Dear Mrs. Vera,
Would you rather be rich or thin?
With sincere regards,
Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt,
De Bilt, Utrecht, Netherlands
Before addressing this week’s overpriced socio-political scoop of cottage cheese on a pretty plate with a picture of a peach printed on it, I must admit up front that I have never truly understood the rank and title of “Commodore,” though I really appreciate the topic. It neatly applies to the entirety of our nation’s populace, while subtly suggesting they are swirling around in a porcelain melting pot. Some Americans can afford to live in their own toilet, especially certain really gross people like Donald Trump, who I prefer to think of as “AmeriCant’s,” a hilarious and destructive group of ridiculous stereotypes who get stuck in their jumbo, Lapis Lazuli, claw-footed bathtubs, frequently, often while tossing turkey legs at minimum wage wenches with lusty vulgarity.
So, is a “Commodore” a muckety-muck of distinction who “adores” his toilet or is he or she simply a communist enamored of the “odor” of the bowl? I don’t know. FYI, the oceans are full of fish poops, so the nautical origins of the term has a stinkiness associated with it. Even if we successfully kill off all those pesky delicious life forms wriggling around and relieving themselves in our waterworks, I wouldn’t recommend drinking out of that thing. Murdering everything that pees seems a bit like government overreach to me, and I am not one who sees a surfeit of regulation bogging down the current congress — mostly because, having eaten nothing but prunes since President Obama got elected, our elected representatives never seem to be able to do anything resembling “regular” legislating because of all the endless bathroom breaks relentlessly driving up the cost of toilet paper in the greater DC/Baltimore area.
America’s weight problem is approached in magnitude by only its wealth problem, though they manifest in some very different and interesting ways. For most citizens, each abuse is enjoyed at some level of moderation, but there is an increasingly vocal fringe on both sides of each issue that gets an inordinate amount of attention and is starting to make this country look like an old-timey, out-West bordello operating inside a pricey Surry inside an exploding Chaps factory during rodeo week on the international stage. All I’m saying is that so much fringe is not a very good runway look. Unless you are Ted Nugent I guess, but thankfully you don’t have to be, since he is still willing to do it. If you recall, he promised to die for our sins, at his own hand, if Barack Obama got re-elected, and I suppose if more right-wing Christians could demonstrate his levels of faith in his lack of faith in everyone else allowed to vote that might please a raging furious God, even if it does fail to demonstrate a level of compliance with, and commitment to, his self-regulatory policies as promised.
Many on the right feel victimized by The Poor’s ability to stay so rail-thin, pointing out special government pork subsidies such as the removal of funding for the starving, and their children, now not provided by the food stamp program. With this kind of hand-out, the penniless are forever wasting coins by buying smaller dresses, rags and bags to fit their shriveling bodies and hold their ever-dwindling supply of remaining things. The wealthy argue that without any coins to lug about, those profit-draining grumble-bellies could beef up by carrying around their comatose offspring instead of a change of clothing, expired food, or packets of ketchup — an excellent workout that really tones the last two abs and remaining half-glute a family of four poor moochers typically possesses after you stop counting granny once she can no longer keep up.
The well off are wildly jealous of the freedoms the poor enjoy from having to work to lose weight and stay thin. People who own a lot of stuff or who inherited it must hire trainers and shoppers to help them accomplish slimness, and some of that staff is going to eat their cookies and expensive cheeses if you stop watching them like a hawk for even one minute. All that hiring and firing is good for the economy but does little about reducing the waistline of the average suffering moneybag out there. With drivers, grocery store packers and maids to lift and transport food and other shopping the only way to lose weight is to pay someone to move your legs around and flop you about on the floor until the dress fits, or to surgically remove the unattractive bits. These then accumulate in Stephen King’s mind along with all the other scraps of unshapely humanity trimmed off our job creators, there to fester and grow, until released back into the world as a disturbingly hideous and successful blockbuster at some point, possibly called “The Globolem”, and probably starring Joan Rivers.
The sole purpose of government, beyond preventing governance, is now to battle obesity, wherever it occurs, in the non-rich. The irony of pudgy, always-hungry growing children of bankrupted parents or those working three jobs is like an elbow jab on the slopes of Aspen to those that must work and pay to look good. Those that have high costs to lose pounds have no respect for the families where the kids look bad in everything Fashion Week has to offer, and just forget about Milan unless you are a size 2 or less or are a small poodle. People with some credit card debt and a spare tire are clearly bilking the government and destroying the American dream of opportunity, preventing it from its historically noble mission of assisting the modeling aristocracy in the subsidized purchase of private jets, influence and corn syrup futures. All I know is you cannot diet your way out of poverty by eating those golden foil-wrapped chocolate coins they sell at Christmas, although you can make a pretty nice drawing with those things, if the thing you are drawing is brown.
Until they can correlate thinness or richness with either intelligence, decency or equality I don’t see the impressiveness of attaining either as a hallmark of success, but then again, everyone always says how great I look covered in pizza and rolled in emerald shavings, so what do I or they know?
Mrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern-day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!