance. But today he still doesn't want to wear his bulky winter coat. Still, yesterday he hugged Katy's middle and said, "you are the best belly in the whole world." I hope that, eventually, the same love will extend to his cheeks, his belly, and every other part of his beautiful, perfect body.

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Your article never uses the word "health." With the exception of mentioning "healthy food," you miss the whole problem with obesity or being "fat."


It is not much different than cigarette smokers and obesity is the number one health problem in the US. For 99% of the people it is also


Unhealthy behavior shouldn't be "accepted." Ever.

Yeah, I knew someone would say that. For those people who want to make the "fat is unhealthy" (and thus, I guess, by extension, we should teach our children to judge and discriminate) argument, I'd just like to refer you to Kate Harding's article "Don't You Realize Fat Is Unhealthy?" (

Harding pretty much covers all the bases, but--since you use the word "behavior"--I'll just reiterate the point I make above, which is that weight ain't necessarily about behavior. In other words, to quote Harding:

Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.” The two are simply not synonymous — not even close — and it’s not only incredibly offensive but dangerous for thin people to keep pretending that they are. There are thin people who eat crap and don’t exercise — and are thus putting their health at risk — and there are fat people who treat their bodies very well but remain fat. Really truly.

Behavior doesn't always correlate to bodily health, either.

I'm not exactly thin, but I'm not overweight either, and because my height disguises it so well people generally see me as skinny. The BMI is BS, but even it says I'm in the "normal" range. Yet I eat like crap (too much fast food, salt, sugar, and red meat, not enough vegetables) and don't exercise either. I was the same in high school, and back then I fell into the "underweight" category.

Despite all the fatty food, my cholesterol is actually a tiny bit too *low*. Despite all the salt AND high stress levels, my blood pressure switches between a "perfect" 120/70 or somewhat *lower*. Despite all the sugar and carbs, I'm regularly hypoglycemic. Despite all the red meat, I'm still a little anemic.

Yet, every time I go out to eat, I'm still wracked with guilt thanks to all the fat hysteria going on.

IMO the "obesity epidemic" is more a result of unexpected consequences of industrialized food production, consequences that affect certain body types more than others. But nobody wants to question our system of food production, because it's part of capitalist pride and because food conglomerates are such huge global entities. It's much easier to tease the fatties.

Thanks for this post, Paige. It's so true. People haaaaaaaaaaate fat people. I come from a family similar to your partner's, with hatred of fat ingrained into almost every meal, every clothing decision, every choice. "Attractive" was made the equivalent of "thin" to the point where even today if a thin person says they feel ugly or unattractive for any reason (bad hair, bad skin, etc.) I just raise an eyebrow. How can you think you don't look good when you're thin?

And, say whatever, there are lots of gay men who feel the same way, of all shapes and sizes. Beauty isn't skin-deep, it's fat-deep. Everything else can be ignored, and everyone else is ignored.

Likewise, I was looking through photos a few years ago and was surprised to find that no matter what size I was in those pictures, I remember I felt I was the same no matter what. I was surprisingly not fat at many moments when I was avoiding the camera, but, hey, being fat is also a state of mind.

It's impossible to avoid in our culture, even with the best of parenting. Kids are going to learn eventually that being fat is the worst sin of all. Of course, the fact that obesity has been on the rise for decades only means that laziness and moral failure are on the rise generally, too. People never stop to consider the full ramifications of this because they just tell themselves that they're concerned with the health consequences of weight, even when they're quite clearly not.

Moral failure is on the rise. In this case it has to do with our corn and petroleum based food supply. I won't rant - Supersize Me and Fast Food Nation.

Paige, this is such an important issue. Needless to say this has come up a lot at our house too. Milo (5) recently looked at himself, sitting down, in his underwear and saw a roll over the waistband, and asked with worry, "Am I fat?" The answer is NO...but it's also fine if you are. We explain to the kids that we are fat activists and that means that we do not say mean things about ourselves or others based on body size. Max's pre-school teacher said it best: "Everybody's a different shape and size, and that's okay." BUT at their progressive elementary school, with its commendable nutrition policy, it's still the case that "fat" and "unhealthy" are thoughtlessly equated, especially by some of the parents. All we can do is keep puttin' the truth out there.

Sorry Paige, but you can't by extension or some kind of mis-direct suggest that the comment "FAT IS UNHEALTHY" makes me judgmental or somehow discriminating. That is not an opinion, but rather a medical FACT.

The same thing happens when you suggest "thin people can be unhealthy, too." You don't have to bitch about thin people to make your point, thin might be unhealthy, but FAT definitely is.

The ideal is FIT, not thin or fat, but fit.

But, when you say things like:

"weight ain't necessarily about behavior."

You've substituted the word "weight" for "Fat." How convenient. The issue isn't weight, people come in different sizes. The issue is fat, primarily the result of poor diet (including quality and quantity) and lack of exercise.

In 1% of the cases a person may have medical condition - the other 99% are fully responsible for their extra pounds.

Take a trip to Europe and have a look at the people. They look healthy. They don't look Fat.

Obesity is a health epidemic in the US. It is now worse than cigarette smoking. Plus, there are many quality of life issues that suffer because of obesity including mobility, public seating, hygiene and findable body parts.

Embracing the Fat (if possible) is not the solution. Neither is suggesting that someone telling the truth about health and behavior is judging and discriminating.

In 10 years if your Son comes home complaining that people called him "wrong and sick" for smoking, I hope you'll help him with that behavior, instead of having Kate Harding write an article about how we should accept bad behavior. She's a writer, not a doctor. Just Google "obesity causes health."

Brian, do you have a source for your 1% statistic? I'd like to see that, because it really conflicts with what I've read. Just off the top of my head, I'd refer people to NYT science writer Gina Kolata's book Rethinking Thin, which draws a very different conclusion from the available science on fat.

Your language about "mobility, public seating, hygiene and findable body parts" is judgmental and discriminatory and just plain mean-spirited. I think you've pretty much validated the assumption I made in my earlier comment.

I agree that good nutrition and exercise are important. We talk to Waylon about good nutrition and exercise all the time--without using "you don't want to get fat" as the big stick to back it up.

Finally, I don't think that the smoking analogy really works. I know plenty of people who eat well and exercise regularly and are still considered fat--and still deal with all of the external stigma and self-hatred attached to fat in our culture. And that's really what I'm speaking to: the social construction of fat, health, and acceptable bodies.

Take a trip to Europe and have a look at the people. They look healthy. They don't look Fat.

Ummm... then come visit the actual Europe that exists in the real world, and you'll see that it's filled with overweight (excuse me, fat) people.

And since you're making this about morally judging people (sick and wrong), is your point that Europeans are simply more moral than Americans? Less lazy, even though the American work-week is longer? More knowledgeable about healthy eating, even though the diet industry is much bigger in the US? More industrious, even though per capita GDP is higher in the US? What's the point other than "Look at awesome Europe, they're thin! No, I don't have body image issues!"

Whether being overweight is unhealthy or not isn't the question, at least to me. The question is how we deal with it. Making people feel like shit, which has, surprisingly, shown no ability to make people lose weight, isn't the response. But that seems to be the only response that America chooses, because it sure isn't doing anything else to combat obesity (fighting corporate food, subsidizing healthier agricultural products, improving school lunches, promoting a healthy relationship to food preparation and consumption, etc.).

Ultimately, though, it's about a group of people who's not doing anything to hurt anyone else and other people wanting to discriminate against them and judge them. I don't think most people would have such a problem with smokers if the smoke were somehow limited to the person who was doing the smoking. And even with that, I don't see how "Ewwww, gross! You suck!" is an appropriate response to any group of people.

The issue is HEALTH, Alex and accountability. If a person is FAT, they did it.

I haven't condemned anyone for being fat. I expressed disappointment. I am disappointed because it is unhealthy AND preventable.

That isn't mean spirited, it's just very honest. I would rather obese people knew how unhealthy it is, than have campaigns to "accept" the unhealthy result of bad behavior(s).

Obesity IS an epidemic. We can embrace it as self-expression or we can care about the health of our fellow man.

Cigarette smoking has declined because of awareness, not acceptance. We should all be aware that FAT IS UNHEALTHY.

So you don't have a source for that 1% statistic?

Paige, if the health of your child is important you Google the information. Obesity is unhealthy and primarily the result of individual behavior. That's not an opinion, it's a medical fact. Research varies on the number of people who unfortunately have a genetic problem (thyroid, etc.) but recent studies show fat children coming from fat parents because of BAD HABITS, not genetics.

Instead of framing your entire conversation on discrimination, you might simply frame it on health. Health is important.

Paige, this is actually a good reference/advice for childhood obesity:

"Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems."

I hope it's helpful.



Do you really think that fat people are unaware of the cultural knowledge correlating health and obesity? Not to mention the cultural stigma? One thing you might not be aware of is just how far that stigma goes.

I've known plenty of fat folks, including people who eat well and exercise. One ex bikes regularly and has been yelled at on the street for it because apparently fat folks exercising is funny and gross.

I've heard dozens of stories of fat people going to the doctor with real medical conditions who don't perform an exam and tell them that it might be weight related so they should lose weight and come back later. In at least one case, it was a potentially fatal infection (unrelated to weight), that was only caught because the patient brought in a medical journal, pointed out her symptoms, and demanded a test.

I sometimes wonder if the correlation between obesity and health has something to do with the prejudicial health care fat folks receive. Or with the diet industry, which often encourages far more unhealthy behavior.

Again, you want to encourage healthy eating? Exercise? Why not focus in on that? Why do you need to lash out at all fat folks regardless of what they eat and how much they exercise? When you also ignore the thin folks who eat junk and never move, I can't help but become suspicious about your actual motivations.

I didn't "lash out" at anyone.

I am also aware that people ridicule fat people. The stigma is very real. I have simply said that we should look at it as the health problem that it is. It's unhealthy to tell a child it's okay to be fat.

I, too have some friends with extra pounds and they work very hard to stay as healthy as possible. It's admirable. But, most of my overweight friends never exercise and they don't eat healthy.

Pretending obesity is natural or "just they way we were born" is counterproductive. I prefer the truth.

"If a person is FAT, they did it."

Ok, so if a person is fat, it's automatically their fault. But if someone eats terribly, doesn't exercise, yet is still normal weight and medically fit (someone like me), it's just the magic of genetics, huh? Interesting how that only works one way.

But hey, keep up the truthiness, it's entertaining.

Hi Brian. I think one thing agreed upon in this forum is that eating junk and not exercising are unhealthy. But when I read this essay, I don't read it as saying anything like "We need to embrace unhealthy habits," or a bumper sticker that reads "Up with Fat!"

I'm slim, despite my eating habits. Sure, I eat beans and rice or smoothies, but I love chips coated in sugary flavors, and I go to McDonalds and I eat five butter cookies at a time. Still, I get "You're so slim and pretty," and as a result I sometimes feed on what I've been told to make myself feel superior when I feel inferior: After all, I'm slim and pretty! I'm slim and pretty!

I think what this essay brings home is that we shouldn't let ourselves or kids be brainwashed by a culture that vigorously pushes and promotes unhealthy foods (watch TV for ten minutes, or open a magazine), and then, at the same time, upholds a body ideal that is impossible for most men and women to achieve, with the result that most of us are filled with self-loathing or self-loathing turned outward as criticism of others: What? you don't have six pack abs and a full head of hair; well, you shave off what little you got and that's...kinda sorta virile, but...still. I'm not even going to consider dating you, after all, I'm slim and pretty!

For me, this is an essay that counters irrational self-hatred and hatred and arrogance. So to read it as as a bumper sticker that reads "Up with fat, hooray!" is to raze over its sharp cultural critique of the truly unhealthy messages we all receive and internalize in a culture where the diet and food industry profit, but we do not.

Fat is not unhealthy. *Too much* fat is unhealthy. Too *little* fat is also unhealthy (starvation has killed a lot more people than obesity).

I was considering recently how many of the people I went to high school with are now obese. The thought of calling them "moral failures" is ludicrous--they are, without exception, better, nicer, kinder, more self-disciplined people than me. That didn't prevent their weight gain and, conversely, their weight gain does not change this truth about them.

I have a really high metabolism too and I eat constantly - junk food, healthy food, if it moves I eat it. Jerame's not so lucky. It's caused some serious issues in our house too though because I'll buy cookies and brownies and crap and eat it and then he'll want it too. The effects are not the same.

I've weighed in the same 10 pound range since 10th grade. Strangely enough, I don't remember my mom dieting much (I can think of once and it lasted about a month), but I remember everyone always talking about my Dad's beer belly. About once a week I puff out my tummy and see if I'm getting close to having a gut and then worry that you can only see abs because I don't have any real fat. That leads me to the realization that I'd have to exercise and that brings me back to "So far nothing. Continue as usual."

Lisa Moore said:

Milo (5) recently looked at himself, sitting down, in his underwear and saw a roll over the waistband, and asked with worry, "Am I fat?" The answer is NO...but it's also fine if you are."

It's not "fine." That is horrible advice.

Nearly 40% of our healthcare costs are directly related to obesity. Obesity shortens a person lifespan and impairs their quality of life. It also affects their appearance.

Perhaps, you should talk to Milo about being "healthy." You can't be fat AND healthy. Talk to him about being FIT and how much more enjoyable his life will be if he feels better, is more well-equipped for physical exertion and how he'll live longer.

Obesity Causes

By Mayo Clinic staff

Although there are genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, the bottom line is that obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat.

Obesity usually results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including:

1. Inactivity. If you're not very active, you don't burn as many calories. Unfortunately, today most adults spend most of their day sitting, whether at home, at work or during leisure activities. With a sedentary lifestyle, you can easily take in more calories every day than you burn off through exercise or normal daily activities. Watching too much television is one of the biggest contributors to a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain.

2. Unhealthy diet and eating habits. Having a diet that's high in calories, eating fast food, skipping breakfast, eating most of your calories at night, consuming high-calorie drinks and eating oversized portions all contribute to weight gain.
Pregnancy. During pregnancy a woman's weight necessarily increases. Some women find this weight difficult to lose after the baby is born. This weight gain may contribute to the development of obesity in women.

3. Lack of sleep. Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can cause changes in hormones that increase your appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.

4. Certain medications. Some medications can lead to weight gain if you don't compensate through diet or activity. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.

5. Medical problems. Obesity can sometimes be traced to a medical cause, such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. Some medical problems, such as arthritis, can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain. A low metabolism is unlikely to cause obesity, as is having low thyroid function.


You're moving farther and farther off topic here. As you've pointed out, the article wasn't about health but about prejudicial behavior around fat. I've experienced this a lot with trans posts where the comments derail the conversation so that it is only about very basic trans 101 and/or justifying trans people's existence when the topic was originally not about that at all and much more in depth.

Similarly, you might note that you've written roughly one third of all the comments here (5/16 at this point), you're not engaging the arguments others are making, you keep shifting your ground by using "fat" and "obese" interchangeably, you're just repeating yourself again and again, and you're forcing the conversation to shift away from the details of parenting in a prejudicial environment and onto justifying the existence of fat folks.

There are plenty of other venues to discuss that and I suggest you go find one. Not every post that mentions fatphobia needs to be one of them.

It's because the issue is "taboo." We're not even supposed to use the word "fat."

The Post is about "it's okay to be fat." I think it is more beneficial to focus on being "healthy." It is difficult to be fat if we are committed to being healthy.

The reality is that after a while those who DO take care of there health and maintain their fitness, get a little irritated with those who don't. Especially when they suggest it not their fault or responsibility.

I'm rail-thin, and I'm regularly critisized by my friend, who I suppose you would call "fat" (but certainly not obese, and by no means unattractive), for my unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. She's a dancer who makes sure to eat healthy as often as possible, and I'm a lazy pig :P Neither of our lifestyles reflects on our fat content, or lack thereof. As people have been saying, while obesity is usually a health issue, fat (to a degree that would cause teasing on the subject, which isn't much) isn't, necessarily.

The point of the article is that it's wrong to raise a child to discriminate against someone for a reason they may have absolutely no control over, or that it would be unhealthy to change (in the case of someone with a slow metabolism). It would be like saying all people with acne are unhealthy, or all kids with below-average grades are just slackers who don't try hard enough. Paige is merely trying to avoid placing a strict attachment between health, fat, and attractiveness, because they aren't as rigidly connected as you seem to think.

Sorry, but you can't avoid the importance of HEALTH. We DO have control over our bodies and how we treat them. We were made to be fit and there is no disagreement within the medical community: FAT IS UNHEALTHY.

So, instead of making ridiculous suggestions about discrimination (that are in reality about an understanding of what is "healthy" and how we find that to be attractive), at least put "health" in the conversation.

WE were not intended to be FAT. It is the unfortunate result of being lazy or believing the suggestion (plenty here) that it doesn't matter how we feel, function (physically) or appear.

If YOU do not care how you feel, or look, or how long you will live - be fat. But, stop suggesting "fat and happy" is real. It isn't.

In the end - it's accountability. It is about taking responsibility for our own bodies. I think that's VERY important. I wish more people did.

Brian, if you want to debate whether fat people can be healthy or happy, there are plenty of places on the web to do that and plenty of people who would probably be interested in engaging with you ad infinitum.

My post is about raising my son to have compassion for himself and others. It's about our choice not to use shaming language when we talk about our own bodies or his body. My parents tried shame, and my sister ended up with a serious eating disorder. Katy's parents tried shame, and she ended up using drugs to achieve the results they wanted. Based on those experiences, and our values, we've decided to try something new.

I think you've made your point rather thoroughly, and I'm not sure what you're hoping to accomplish by continuing to reiterate the same ideas.

I didn't use "shame" Paige - I used truth.

Dismiss that if you wish, but I think it's a great way to bring up a child. He should know that health is important. Even more important than what others think.

You bring up an interesting point, one that Autumn also got me thinking about when she was Waylon's age. We were making "peeps" dolls together (clothespin dolls) and she became frustrated with hers, saying "This skirt makes her look fat!" I am unsure how a clothespin doll could ever "look fat" in the first place, and am equally unsure where she heard anyone put someone down for being fat. It is interesting how pervasive these attitudes are, especially among children whose adults are explicitly preventing any negative talk about it.

Great article! Thank you so much.

Brian, dude, chill out. Have some waffles or something.

He doesn't need waffles, because he sustains his body with truth. That's a fact. It's how he stays so fit and healthy.

Y'all notice the "Free McDonald's Cheeseburger" ad that is being served up in a particularly ironic place in this excellent post?

This essay burns with a zaftig, gem-like flame. I love it.