Only in America would people violently trample each other for discounts, exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.
Consumption of calories.
The Twinkee headline this week got me thinking about, with all our bounty we are unable, unwilling or incapable of governing our intake. Look, 150 calories of processed corn syrup won’t kill anyone in one sitting. But who in America eats one? And who does it just once. This food group has been a best seller in America for a generation. Later in the week, another caloric orgy takes place; It’s hard to believe, perhaps, that the average American Thanksgiving meal equals 3,000 Calories That would mean a 160 lb. person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off a 3,000-calorie Thanksgiving Day meal. Most do not. Trying to work that off with the halftime football toss is as futile as try to get warmth from the slanting sun as the ball flies through a deep winter sky.
Consumption of natural resources.
How much gasoline does the United States consume? 1.18 gallons per person per day, every day. This figure includes every man women and child, (only 89% have licences, and about half of them in my neighborhood deserve to be retested regularly). 33 Gallons a month, enough to drive a little less than 1,000 miles on any of our great highways for the princely sum of about $4.00 per gallon. In France, that would run you about $10.00 per gallon, which is a) realistic , b) forces conservation, c) reduces the number of escalades tooling around in Paris. Add that to the amount of plastic we consume (another pertro-product) and you have the makings of a genuine addiction.
Consumption of Media.
The one that bothers me the most, and demonstrates the worst lack of self control is couch potato TV time: 2.5 to 2.9 hours per day. Worse as you get older. I’m not sure if this accounts for time spent on other screens like tablets and phones. I doubt it, and I will concede that at least most of that screen time is spent learning, communicating and socializing (in a mild form). But almost 3 hours per day in front of the TV tells me people need something better to do.
So, the point is this: if even the French can point it out (and do so with empathy) it must be pretty obvious. If we can spend a little more time being thankful for what we have, consuming in more reasonable proportions, and buying and wasting a little less of what we don’t really need… we’ll be a little better off.
Giving up Twinkies is a good start.