March 5, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 175
Once On The Lips, Forever On The Hips
Vigilance & The Terroristic Fat Cell
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 5--Dieting, like Vigilance,
is tough work. It creates a battleground of temptation--a
war zone between all the wonderful things I'd like to eat versus
all the bland, boring things I try to shut out of my mind.
Like walking into a war zone without a weapon or flack jacket--I
can't diet successfully without help, support. I can't
expect that all the sweet, succulent, mouth-watering bullets
filled with delicious fat cells will somehow miss my lips and
I will escape the devastation of them roosting on my hips unless
I prepare myself for battle, commit myself to fighting the Complacency
Obviously, I have carbohydrates on my mind--ice cream and pizza
and Heath Bar malted snacks swirl about my head--and, don't
let me forget-- an Everything Bagel dripping with butter and
huckleberry jelly exciting my vulnerable taste buds.
But all these items are gut-protruding
booby traps. They are Terrorists hiding out at every deli
window I pass, excreting the not-so-foul odor of seduction toward
my twitching nostrils, attempting to lull me into a state of
Complacency so my will to drop twenty pounds will be overwhelmed
by my desire to sate the aching of my taste buds.
Ah, yes, sweet, sweet sweets.
I lust you in my moment of weakness. I stand at the bakery
windows and stare at the chocolate dripping off a Bavarian cream-filled
cannolli, my eyes magnifying the pastry until it becomes a huge
log begging to be chopped in many pieces by the saw-toothed
mastication of my teeth.
While many might think
I am being humorous here, I'm really not. Changing
one's complacent eating habits is so much akin to shifting to
a state of both physical and mental Vigilance that the parallels
are frighteningly real.
What is an unnecessary
fat cell? It is an Osama bin Laden Terrorist cell, plotting
to expand my body, to clog my arteries, to choke off the energy
of life, to ultimately seize my heart's precious beating.
Unless checked, it wants to kill me.
Emotional Terrorism comes to
life in the mirror as I view the result of Terroristic Fat Cells
at work in my body. There is the extra chin or chins
that droop or fold or waddle just under the neck and the
puffy cheeks. There is the thickened chest, enlarged
biceps ala Pillsbury Doughboy as opposed to Arnold Schwartzenegger.
Sliding down the mountain of excess flesh on the chest lies
the pooch, the belly, the gut, the tummy. It expands out,
around and down, forming a soft but obvious French curve, or,
in some cases, the appearance that one is three to six month's
Compounding this is the belt,
the clothes, the shirts, dresses, trousers that no longer fit
the man or woman under fat cell attack.
Oh yes, you can "squeeze"
into things, but they glue themselves to you and make the folds
and squishy rolls stand out as though your newest fat cell was
being displayed in relief for the world to gawk at. (Note photo
below of fat person who fell from a ten-story window).
Your favorite shirt doesn't quite fit. Your best trousers
seem to have shrunk. You find it awkward to bend
over to tie your shoes.
Society also alienates
you when the Terrorism of fat cells dominate your life.
Airplane seats shrink. The inch of comfort that
existed between you and an armrest a few months ago when you
flew has disappeared. Your hips now struggle to wriggle
into the plane's seat, and you feel as though in an emergency
you would never be able to eject yourself from it. You
know you don't need a seatbelt.
In narrow aisles in stores your
hips bump displays, items tumble and clatter to the floor behind
you as you create a wake of disruption. You try
to ignore them because to reshelf them requires you bend over.
Sidewalks get skinnier.
You duck and weave to avoid passing
two people walking abreast.
Instead of just "plopping"
into a chair to relax, you cautiously clutch it and check its
stability, its ability to handle extreme load bearing weight
before you sit, fearful it might collapse under the added strain
of the army of Terroristic fat cells marching around in your
body with rocks in their backpacks.
Your feet hurt.
Your ankles expel the extra weight in an inverse proportional
manner. For every additional ounce of weight, they
amplify the load ten times, causing your navigation to be lugubrious.
You become an oil tanker versus a Ferrari.
When you're putting the fat-filled
food in your mouth, you're not thinking about the result--only
the effect. The words: "Once On The
Lips, Forever On The Hips" are drowned out by the Terrorists
chanting--"Eat It! Eat It! Just One Bite!"
The mirror of Terror :
Millions of people each day wake to the Terror of the mirror--especially
after they shower or bathe and are compelled to glance
at the cuts and folds and new wrinkles the crop of new flesh
has created overnight. If you look closely you can see
the remnants of the Ben & Jerry's, or double helpings of
potatoes and gravy, or the candy that sated the sweet tooth's
cry to be fed.
Then you read the news.
Health & Fitness News
Updates reported recently that 55 percent of Americans are
overweight, and around the world, 1.1 billion people are being
Terrorized by fat cell accumulation.
The problem of being too fat
is not just overeating, the March 10, 2000 report says.
It is about nutrition. It tells how in the past
the rich got fatter and poor went skinny. Now, that's
not the case.
are eating better--more nutritionally--while poorer people are
eating fast foods rather than healthy substitutes because it
is more economical. The result--the poor are getting fatter,
the rich are getting skinnier. But it's bad fat, not good
fat. It's Fast Food Fat!
The Terrorism of Fatness is not
easy to eliminate, just as finding bin Laden has proved to be
a "needle in a haystack" search for the United States
military forces. Imagine General Tommy Franks
briefing reporters on fat cell attacks and what the U.S. is
doing to destroy them. His briefings would be continuous, 24-hours
My point is that Vigilance to
protect one's self and one's family and loved ones from the
effects of Terrorism, is similar to dieting. It
One of the reasons is the two most
popular books purchased in America are first, cook books and
secondly, diet books. Hmmmmmmm!
I know it's hard to diet. I'm fighting
the urges daily to "eat" things that aren't good for
me. But there is Hope--because there is Vigilance.
To defend myself I must
have forethought. Before I act upon a desire,
I have to stop and think. That's a challenge.
Being creatures of habits, we like to live in the comfort zone--or,
some might call it the Complacent Zone. The Complacent
Zone is simply--"I'll deal with that tomorrow!"
"I'll go on a diet tomorrow!" "I'll start
saving money tomorrow!" "I'll become Vigilant
against Terrorism tomorrow!"
The elements of Terrorism--Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency--put off the decision to protect one's self
and others to another day. Fear of changing one's eating
habits, of sating the desires for sweets or over consumption,
or chewing on the "yummies," makes us not want to
give them up. Then, there is the Intimidation Factor--"What
if we start dieting and then gain all our weight back? Hmmm.
We'll end up like we were, so what's the use? Besides,
I'm not THAT FAT, YET!"
Complacency--the lack of action--summarily
falls into place. We buy the glamour magazines and
look at what we could be, or join the health club and don't
go work out. Instead, we carry our membership card just
to make us feel better. We eat a piece of
apple pie with ice cream and wash it down with a Diet Coke.
There, we have been Vigilant, we say.
Our current attitude toward Terrorism
is akin to dieting. Our nation started off after
September 11 with everyone wanting to go to the gym and workout
to fight Terrorism. Slowly, over the past 175 days,
the energy to fight the "enemy," to shed the excess
weight of Terrorism's threat, had dissipated.
"Why," we say,
"we haven't been under another attack. Terrorism
was just a flash in the pan. America isn't a primary
target otherwise we would be inundated with attacks like Israel."
So, we stop going to the
gym. We stop counting Terrorism calories.
We top worrying about our "hips" and begin to ingest
Complacency rather than stave it off with Nutritional Action.
The flags that once flew
so brilliantly and with such stature, now are being stored,
or tossed when they "get in the way.".
The news of gun battles in some distant land are no longer major
headliners. Bin Laden's face has disappeared from
the front pages.
fall back to our old ways. Our Vigilance Closets,
once filled with tools and systems of readiness, are shoved
aside to make way for a new wardrobe--summer is coming.
Spring is on the way. Who wants to make Terrorism or Vigilance
In so many ways,
the beveling of Terrorism over time is like the mad rush to
diet right after the New Year. We make a huge attempt,
nothing motivates us as we struggle to change our habits, so
we stop, or put off the necessity of depriving ourselves the
luxury of Complacency until another crisis occurs.
But Terrorism, like
fat cells, creeps up. It masses its power insidiously--until
you wake up at
the end of the belt notches, or can't squeeze into that dress
size any more, or huff and puff so badly your heart pounds
in your ears--THEN, you act. You race for the newest,
faddish diet. At least, that's the way I do it--and I
know I have millions of other fellow travelers walking the same
"yo-yo syndrome" path. I'm afraid we deal with
the real threat of Terrorism in a similar way.
Vigilance can protect
us from such Complacency. It can keep the belt loop
on the right hole, reduce our multi-wardrobes filled with
different sizes so when we expand we can shift from these trousers
to those, without worrying about buying new ones. If we
keep two or more wardrobes, we know we have surrendered to the
Terrorists of Obesity.
If we haven't taken
the Pledge of Vigilance, or addressed the future threat of its
return on a daily basis, we have also surrendered to bin Laden's
Vigilance in the
face of Terrorism can be managed properly if we look at Terrorism
as fat cells--non-nutritional calories that mass in our bodies,
weighing us down, making us Complacent, ripening us for another
Imagining the bin
Laden's of the world as chocolate éclairs, or as pints of Ben
& Jerry's, or as heaping piles of mashed potatoes laden
with mounds of butter and steaming gravy, helps us recognize
Terrorism's nefarious nature. It warns us not to consume
Terrorism's favorite dessert-- Complacency.
If we think:
Complacency, "once on the Lips, forever on the Hips,"
we might just stop and think about our attitude toward Terrorism
and act with more Vigilance, more readiness to defend ourselves
against its insurgency into our lives.
And, I'm not
just talking about Terrorism from afar. I'm talking about
the Terrorism of a
child who feels alone, frightened about he world into which
he or she is evolving. The fat cells of Emotional
Terrorism can laden the child with excess self-doubt, unnecessary
A Parent of Vigilance
recognizing the need to help a child "diet" from Terrorism's
non-nutritional ingredients, might stop feeding the child with
Emotional Fast Food, and instead of saying, "How was school?,"
carve out ten or fifteen minutes to go for a walk with the child
or get down on the floor and enter his or her world, bridging
the communications between the child's heart and the parent's
heart so that in moments of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency,
the child feels comfortable sharing those demons of evolution
with the one who is responsible for his or her well being.
Our selfish attitude about our time is Junk Food.
Our unselfish attitude about giving our time, our wisdom, our
hearts to our children is Nutritional Food.
Since most of us diet in
America, perhaps we can shift our thinking when we do to the
idea of Vigilance rather than just becoming slimmer, or sleeker.
Maybe we can use the desire to diet as a time to look at our
children, grandchildren, loved ones and ask--"What can
I do to help remove the Terroristic Fat Cells growing inside
the ones I love?"
The answer lies in
It always has.
It always will.
While I would love
everyone to take the Pledge of Vigilance, I know the Pledge
could be nothing more than a health club card in the wallet
or purse of millions. Having something isn't using
it. To make the Pledge of Vigilance work requires
Courage, Conviction and Action. And, if you only
think, as I am, in terms of dieting, and ask the question:--"What
can I do to help remove the Terroristic Fat Cells growing inside
the ones I love?"--then America and the world will put
up a wall that will make it hard for the Fat Cells of Terrorism
To March 4
"Sweet Smell of Napalm - The Heroes of 9-11 and Ia Drang"