It’s no secret that obesity, and its various attendant ailments, is one of the major killers of Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed. In case you think you know what obesity is about, here are a few facts to chew on:

  • Obesity is defined as the condition of being 20% over your ideal weight, based on height, age, gender, and build.
  • Almost 40% of Americans can be described as clinically obese.
  • 75% of American men are clinically obese.
  • Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
  • Obesity and its related illnesses account for about 21% of health care spending in the U.S.
  • 21% amounts to $190.2 billion. With a “b.”

How did this happen?  If you’re alive in the United States and not living in a media-free lockdown, you know that fast food is one of the main contributors to Fatmerica. It’s cheap, readily available, and a time saver for those who have to work long hours and still get food on the table. I get it.  For many people, finding a different option is tough to impossible.  I also know that what people put in their mouths, food or otherwise, is their business and I have no business judging.  Which is why I’m not judging fast food consumers.  I’m judging fast food providers.  Sorry, I can’t call them restaurants.

This subject really hadn’t been on my radar much before last year.  I could lose 5-10 pounds, sure, but obesity is not on my long list of ailments and syndromes.  It made its way to my consciousness about a year ago when I moved into my lovely new apartment, which has a glorious view of…a Taco Bell.  You can’t win them all. Living across from a Taco Bell went from being a bit of an aesthetic nightmare to becoming my favorite sociological ground zero.  Almost daily, TB launches a new product that manages to make the same combination of rice, corn, beans, cheese and some “meat” substance seem new and original.  Why settle for a burrito when you can put Doritos in it and double the calories? Why have a soft taco when you can have a hard taco AT THE SAME TIME.  This double wrap is ingenious. It’s a great filler, conning consumers into thinking they’re getting value for their dollar.  Want more value? Taco Bell will accommodate you by stuffing a cheese substance in between the layers of your Franken-taco and call it a Gordita.  And because America’s favorite flavor is “fried”, just take a soft taco shell, throw it in the deep fryer, stuff it with the usual, add more cheese and now you’ve got whatever the fuck a Challupa is.

As a quick side note, while the food is grotesque and an affront to the general public, I do have to give Taco Bell props for marketing.  Any business that can rearrange the same shit, give this rearranged filler roughly twenty different names, and successfully sell it is pretty awesome.  From a commercial perspective.  Even if you love Taco Bell and you think I’m an asshole, you have to agree with me on this marketing angle.

Which brings us to this moment, during which I am staring out my window and writing about a joint that is serving, what I consider to be the equivalent of, soylent green.  Why this virulent rant?  Because a new sign appeared in my neighbor’s window today.  I did a double take when I saw it and, once again, didn’t know if I should curse these purveyors of glop or congratulate them on their ingenuity.  I mean, how can anyone improve on chicken nuggets?  They’ve become a staple in American households, be they of the organic or entirely chemically rendered variety.  What’s better than a meal of about 8 nuggets, some fries and a coke?  I’ll tell you what’s better.  Figuring out how to get people to eat way more than 8 to 10 nuggets without thinking about it.  You take the nugget out of the meal category and you make it a snack food.

Taco Bell hates you because their newest take on the classic nugget is to call it a “chip.” These chips are validated as chips because they are served with dip.  To quote the good people at Lay’s, “bet you can’t eat just one.”  That’s what Taco Bell is counting on.  No one eats 8-10 potato chips and calls it a day.  If you don’t demolish the whole bag in one sitting, it’ll be gone after sitting number two. But those are just wafer-thin bits of potato; Taco Bell’s chips are hefty, meaty, high sodium messes.  Which is what we will be if we fall for what the brilliant minds in Taco Bell’s marketing department have cooked up.

I hate Taco Bell for duping the public.  I hate Taco Bell for its shitty storefront that I have to see every day.  I hate Taco Bell because they’re good at what they do.  None of that really matters.  What matters is that Taco Bell hates YOU.  It demonstrates that by wantonly participating in your imminent, yet preventable, death.  Would you eat at the table of someone you know hates you?  Wouldn’t you have a Borgia moment and consider that the hater might poison you?  A Borgia would know to ingest nothing and get the hell away from that table.  If you want to get through this life without becoming the subject of one of TLC’s patronizing shows about morbidly obese people, make like a Borgia.  If you don’t know who the Borgias were, there’s a TV show about them.  It’s probably sponsored by Taco Bell.

About Author

Lawyer, literary agent, book packager, film producer, writer, New Yorker. Likes long walks on the beach and little dogs. Hates mean people and when the pharmacy runs out of Klonopin.

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