Moscow News
July, 2001
           Summers are the worst time in Washington. They resemble nightmares from which you awaken, fatigued and sweat-drenched, only to discover that you werent dreaming. The hot sun is merciless and relentless, piercing into your skull and dulling your brain to such a state that you are only capable of petty thoughts. Most DC residents spend summer months, hidden behind closed quarters, with the exception of those delightful hours each day when they are forced to drag themselves out of bed and transport their bodies to the place of toil which pays for the much-too-necessary air-conditioning.  Those few hours are especially unpleasant during the summer months because the traffic in DC is impeded by the omnipresent tourists from all over the country. They are on every crosswalk, on every corner, on every intersection: equipped with the latest digital knick-knacks everything short of nuclear missiles they meander through the streets, followed by the rapidly multiplying descendants, at the speed of a camel. The reason for their slow locomotion is not so much their desire to take in the cultural and historical values of their surroundings. Reality, following its customary propensity, is much sadder: the reason is the humongous size of American tourists. 
           According to the American Medical Association, one out of two Americans is substantially overweight, while 20% percent are considered disastrously obese. Try being agile and nimble when you weigh three times as much as your own self! The trend towards obesity has reached its climax in the mid-1990s, when the economy in this country boomed to such an extent that an average, consumption-crazed family considered purchasing an elephant if it was offered for a dollar down and easy weekly payments. But since owning an elephant is illegal, American public must have decided that the next best thing is to resemble one. One look at this despairing scene , peppered by flabby arms, cellulite thighs, double chins, triple stomachs is enough to hold the hitherto-rational Darwin to be a hopeless optimist. 
           To make matters even worse, the American fatsos, comprising half of the countrys populace, are in no way embarrassed of their Gargantuan proportions. With flippant arrogance which betrays total ignorance of esthetical values, they clad their massive bodies into the most outlandishly tropical colors. You get an uncanny feeling that you were lifted, against your will, and dropped into a Rousseau painting. However, instead of the willowy antelopes or the sinewy panthers, you are surrounded by altogether different breed of beasts: obnoxious teenagers with no necks in lime-green, their mothers without waistlines but with bright-pink shorts, fathers with enormous beer-guts whose size forewarns the inevitability of a sudden birth of a monstrosity. It seems that along with the sense of taste, Americans were irretrievable stripped off the sense of shame. In any other country, Russia, for example, a 40-year-old female with a vast behind would not dare to envelope that behind in lilac spandex. She would not do so out of embarrassment and consideration of others. Most likely, she would choose dark-colored, free-flowing garments designed to minimize her misfortune. In my opinion, thats a perfectly normal reaction: flaws should be hidden from public view. 
            One reason behind the unforgivable American exhibitionism exercised by the ever-expanding locals lies in the national psychosis, according to which absolutely everyone  must be proud of their own selves. If you are, lets say, a 15-year-old teenager with breasts that threaten to block nearby national monuments, no need to despair! Be proud, you are BIG and BEAUTIFUL! Someone should tell these unfortunate youngster that while a brain is, indeed, a terrible thing to waste, a waist is a useful thing to have. But no such luck: apparently they intend to munch their lives away without either. As long as they have super-sized portions at McDonalds and just as super-sized pride in themselves, they are invincible! One of the master-minds of this psychosis is the prominent and hopelessly provincial TV-guru Oprah Winfrey who, incidentally, has been unsuccessfully struggling with her own accumulation of lard for decades. Finally, having no willpower to trim her daily intake of nutrients, she decided that it is perfectly fine to be super-sized and proud of it. Watching her flabby arms and enormous hips move across the TV camera is enough to get motion-sickness!
         Another reason for this scary trend towards obesity is the daily boredom that prevails in this country more than anywhere else. According to the statistics, the fattest people are concentrated in suburbs and small towns of America those Kafakaesque architectural horrors known for their monotony and lackluster existence. Food is the national pastime of the suburbanites: each Sunday, the  hefty couples across this land of plenty, climb into SUVs and proceed to the nearest food-wholesaler. There, they stock themselves so thoroughly as if they were expecting a nuclear holocaust to occur the following Tuesday. Come Wednesday, however, and no nuclear attack in sight, they feel pressured by boredom and Puritan ethics to consume all the pork-chops and macaroni in the house in order to have a reason for the next Sundays outing.  And so it goes, repeating endlessly This unenviable lifestyle is what constitutes an American Dream.
         More of a nightmare, wouldnt you say? But as long as they are proud of themselves, I suppose, the slimmer minority, concentrated in larger cities, should just leave them alone to wallow in the mentality of a cancer cell: to grow just for the sake of growth. Fine, as long as they agree to stay out of big cities and  not block the traffic with their cheeks on either end of the spectrum. Or at the very least, cover those cheeks with some modesty made out of black material. If they agree to do so, we inhabitants of big cities, who suffer of our peculiar ailments, agree to view the provincial Pillsbury boys and girls not as estherically unhealthy visions but as Zenmasters who stop at hot dog stands and meaningfully order one with everything.

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