Anyone who has ever lived in an older house, and I’m talking about a little farmhouse built in the 1900’s, not a 70’s tract-house, knows that people are bigger than they used to be. All you have to do is look at the size of the doorways in older houses and other historic buildings that are a max of 6 feet high and 30″ wide and you will get the picture. Just take a trip to the grocery store, with their fleets of little motorized carts provided for the Too-Fat-To-Walk-Comfortably-For-15 Minutes, or try squeezing into a Southwest airline seat between two fatties, and you can easily see that people have gotten a whole lot wider as well. I wonder what a little farmer, from way back in the 1890’s, would think if he were suddenly transported through time to a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City? Land Of The Giants!!
I was watching a Tivo’d recording of Ken Burn’s “The War” series, about World War Two and its impacts on the nations and people of the day, and I couldn’t help but notice there were no fat people in 1941. None of the thousands of hours of newsreels and home movie footage compiled for this excellent, if slightly sleep-inducing series, show any overweight folks. The only exceptions were the occasional Italian grandma and Winston Churchill. Up until 1965, the fattest guy in America was Jackie Gleeson.
There have been studies and articles written ad-nauseam about the Plague of the Fatties in the US, but it is truly a World Wide (pun intended, big time) issue. And I blame Starbucks. Not because of their amazingly caloric and fat-laden drinks; and not because they have taken the most non-fattening drink on the planet, coffee, and turned it into the beverage equivalent of Apple Pie Ala Mode. I blame their “Starbucks-Speak”: Small is Tall .
I will readily admit, with some mild amount of embarrassment, that I do find myself in a Starbucks more often than I’d like. One thing they do have is consistency. A mediocre double latte from a Starbuck’s in the middle of Bee Eff, Arizona, is certainly preferable to the Stuckey’s just off the Interstate, and their boiling hot, coffee-flavored water; but I refuse to speak their strange language. I order a “small” double latte, not Tall or Venti, (which means twenty in Italian, and has no meaning in Spanish) and they look at me like I’m speaking that pop and crackle language from Alien Nation.
“Small is Tall” is a pandemic; and the smalls are getting taller. Have you seen the size of a “small” drink at a movie theater these days? And they always have to tantalize you with “Would like a medium for 25¢ more?” No, dammit! How in the hell am I, with an already questionable prostate, supposed to get through a two and a half hour movie without 5 trips to the bathroom, when the smallest Diet Coke I can get is 32 ounces? And they want to give me more? I think the Large actually comes strapped to a back-pack, with a hose and pump attachment that you just hoist on over your shoulder to carry it back to your seat.
“Small is tall”, local version: there is a decent hamburger/chicken shack in town that has only two sizes of drinks. My ordering dialogue went like this:
“Bacon Cheeseburger, fries and a small Diet Coke,” says I.
“We don’t have Small; all we have are Medium and Large.”
Um, but you only have two sizes…
“So I’ll have the smaller one.”
“We don’t have small, we only have large and medium.”
To me the logic here is inescapable; but this guy is a Houdini, and I feel the need to present my case more clearly.
“If you only have two sizes, and one is larger than the other one, then you have large and small. You can’t have Medium if you only have two sizes. Medium, by its very definition, requires there be three choices.”
“But we only have two, medium and large”
“Fine. I’ll have the medium.” Where is Jack Nicholson when you really need him?
Last Saturday night was apparently National Cleavage Night. No one told us or we would have flown the welcome banner a bit more prominently at the restaurant; but we did have several entrants in the derby. So many so, that some of the male, straight, staff members (so many double entendres here I can’t stand it…) were debating the merits of some, along with the down-sides of others: “If you put the ones on Table 4 into the red dress on Table 11, that would be the ultimate…”
The clear winner was indeed Table 4. Clearly she was quite proud of herself, and of them, and her lack of undergarments was readily apparent. Later, when one of the crew used the Unisex bathroom after she had, they found this:
Zounds! She’s using Titty Tape! I don’t know why I should be so shocked and disappointed because, once again, it’s a case of Tall is really Small. God damn you Starbucks, God Damn you.