Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hope This Answers the OP's Question

Today's Failbook fail: Fact.

Someone observes that homeless people tend to be fat rather than skinny. Some jackass attributes this to "cannibalism."

Let's begin with the obvious fact that accusing the food-insecure of eating each other is simply heartless. Now let's move onto the question at hand of why homeless people are fat. Well, let's say you are living on the street. (This shouldn't be too much of a leap. First imagine your family has died. Now imagine that you have become mentally ill and thereby lost your job. Now that you have no job, you can't pay for rent or a mortgage, so you have no place to live -- and, oh, by the way, no health insurance to cover your illness, since you lost your job . . . because you're ill. Welcome to America.)

Maybe you're panhandling; maybe you're doing odd jobs; maybe you've been forced into sex work. Regardless, you're making a tiny percentage of what you used to make, say $10 a day. You don't know if you'll make $10 tomorrow. You don't want to save the money, because you have to sleep, right? You'll sleep in a parking garage or on a bench or under a bridge, and anyone could come by and take your money, maybe rough you up in the process. So there's no point in saving anything. It's too easy to lose what little you have.

What you need now is the maximum number of calories with that meager $10. Let's see -- a Big Mac is about $4, that's a good start. Maybe one for lunch and one for dinner. Now you have $2 left -- you might buy something like a box of Twinkies, high in calories, and it'll keep, too. Plus they're soft, which is nice because you don't have dental care anymore.

Now, a Big Mac is only 540 calories, so two in a day is just half your daily allowance of calories. Now, a 12-pack of 150-calorie Twinkies will put you over the 2000-calorie limit, but now it's time for us to think about what's been in our $10's worth of daily meals. Lots of saturated fat. Lots of sodium. Lots of sugar.

And finally, when it comes to surviving outside 24/7 in most of America, being skinny will get you killed, thanks to hypothermia, while being fat will stave that off somewhat.

I, as a privileged middle-class American, can afford to eat more or less whatever I want (I can't actually eat whatever I want, thanks to endocrine disorders, but I can afford to buy the food I need in any case). But because I don't have my head up my ass, I realize that this is not the case for everyone. And, therefore, I don't write Facebook statuses like that. Not having your head up your ass = not writing jackass Facebook status messages. Pretty simple, actually.

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