As I was running errands this morning in a neighboring town, I happened to catch a bit of a talk show on the radio.Â The hostÂ was encouraging callers to weigh in on the question Would you rather be fat and happy or skinny and depressed?
The host wanted quick, concise answers, so most callersÂ did not offer more than a few words of explanation, but even so,Â the results were interesting.Â Granted there were only 15 or soÂ callers, so one may certainly question the integrity of using such a poll as gospel truth.Â But I suspect that there is something to it nonetheless.
While I do not have an exact count, there was a significant minority that wanted to be skinny and depressed over the alternative.Â Interestingly,Â theÂ ratio of males to femalesÂ who answered like this was not dramatically different.Â In fact it may have been anÂ even number of eachÂ (I wish I had thought to keep count).Â IÂ already knewÂ that eating disorders and body image issuesÂ wereÂ on the rise among men, but I hadn’t guessed that there would be virtually no difference even in this little, unofficial poll intended for entertainment purposes.Â Men seemed as likely to choose skinny and depressed as women.
When asked why they would rather be skinny and depressed, most of these callers expressed a significantÂ level of current depression.Â The host asked a couple of them to define depression, not believing that anyone would rather be skinny if they must also be depressed.Â One man defined it as a “living hell everyday,” yet he would still rather be thin.Â Of course, it is not surprising that people livingÂ in depression would choose to continue a course of depression.Â Â They are unable to retain any hopeÂ that life will ever get better, so why not be thin?Â At least that would be one less thing to be depressed about, even if the rest of life stinks.
Another bit of this poll that was interesting was that those who had been depressed at one time in their life and were no longer depressed believed it would be better to be fat and happy.Â They knew what it was like living in a dark hole and finallyÂ surfacing to find light.Â There was no going back for them.Â Their responses, along with those ofÂ their fellow currently-depressed callers, fit quite well with patterns associated with depression and cure.Â I found myself feeling gratified, on the one hand, that evenÂ this dumbÂ radio show was reinforcingÂ certain truths about depression, but IÂ felt quite sad for the callers who would choose to live their lives mired in a world of darkness and despair.Â However, this question would never be an issue if our culture did not glorifyÂ slender bodies andÂ leanÂ appearances – one more thing about which to be sad.
I don’t know what kind of indestructible bodies we willÂ have in the coming kingdom, but there isÂ one thing of whichÂ I am certain.Â We will notÂ worry about whether or not that extra slice of bread or half a portion more of Chicken Marsala willÂ irrevocably placeÂ love handles or spare tires on our bodies.Â We will feast on the kingdom, its residents,Â and its king in ways we can only justÂ taste in this life.