Why Americans Are Fat
As many of you know, Dan’s Papers moved its offices from Bridgehampton to Southampton two years ago. It’s a big change. But we had gotten too big for our britches. Forty employees had been jammed into what had been a two-bedroom house on Main Street in Bridgehampton and there was no room to expand. Our Southampton office is double the size.
But there is another big change. Within walking distance of our old office were Bobby Van’s, the Candy Kitchen, World Pie and Pierre’s restaurant. Within walking distance of our new office are Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Eleven, McDonald’s and Burger King. Where could I get something healthy to eat?
Well, amidst all these empty but tasty calories, I found one item that could do it. It’s called a Sweet and Spicy Wrap with chicken. It’s a thin, soft tortilla wrapped around lettuce, cucumbers, chicken bites and this lovely sweet and spicy dressing and it’s quite good. I eat it about once a week at McDonald’s.
But here in obese America, is this thicket of conversation I have to go through in order to get it at the drive-thru without getting all bulked up.
“Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like 20 Chicken McNuggets for $5?”
“May I help you?”
“I’d like the Sweet and Spicy Wrap, please.”
“No. Just the Sweet and Spicy Wrap by itself.”
“One Sweet and Spicy Wrap meal.”
“No, just by itself.”
“Would you like the chicken fried?”
“Would you like a drink with that?”
The government passed a law making it mandatory that all fast food restaurants post the caloric content of their offerings. Long ago, I studied this poster to find the drink with the fewest calories, other than water or the drinks with sugar substitutes. It’s my little treat, mostly made of specially melted shaved ice.
“I’ll have a Caramel Iced McCafé.”
“That will be $7.89.”
I pay the money at the first window. McDonald’s, you might not know, is the discoverer of the fact that a diner will eagerly pay for a meal before he gets it rather than after. So I pay. So if anything happens between that first and second window, for example a heart attack, they got the money.
Anyway, now I am at the second window. The meal is handed to me in a spotless white bag with golden arches on it, within which are a fork, a napkin, a straw, a receipt, my drink and my food.
I pull into one of the parking spaces and, right there behind the wheel, I eat.
Yesterday my wife, who only eats healthy, came by the office and I took her out to try the Grilled Chicken Sweet and Spicy Wrap with me. She gave it her seal of approval.
The receipt inside had a coupon.
Until September 10, 2014, this coupon will allow me to buy a Grilled Chicken and Spicy Wrap and in addition get a mid-sized Coca-Cola and a mid-sized portion of french fries for free.
They just won’t give up.
Airlines now have to pay a big fine, as much as $50,000, if they leave their passengers sitting strapped inside a plane for more than four hours on the runway without taking off.
There’s a rumor going around that one of these airlines is considering doing something to get around this. As the seconds tick down toward the dreaded four-hour mark, the pilots are to rev up their engines, take off, circle around the airport and then come back down to get back into their place in the line. It accomplishes a number of things. The pilot gets to test everything out to see that it works, it avoids the fine, and the passengers like it because it feels like they have gone somewhere and have come back down safely. It’s a win-win.
About 20 Brentwood residents carrying signs blocked a driveway at the entrance of ELM Global Logistics in that town last week, according to Newsday. They were objecting to the arrival of big trucks carrying loads of garbage from the Hamptons.
ELM has this arrangement with the towns in on the East End. Our garbage is thrown out here, gathered up and piled into trucks to be driven to ELM, which is located in Brentwood, 50 miles west of the Hamptons. There, it is stacked in piles until it can be loaded onto railroad cars and taken off to be dumped in permanent sites in Kentucky.
People of Brentwood are outraged at this. Tons of used cocktail napkins, rotten food, leftover pâté, damaged party favors, empty wine bottles, photos of celebrities and everything else come there. The piles are huge. Estimates are that there are more than 10,000 tons of garbage in Brentwood and other Western Suffolk towns awaiting transfer. The reason it is done this way is there are not enough private garbage truck companies on Long Island willing to drive the East End garbage the 1,000-mile round-trip all the way to Kentucky. So it has to go by train, thanks to a plan created by recycling companies, Governor Cuomo and the State Department of Environmental Conservation. And Brentwood and other Western Suffolk sites were selected to assist in that effort.
Maybe the good folks of Brentwood cannot afford to come to the Hamptons. And they object to the dumping of the garbage of those who can, even if it is just temporary, piling up in Brentwood. Why should they be dumped upon by the garbage of the rich?
“We are once again being used as a sacrificial lamb for undesirable projects that other communities don’t want in their neighborhoods,” said State Assemblyman Phil Ramos, who lives in Brentwood. “Our residents say enough is enough.”
What Brentwood needs, according to some of the wealthy residents of the Hamptons, is someone from Southampton to drive out there in his Jag once a week to go through the garbage for them and find all the tossed-out gold necklaces, caviar tubs, cool sunglasses, fancy desserts, surfboards, once-used designer clothes and high-end furniture to create a once-a-week Hamptons “experience” those good folks in Brentwood can walk around in, sample and not soon forget.