Surgeon General’s warning: Eat healthy, lose weight — or fight a mountain lion

1drivethru copy Like many of you, I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the shocking news that obesity had officially become the No. 1 preventable health crisis in the nation. In fact, I can even tell you which super-sized meal I was eating. The truth is, it’s time for us Americans to make some drastic changes in our eating habits before the unthinkable happens, and we’re forced to apologize to the French for throwing the earth off its axis.

With that in mind, we scheduled a Q&A session with the Surgeon General to explain how we got so fat, and what we can do to reverse this trend so that Americans can get back to living a normal, healthy lifestyle cut short by smoking and drinking.

Q: How did we get so fat?
SG: We’ll start around 200,000 B.C., when early man was scavenging for food and living in dirty enclosures littered with bones and debris—a way of life that can still be observed in many college dorms. The difference is that, in prehistoric times, “fast food” was something hairy travelling on all fours. While there are plenty of campus refrigerators filled with hairy food items, in most cases it has stopped moving by the time it’s eaten. Because of this, early man had the distinct health advantage of burning fat in order to obtain food, compared to what many college students burn, which is generally a large Papa Murphy’s pizza.

Q: Then why do so many college students look so trim?
SG: Because their metabolism is still very high. This allows them to continue their bad eating habits without consequence until around age 30, when their metabolism suddenly kicks into reverse and, without warning, starts sucking up fat like a industrial shop-vac.

Q: What can we do to break this unhealthy cycle?
SG: The problem is that food has become too convenient. It wasn’t long ago that Americans were a trim people undaunted by the idea of actually walking into a fast food restaurant and standing in line before being fed. Now, drive-up windows hand us food bags roughly the size of a potato sack, which we plant between the seats in our tank-sized SUVs. To break the cycle we must return to our hunter-gatherer roots. How?

Q: Hey, that’s my line.
SG: Sorry.

Q: How do we return to our hunter-gatherer roots?
SG: By making it more difficult to get fast food. This can be achieved any number of ways, starting with the implementation of smaller, highly mobile restaurants that are constantly on the move. You know where Taco Bell is today, but what about tomorrow? And if you do find it again, what if it runs off? True, there’s always a chance of finding a herd of Arby’s, but chances are you won’t be able to bring one down by yourself.

Q: I’m not sure about that idea.
SG: Please keep your comments in the form of a question.

Q: Fine: Are you nuts?!
SG:Okay, instead of mobile restaurants, how about taking a page from our prehistoric past by making any fast food purchase a life-or-death situation by forcing consumers to fight a mountain lion…

Q: A mountain lion?!
SG: Just a small one.

Q: Are you dieting right now?
SG: …I was really hoping it wouldn’t be that obvious.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

22 thoughts on “Surgeon General’s warning: Eat healthy, lose weight — or fight a mountain lion”

  1. I think I had a #4 when I heard of the obesity crisis. I don’t know where from, but I’m pretty sure it was a #4. Or did I have 4 of whatever the meal was? In any case, the #4 was somehow involved.

      1. OK, scratch that. My journalistic sources tell me it’s still up for debate. Chaz’s gender, I mean, not the weight gain when you turn 30 thing…

  2. We all need to go back to talking the time to go to the over crowded grocery stores and looks for the healthy food. Then we need to get it home and unload and put away everything. Then get out the pans etc and beging prepping our own food and then enjoying it…. Trouble is no one wants to take that much time and then your so famished and kids are off the wall you throw 10 cookies at them to shut them up until the food is ready… 🙂

    1. With four kids who are all active, including our finicky son Connor who has Asperger’s (He’s actually pretty easy — he only like six things), it gets pretty crazy when it comes to feeding time. I do most of the cooking, so we pre-plan meals once a week before our big shopping day in “the city” at Winn-Co. However, I admit I have fallen victim to the drive-thru on nights when we have to be in three places at once 😦

      1. And my places are not drive thru but up to and they atleast have greasy ingredients…. Subway, chipotle, or Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza… Atleast there are fresh veggies etc… Kids like it way better anyway!!! But I’m just one parent with 3 kids and youngest = to 5 kids… So like having 8?
        Sorry about your aspergers… That is difficult!

        1. It’s really not that bad, and Connor has come a LONG way in the six years since his Mom and I first came together. Now, he’s able to take a joke without feeling like it’s personal, and he even dishes it back. I really think his ability to recognize and process humor has helped him with his biggest challenge: social skills. Of course, he’s becoming a teenager now, so all bets are off!

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