Boring November, But Not Long Until Obese-mass

Posted on November 23, 2011

Despite it being the month of my birth, I have always found it difficult to find anything inspiring about November; every aspect of it is about as interesting as painting a coat of magnolia emulsion on a wall then watching in fascination as it turns lighter and lighter through the drying process. If November was a person it would be John Major, if it was a car it would be a Ford Focus 1.6L. Totally inoffensive, but sensationally dull. Even now as I look out of my window the weather is doing precisely nothing, the sun can’t be bothered to come out and the rain is too bored to release itself from the clouds. Hurry up December, at least then we have the buzz of Christmas and the threat of frost or snow to look forward to along with the prospect of eating handfuls of Quality Street and Twiglets for no apparent reason.

November: Inspiring
Actually, science tells us there is a reason that we forage through sweets and stuff our faces at Christmas and it is all rather disturbing. For millions of years before the invention of agriculture, humans lived like all other mammals in a permanent state of thinking only of survival, eating and reproducing (many women will argue that men still live in the same state of mind). So, every time food was found, it was devoured as fuel for the days and possibly weeks of starvation that lay ahead. Millions of years later in a modern society, these instincts come back when we are face to face with a bowl of Quality Street, nuts, crisps and twiglets or in my case, wine gums, chocolate peanuts and cocktail sticks boasting poor quality sausages and a cube of bland Cheddar cheese. I can eat a whole bag of wine gums despite knowing that it is a cast iron guarantee that I will still feel nauseous several hours later. I have now stopped buying them completely and crisps have also been banned from my house for the foreseeable future. What isn’t there can’t be devoured is my theory.

Taking this subject (greed) a bit further, some experts say that portions of food in fast food restaurants have risen 40% in the past 25 years, yet empty boxes and cartons aren’t a problem because our brain suffers from not knowing when we have had enough, we are just like labradors! Combine that with a lack of exercise and jobs sat behind computers and it equals to not being able to burn off the excess, the greedy bastards of the western world are literally eating themselves to death, it has all the makings of a cracking Sci-Fi movie. Even when we are watching the television we don’t have to move to change channels, unless of course you are like me and you get your TV exercise by lifting up sofas and cushions looking for the remote control. In Basingstoke, a town that if it was a month it would be November, there are no fewer than three McDonalds, two KFC’s, two Pizza Hut’s, one Burger King and a mind boggling three Greggs sandwich stores within mobility scooter distance from each other. It is pathetically ironic that playing fields are being dug up to create more room for the out of town retail parks housing many of these places.

Now listen to this, I love this statistic…….in the second quarter of 2011, McDonald’s had 1250 stores in the UK that served no fewer than 325 million customers, the equivalent of every person in the country visiting a McDonalds restaurant twice a month. That is absolutely staggering! Apparently it was quite a unique period of quarterly sales as retail analysts say that the figures were inflated (a bit like the consumers) because of the Royal Wedding in April. Quite what the guests made of being served Happy Meals at the reception I don’t know, perhaps it was to add the common touch, after all, as David Cameron says “we are all in this together” something that wasn’t lost on me as I watched a news clip of radiant couple driving around in circles in an Aston Martin as the the Proletarians looked on adoringly. Whilst the McDonald’s figures are staggering, add to that the sales from 800 KFC restaurants, 700 Burger Kings and 697 Pizza Huts and we are talking obesity Heaven……. or Hell, depending on what angle you are coming from. Those figures suggest that there must be families who actually have fast food as a daily diet. Not only that, they won’t burn it off playing on an X Station or whatever it’s called, especially when there are no playing fields left.

There is an argument that non-competitive sports in schools hasn’t helped, but it depends how you look at it really. If some fat kid is told he is a useless loser every time he waddles across the line in last place, he is more likely to arrive with a sick note, resulting in less exercise, increased weight and probably childhood depression, another ailment that is disturbingly high in the wonderful capitalist world of Western greed. I can’t make my mind up on this one, the competitive side of me thinks that you have to have competition to aspire to higher levels, but the other side of me can’t find a reason to dismiss the notion that equal sport and exercise should be accessible to all, without prejudice and punishment for failure. I am going to have to continue sitting on the fence and let you all decide on this, but surely, somewhere, there is a happy medium that I failed to find in a cricket team featuring a huge diversity of talent. I felt damned when I acted at both ends of the spectrum, it was was no one’s fault, it is a natural reaction for parents to want the best for their child, we are all consistent in that…well most of us anyway…..after refereeing an under 9’s game the other week, I witnessed with deep shock, a grown man physically and mentally abusing his son.

So, loads of questions unasked, but at least it temporarily distracted me from the fact it is still November………………..only seven more days to go!

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