(originally written 12/17/10)
Before Facebook came along, I weighed 190 pounds. I’ve since gained an additional 100 by spending so much time sitting on my hiney chatting it up with my peeps and blogging to the point of compulsion. That site IS habit-forming, and someone has to be held accountable. As a black man, my susceptibility to diabetes and stroke was already 50% greater than that of whites. Now that I’m fat, too, I’m practically a dead man walking. My tragic sentence could have been wholly prevented if Facebook weren’t so…damn…addictive. The status updates, the chats, the games—what reasonable person would deprive themselves of such euphoria in the name of walking, or running, or playing outdoor sports?
I’m a reasonable person, and that’s why I’m suing Facebook for $600,000,000.
(Note: if you are Mark Zuckerberg, relax—I’m being facetious in order to drive a soon-to-be-made point home. I weighed 190 in 7th grade, approximately 13 years before Facebook’s creation.)
The above is a satirical example of arguably America’s most vexing vice—its eagerness to lay blame where blame don’t belong.
In case you are not currently a Bay Area resident, a woman is taking McDonald’s to court because their Happy Meals market to children with their alluring toys. In effect, promoting unhealthy eating. She doesn’t want money; she wants toys removed from Happy Meals. No, I am not making this up.
Seriously! I’m NOT making this up! If I were going to post a fictional blog, it would involve me sandwiched between Melissa McCarthy and Melissa Doney on a warm Utah beach, with one or more of us covered in cake batter.
Said Monica Parham, the plaintiff: “I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission.” Her organization’s executive director gave a similarly asinine statement: “It’s unfair to parents who are put in the position of having to constantly tell their kids ‘no’”. Folks, when they put the skull-and-crossbones signs out warning you to not enter a building; hazardous materials inside, this is why—to prevent your brain from instructing your mouth to say these words where other people can hear them.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but having kids puts parents in a position of having to tell their kids ‘no’. Josie has made it her personal mission to swipe my wallet and all its’ contents at every turn. I have had to constantly tell her ‘no’. You don’t see me trying to take the Secret Service to court, do you?
Why stop there? Josie wants to play with dog poo in the park every time we go. I can sue the dog for tempting my daughter and forcing me to tell her ‘no’ over and over again? Using Ms. Parham’s logic, of course I can!
Children can only go to McDonald's at their parent’s fancy. By the time they’re old enough to venture on their own and spend their allowances at the Golden Arches…they won’t WANT toys anymore! Meaning the onus falls upon the parents, NOT the courts or the legislators. Kids want everything they SEE. It doesn’t mean they have to get it. I mean, has this chick ever taken her youngsters to a GROCERY STORE? I used to harass my mom for everything they sold, even stuff I couldn’t possibly have a use for, like olive oil. My mom had no problem putting the word “no” on loop and this Parham person shouldn’t either.
And here’s a point I haven’t heard anyone else make: when I did fast food 10 years ago, folks had the option of buying the toy separately, without having to buy any food. And they exercised that option regularly! I’d be surprised if McDonalds didn’t provide the same option. And even if they don’t, they offer healthy alternatives to the fries and soda (apple wedges and milk). And THAT’s not enough? Puh-leeze. Get a grip, Parham. If you win this suit, I’m moving to Latvia.