Remember when talk show host Maury Povich used to devote entire episodes to the pandemic of "fat babies," ie morbidly obese three-year-olds? Once I saw a kid on there eating toothpaste -- not by accident. Like a whole thing of Colgate in one sitting.
The "fat baby" shows, of course, were meant to sensationalize and pathologize childhood obesity in such a ridiculous way that the studio audience (and folks at home) could point and laugh at the extreme of a problem or "otherness" of it -- thereby absolving themselves of any wrongdoing as a community. You either church giggled or were horrified at the sight of a 100-pound pre-Kindergartener, but it's not like one lived on your couch.
Every episode (and there were plenty) always featured a mother for whom the show was "her last hope" because she had no clue how to stop her child from eating double cheese burgers for breakfast. And then there were the mothers who were "proud" of their child's predicament. In one episode one such mom said, "Bigger is better," by way of explanation.
Look, I don't have kids. But it doesn't take a genius to know that "baby fat" isn't supposed to be taken literally. Aside from a serious medical condition that might cause weight gain in children, I think we can all agree that those in charge of their tiny charges diets should have to foresight to feed them delicious and nutritious food that's in their family budget and readily available in their crime-free unpolluted perfectly manicured neighborhood. Ha ha ha! Then I got a dog (which I would never compare to a kid but go with it).
I took Miles, my 18-pound Pug, to the vet recently because for the last three days he's been scratching an ever-growing bald spot on his head. It's icky and red and scary. Oh, and also he's been having seizures for months. They're scarier.
Let's just get it out of the way that the vet I take my dog to is janky. And by janky I don't mean the doctor and his wife aren't qualified -- they love all the animals treated there and always scold me for not letting Miles sleep in my bed. "Not even a nap?!"
The Shaw Animal Hospital (name changed) is janky because it smells like wet werewolves in the waiting room and because most of the pet owners there are suffering from some undiagnosed illness.
When I first brought Miles home three and half years ago, I took him for regular $65 dollar check ups at this fancy place around the corner with homemade doggie treats and muzak. Then I got over myself. Now we hop on the metro for a few stops and emerge into a world were folks care about their dogs just as much but also realize they're dogs.
When the vet asked what kind of treats I give Miles I was quick to answer, "We never give him people food! Ever."
"Really?" he said over his glasses. "Not even bacon?"
But he LOVES bacon. It makes him happy. He only gets one slice (and a little grease) on Sundays. He's a dog. He should live a little. He WANTS it. Does he not bleed?!
"Carrots from now on, maybe even a green bean. But get rid of the bacon and only do organic food," demanded my vet before adding, "I mean your whole house should be organic. Potato chips make people crazy."
After lecturing me on the ills of junk food for every living being, including human grown ups, the vet said all of Miles' ills should be cured with a different diet. His skin problems, his anxiousness, his allergies -- all of it. This is also around the time I started taking notes for myself. Eczema? Check. Allergies? Check. Anxiety? Sure, why not?
Instead of giving us steriods, my vet suggested produce. I left $140 dollars lighter and with a renewed sense of self. It's not like I never heard of the old adage "you are what you eat," meaning that the food you put into your body makes up the building blocks of you. So if you put in sub par cement, the foundation's gonna be shaky.
So now because of my dog my house is going bacon-less. How can I partake in all that fried pork deliciousness if poor ol' Miles can't? Now I know how those Maury moms felt--sort of. Man, the things you learn at the vet's office.