The President of the United States hates fat kids. It is entirely possible a particular President Elect may be indifferent or ambivalent, or perhaps even have a soft spot for fat kids prior to his taking office. But just after the outgoing President hands the nuclear football over to the new fish, the former removes the American flag pin from his lapel, pricks his and the latter’s little fingers, and together they complete a short but solemnly sordid and bloody ritual known as “The Pinky Swear.”
Obama wanted to simulate the pin prick after rumors circulated that Bush Jr. contracted hepatitis from Clinton. Bush denied the rumors, calling them “world-class bullshit,” then suggested that even if he was infected, “a little Hep-B is a small price to pay to rule the world.”
Upon his Pinky Swearing In, it is incumbent upon the President to award the Presidential Physical Fitness Award to all the skinny boys and girls. The Award is based on a tedious assortment of exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, curl-ups, etc. What the hell is a curl up, you ask? It’s a sit-up. But someone somewhere declared that sit-ups were bad for you so instead of coming up with a more effective abdominal exercise they just changed the name so unsuspecting parents would keep their outrage fixated on whether or not gay kids would be allowed to go to prom together.
For the purposes of the Presidential Physical Fitness Award the specific exercises are immaterial. If the Office of the President truly cared about the fitness level of America’s youth there would be federal funding for school fitness programs, and time would be set aside every school day to ensure all the boys and girls would practice the exercises in preparation for the test. At the very least there would be a ninety day regimen before the fitness test, similar to an SAT prep course.
But American Schools have none of these things. Not that they necessarily should; mandatory group athletics is vaguely militaristic, and we’re not trying to create little wind-up conformist drones for the Glorious Leader. But if the purpose of the Presidential Fitness Award is not to promote fitness, then why bother with it at all? To make the skinny kids feel good about themselves? They already feel good about themselves, or at least they’ve got better self-esteem than the fat kids. I submit that its purpose must be to make fat kids feel bad about themselves. If no one benefits, then it must be engineered to humiliate, to denigrate, to castigate, and to shame. Having so many obese children makes the U.S. look bad to the rest of the world. If our democracy and our capitalism and our affluence are so great, why are our kids so sweaty on relatively cool days? For the Greatest Country in the History of the Universe the situation is unacceptable, and one of the most important duties of the President (classified Cosmic Top Secret,) is shaming fat American children into losing weight.
We would take the test around three in the afternoon, with all the kids divided by grade level. Push ups were first. I’d stand in line, wondering how many I could do, hoping I could get through it without embarrassing myself, without everyone pointing and laughing. By the time it’s my turn I’m seriously doubting I can do even one push up, but I manage to do a few. It must have been a respectable number since I can’t recall feeling especially embarrassed, just the general self-consciousness that all fat kids feel. It never occurred to me to wonder how many push-ups the portly math teacher who was counting could do, or if he was under pressure from the Secret Service to only count the ones where my chest touched the ground. If he was I’m grateful to him for risking a life sentence in an Alaskan gulag and showing some fat kid solidarity.
It also never occurred to me to wonder which crucial life skills I was preparing for by pushing myself up off the ground repeatedly until I couldn’t feel my arms anymore. I mean, I’ve never seen James Bond do a push up, nor Indiana Jones. Climb walls, sure. Swing on vines and wires, you bet. Punch dudes in the face, hell yeah. Push ups? Never.
Sit ups were pretty much the same—sorry, curl ups–except I always wondered why they made my legs hurt if they were supposed to be a stomach exercise. And surprisingly the one mile run wasn’t too bad either. Sure, I was a fat kid, but I was a fat kid back when kids still played outside. Tag, hide and seek, ring and run, plan to set fire to the school and chicken out and run away—all that fun shit.
But then came the looming leviathan that lurks leagues beneath the gooey, marshmallowy dreams of all fat kids, its kraken’s tentacles constricting their round little bellies until their breath comes in short, shallow squeaks. The Pull-Up.
The first obstacle was just jumping up to grab the bar. Come on, Mr. President! Why you gotta make a fat kid jump? Would I make it? Or would I have to use the garishly colored plastic chair that the girls use to do that silly hang thing? Why can’t I do the silly hang thing?
Somehow I’d make it up there, propelled by shame, my pudgy, sweaty palms slippery on the bar. I’d realize too late I should have used the momentum from the jump to help with the pull up, because there was no way in hell I was getting either of my chins above the bar.
Feet dangling, kicking, trying to hump the air and defy gravity for a split second, but like the pretty girl at the dance the air wants nothing to with me, while evidently gravity is a dirty perv chubby chaser and can’t get enough of my big fat ass. Er, no offense to anyone with a BBW fetish. Different strokes and all…
I maybe make it halfway up the bar. And probably maybe that’s optimistic, but what the hell I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt, just like I gave myself the benefit of a triple helping of chocolate ice cream sprinkled with M&Ms on top to fill the void carved from my fat little soul by the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Which I was not awarded, in case the suspense was killing anyone.
Thank you, Mr. President.