Sunday, March 14, 2004

An Obvious Solution

Yesterday's evening news, towards the end of the half hour, had a segment about how overweight Americans are. After smokes, burgers and fries are the next biggest killers. (Alarming statistics shoot up on the screen over the image of fries sizzling in lard.) The government is starting an awareness program. McDonalds is cutting out its supersize fries. Interview with a man recovering from triple bypass surgery saying that if only knew ten years ago now what he knows now. Peter Jennings shakes his head.

The next segment discussed the rising gas costs. (Close up of gas tank prices.) Interview with a man driving an SUV saying that he spends $80 a month on gas prices. His large belly is pressed against the steering wheel. Some discussion with economists about the reasons for this. Peter Jennings shakes his head.

There is an obvious solution to problem 1, obesity, and problem 2, gas costs. Walk.

Gregg Easterbrook writes that a century ago, the average person walked 3 miles a day; now it's less than 1/4 mile. Sounds about right. My parents don't think twice about taking the car to a dinner party one block away.

As an urban dweller, I log 3 miles a day. I blow through shoes every few months. And I moan and gripe to all who will listen about those miles and all the crap I have to carry to the park. (Close up of me in despair.) Last week, I walked 1/2 mile to the park carrying two toy strollers, spare diapers and wipes, two sippy cups, a soccer ball, a bottle of soda for me, snacks, and a minature mutant ninja turtle on a skate board. We roamed around for two hours and then walked 1/2 mile home. The last leg of our trip took 40 minutes because the kids were so tired.

Usually I feel quite sorry for myself, because of the miles and the baggage. But tonight, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. Because of our lack of easy access to the car, I'm thin, the kids pass out with exhaustion at 7:00, and we've saved a bundle on gas and gym membership. Also, I'm limiting global warming, reducing our reliance on mideast oil, and easing congestion on America's highways. I guess I should be happy we can't afford to move to the suburbs.

Read This
Yet another article on Google in the Times. What most amused/disturbed me was the fact that some assistant professor is teaching a graduate seminar entirely on the subject of Google.

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