Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, March 10, 1997

Future shock:
Big Mac, not Big Brother

SOMETIME in the future: "What are ya in for?" my cellmate asks. I'm not in a talking mood. I'm hungry, damn it. But that's what landed me in the joint to begin with. So I figure, maybe if I talk, it will take my mind off eating.

Violation of the DDA act, I tell him. Used a friend's Nute card to try to score a Big Mac. The HPs nabbed me. Had an undercover guy behind me in line.

"Figures," he says. "Guy your size draws attention from the Health Police. They knew you either were using someone else's Nutrition Card or had fiddled with your own to squeeze a few more burgers out of it."

I was going to say it's not fair. But we all knew that now. Where were we when the government passed the Dietary Daily Allowance Act to begin with?

I'm under a 10,000 Calorie Detainment. That means I'll be held for about 25 hours. I've pulled worse time before.

But how long will it be before I'm marked as a Career Dietary Abuser? Then I'll be shipped off to one of the government fat farms, like Lean Jean's Ono Cuisine State Health Incarceration Facility. Lean Jean's isn't bad, I've heard. Better than doing hard time at Carrie's Carrot Coral and Mandatory Aerobic Center.

IT had to come to this. The signs were there, even way back in the 1990s. It started with banning smoking. First in offices, then restaurants, then bars, then everywhere. It was known that smoking caused health problems and healthy taxpayers were tired of paying for lung transplants for smokers.

Then the focus started on nutrition. Heart disease killed as many people as smoking. And heart disease was caused mainly by fat.

A congressional investigation showed that fast-food joints like McDonald's knew about the bad health affects of fat for years. Internal documents proved it. Yet they still kept selling the stuff. In fact, they flaunted their power, even selling Big Macs for only 55 cents, deliberately making fat addicts out of kids.

Something had to be done, so the Dietary Daily Allowance Act was passed, limiting how much fat, salt and sugar people could ingest. Special computer cards were issued so that everyone's dietary intake could be monitored by a central health computer. It was easy to do. All they did was change "Recommended Daily Allowance" to "Mandatory State-Regulated Daily Allowance" under the new act.

BUT people still over-ate and heart disease climbed. So the Health Police were formed. Eaters getting more than their scientifically set nutritional allowance were fined. But that discriminated against the poor because the rich didn't mind paying. So they built the state health detention facilities. And privatized them to deflect flack from right wingers.

Anyone caught ingesting more than their allowance could be dragged into Health Court and ordered detained. It was for their own good. And for the good of the National Health Program. You could be held until you burned up a certain number of calories. That way, you wouldn't profit from your over-ingestion. If that doesn't work, they just hold you on a state fat farm till you slim down.

Now a city councilman wants to form the Honolulu Exercise Branch to enforce mandatory exercise programs. The scientific proof is there. People who exercise are healthier. It's up to the government to keep people healthy. Why should taxpayers have to pay for the health problems suffered by couch potatoes?

Well, I gotta go. The screws have come to drag me and my cellmate to the Stairmaster room. I don't know if I can take it. We'll have to walk by the desk sergeant and I can see from here he's eating lunch. My god. It's an Arby's Bacon Cheddar Deluxe.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite" Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802 or send E-mail to charley@nomayo.com or 71224.113@compuserve.com.

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Honolulu Lite by Charles Memminger is a regular feature of the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin. © 1996 All rights reserved.


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