America The Bloated

We live in America, known by some as the Land of Plenty. To drive this idea home, all you need do is watch TV; especially the news, game shows and social documentaries. Or venture out to any mall or other popular establishment.

Apparently, the average America, regardless of ethnic origin or sex, is seriously overweight. No wonder people in third world nations think we are all wealthy. Who else could afford the amount of so-called food engorged by the average American?

It is hard to view the worlds starving millions and not feel a deep sense of shame at our overindulgence. One would think that along with our "plenty" would also come a little maturity, wisdom and restraint. However, this is not the case.

The average American is engaged in the business if self gratification above all else. Hence almost every endeavor we undertake is motivated by the impossible desire to both have our cake and eat it.

Most of us no longer work for the love of doing something meaningful with our lives. We labor in order to maintain our various habits. Like the avid addicts we've become, we do whatever it takes to assure a steady supply of the many things for which we crave.

In viewing the frantic busywork of our culture, it is hard to tell which came first, the various addictions or the industries that feed them. One thing is clear: there is a vicious cycle involved that is rapidly spinning out of control. The only question is when and where will it end.

For example, Americans spend three times as much per person on health care than any other developed nation. Yet our citizens are the least healthy of those in other developed nations. Why? Well for one thing, we are literally eating ourselves to death. And the more we eat, the more it costs to maintain our paltry level of wellness.

Is it the fault of the so-called "fast food" industry? Yes and no. Is it the fault of a heroin dealer that people are addicted to heroin? It does take two to tango, as they say.

As long as we crave new and more exciting foods, and lots of it, there will always be those who are happy to oblige us. Simply touting buzz slogans like "Just Say No" won't fix the problem in a society that breeds addicts.

Most Americans are taught the mantra of "Plenty" from the cradle onward. We are Americans. Plenty is our birthright. Providing Plenty for ourselves and our dependents is the only way to be liked, or loved; the only way to find happiness.

Sadly, by definition, Plenty is never enough. With Plenty comes the need for more Plenty because it takes more and more to satiate ones craving.

There are addicts all around you. Your husband, wife, partner, mother and so on could be, and probably are, addicts. Almost all kids are.

Some are addicted to eating, others to sex and still others to more mundane things like cars, clothes, jewelry and so on. Most of us have many, many addictions. And some, people who have never so much as had a traffic ticket, are slaves to the darkest of dependencies.

For example, a recent study showed that 31 million Americans use prescription medicine for non-medical purposes. It starts with a simple visit to the doctor for pain relief. Many physicians don't hesitate to prescribe narcotic pain relievers, such as Vicodin or OxyContin, that are far more addictive than so-called recreational drugs. For most people, the prescription is one or two capsules a day. But before long, some find themselves taking 20 or 30 a day and suffering if they can't get that many.

Most of these people are fine, upstanding members of society. Yet they will go to any length to get their fix, including stealing prescription pads, buying their medicine on the black market or worse.

In the past six years, the number of prescriptions written by doctors for these types of drugs has more than doubled every two years. Just another example of how we breed addicts here in "Murka".

The concept of Plenty or greed, as it is more commonly known, extends to almost every facet of our existence. But perhaps it is best illustrated by our bloated quest for money and the power that it brings.

How must the poor in third world nations, or heck, even the poor here at home, feel when they hear about the kind of money certain people "earn" here in America? Come to think of it, how does just about anyone feel when they hear that three rather mediocre actresses were each paid twenty million dollars to act together in a movie? And it was a fairly silly movie at that.

The amount of money paid to actors, entertainers, professional athletes, corporate moguls and so on is beyond all measure of their worth. A professional baseball player recently signed a 10 year contract for 230 million dollars.

Even in the Land of Plenty, this just seems to be a bit much.

Perhaps there will come a day when the cost of everything will become just to much to bare. Those who are addicted to sports or movies and so on will simply no longer be able to afford the cost of a ticket. As we continue to rape the environment and pollute the atmosphere, perhaps the cost of food and other commodities will be so dear we "Murkans" must finally learn restraint simply because we have no more Plenty to pillage.

When that day arises we may well find that America has become little more than a ravaged, impoverished nation of little consequence. In that not so far away time, we will look with wonder at the splendor and opulence of the European Community and tremble in fear at the awesome economic and military might of China, the new Super Power of the world.

In Caesars day, the ruin of Rome was at hand, even as its bloated Senators sat debating their nonsense issues, deep within the false security of what was still thought to be the most powerful metropolis the world had yet known.

That sounds an awful lot like Murka to me.

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