FatLand, Part II: The Early Days – chapter 2

April 25, 2010

“So why are we even doing this?”

“Because if we can stay on the screen for any amount of time, and show fat people living peacefully and happily -“normally” if you will- it is a victory for all of us.”

“But if what you say is true, they are going to try to show us as unhappy, unhealthy and diseased.”

“It’s worse than that.”

“How could it possibly be worse?”

“We have it from someone in their organization that they’re going to try to tempt people on the show to act irresponsibly.”

“How? What will they do?”

“They’re going to put bags of snacks all over the place. And they’re also going to try to make people say that they hate their bodies and would do anything to lose weight.”

“So they’re going to try to sabotage any happiness and peace we achieve. In the one place where we might have a right to expect it.  And the hypocrisy – everyone likes snacks at times, but they’ll want us to moan about how fat we feel and how guilty we are, and how we want to lose weight.”

“That’s about it.”

“So what we need to do is to meet with all the inhabitants of the House before the show airs.”

“The list of inhabitants is secret.”

“We’ll get to it somehow.  Who’s the person who gave you the info?”

“Ange, we can’t reveal that name. You know that.”

“I’m not asking for the name. I’m just asking this person to get us the list.  Can he or she do that?”

“Let me see.”


FatLand, Part II: The Early Days – chapter 2

April 21, 2010

“So what you’re telling me is that CompleteFitness grabbed all the sponsorship rights, discouraged other sponsors and then told you that they would pull the show if the sales figures didn’t measure up?”

“Yes.  In a word.”

“Why isn’t anyone yelling about this and getting all the media and the blogs in on it?”

“Because CompleteFitness has all these other megabusinesses and institutes behind them.  They’re all on each others’ boards.  They’re together in this.”

“Megahealth, in other words.”

“In these words. Exactly.”

“But why don’t more people know about this?”

“If you just say the word ‘health’, everyone just ducks and starts kowtowing and putting their heads to the floor.  Sorry about the grammar.”

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

April 2, 2010

Chapter 2       June 10, 2008

Karen called a few days later.  She sounded upset and jittery.

“I want you to hear this,” she said.  “Complete Fitness -our premier sponsor- said that continuation of the show will be based on sales and memberships from their products and franchises.  They reserve the right to pull the show at any time they see fit.”

“Who negotiated this?” I asked.

“I did.”


“Ange, it was the only way to get us sponsored.”

“No one else was willing to step in?”

“Not after CompleteFitness grabbed it.”

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

March 31, 2010

It was almost as if they were upset that none of us had diabetes or high cholesterol or heart disease or arthritis. Going even further out on a limb, I would bet that at least one or two of them hoped that some of us would develop them. That way their previous theories and prejudices would hum along nicely, as would their grants from fat-hating foundations.

In a way I was tempted to give my sister and fellow residents a pep talk about perhaps eating their fruits and veggies and getting in a walk every day. But then I thought, well, it’s never been proven that consuming x food or walking y miles actually prevents anything except supposed risks. And wasn’t the point of this “experiment in living” to show that if we just lived without worrying about our weights or lifestyles and went about the routines and pleasures of living, we would simply be living as others do?

And they -or someone, somewhere- had to remember that we are a majority, not a minority, according to the National Health Center, since something like 63 percent of the population of the USA was now “overweight” (overweight for what? over whose weight) or -that oh-so-fearful bugaboo of an expression – obese.

I was so looking forward to that first part of the first segment of the first show, where we would all introduce ourselves and people would get to hear that we were simply ten people who happened to be fat and had virtues, failings, problems, elations, wishes and hopes in our lives just like everyone else.

It was scheduled, Karen told me, for July 4th. How corny could they get?

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

March 30, 2010

That in itself came as a major revelation to the execs who had to approve it, that there could be and actually were ten people with no underlying medical conditions or problems. They had two teams of docs check us out. The doctors were almost as astonished as the execs. It was rich. They kept exclaiming to each other, “I don’t understand it.”

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

March 30, 2010

Ten of us fat people go into a house and live. That’s it.  They don’t put us on scales or diets. We are not called to “date.”  We had to fight for that, though, and the compromise was that we list everything we eat on the electronic “board.”  But we don’t get weighed. We don’t get told what to eat.  We make out lists and they buy whatever we ask.

And for the “experiment in living,” as they call it, they chose ten healthy fat people.

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

March 24, 2010

It was our own show. And we didn’t even have to pitch it.  All it took, seemingly, was one sympathetic and enthusiastic exec.  She piloted it through the maze of offices and boards.

We knew, of course, that one of the main selling points of the show was that myriad companies were looking forward to selling heaven-knows-what brands of diet pills and smart meals and even -the ultimate clunker/clinker- body-changing surgery.  We decided that for the sake of getting the show on, we would have to live with this.

The entire concept of the show itself was exquisitely, heartrendingly, kneebendingly simple.

FatLand, Part II: The Early Days

March 24, 2010

The three archivists are searching now. They were given a grant by the Board to find out about the early days of FatLand.  Part of me wants to give them every last ounce of information I have, and damn the consequences. Part of me wants them not to find me.

Whichever wins, I am in deep and unadulterated trouble.

FatLand Part II: The Early Days

March 23, 2010

I made a bargain, and I have kept it. I harbor no illusions about my own altruism, but the bargain was not for my sake.

Perhaps I was glad to avoid what will undoubtedly precipitate a crisis. Fate tricks us into thinking that we can leave well or even somewhat ill alone and gloss over the past to live free of emotional debt in the present. I am sure I am not the only one to find out that this is not so.

FatLand: Part II – The Early Days

March 20, 2010

Well, it has finally come.

I cannot say that I have been happy or fulfilled here, even though the hideout is gracious and stately in a gracious and stately European capital. But the stateliness and grace were bought at the expense of the truth, and this has weighed upon me constantly. How ironic, that people used to think that “weight” and supposed heaviness of body were sins. The real sin is the weight on the mind that comes with hiding the truth.