Saturday, February 05, 2005

Here's the Skinny

After six years of looking, I’ve yet to find any fat people in Park City. At first, this was simply an observation. Then it became something of a curiosity. But after several years of futility, you might say it borders on obsession. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against folks that are … oversized. Both of my parents fit (sometimes snugly) into that category.

My interest in this subject is more anthropological than social snobbery. I grew up in Northern Minnesota and my progenitors were raised on milk straight from the cow and gravy with every meal. So even with long days of honest farm labor, pretty much every child-bearing woman and her husband had enough insulation to be comfortable on those cold January nights.

But fat cells don’t need rural cultures to thrive. A short drive down to any mall in Salt Lake City reveals plenty of people of the corpulent persuasion. So why not Park City?

I have a few theories:
1. It’s the elevation. (I’m told there are no fat Sherpas, either, but I haven’t confirmed this.)
2. It’s the water. But we’re having a drought, so shouldn’t people be getting gradually heavier?
3. Liposuction. This wouldn’t surprise me. There are a lot of big-breasted women here as well, and I doubt that’s due to the elevation. (I'll have to check on the Sherpas.)

Now some people might consider this unnatural thinness a desirable trait for a community. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to work into your advertising: Come visit Park City, where the air is thin and so are the people. Or maybe: Park City—No crime. No traffic. No obesity. But in fact, this apparent selling point is a twin-edged butter knife. The fact that nobody’s fat means those folks that carry even a few extra pounds feel conspicuously out of shape. If you can’t pound moguls all day without resting, or take 10-mile trail runs while conversing normally, you feel like a heifer among gazelles. If there’s a little cellulite on a woman’s bum (even though she’s the only one that sees it, and then only while contorted in front of a mirror) she feels hopelessly like Oprah on a down cycle. The end result of this fitness phenomenon? General depression for 75% of our residents.

But not to worry, I have a couple of ideas. One—offer incentives for overweight people to move into town. Maybe a tax break or something. Or better yet, food vouchers. Or, if Park City Thin has you feeling lousy about yourself, spend a week on a farm in Minnesota, where you’ll find people that look big, but care little about it. In other words, they don’t feel small about living large. How cool is that?

I suppose that being thin is great, as long as everyone else isn’t thinner. I think the same goes for money, but that’s another blog.

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