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Ever since childhood, when I first saw one of those news segments about a fat American who had to be lifted out of his room with a crane, I’ve had a morbid fear of becoming morbidly obese. Strangely, the thing I find most horrifying is being stuck in one’s room for twenty years. Sad!

I attended a conference in Thailand and we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. Among the other foreigners there were some very fat black American ladies who were working in China. I observed in growing distress as they ordered dish after dish, putting away each with gusto. The food was not terrible – green curry, prawn cakes and the like – but they ate a ridiculous amount of it, apparently because it was cheap and good.

I knew a fat couple. Americans again but white this time. They ate horrible take-away fried dumplings for breakfast just because the place opened early. When the wife was pregnant she drank revoltingly sweet and creamy chocolate frappe kind of things all the time on the grounds that she could not have coffee or alcohol so she needed some sort of luxury to get her through. Neither of them ever did any exercise whatsoever. Nice people, though. Although she once complained that the local, Asian hoochimamas have a ‘fashion for long, skinny legs’. No, they just have long, skinny legs.

A colleague was extremely obese. Sorry, American again. I think she was wider than she was tall but I was too polite to measure. I rarely saw her eat (this is often so with fat people) but she once confessed to having a soda addiction. Soda is one thing I’ve never understood. I have a glass or two of Coke per year, sometimes at a children’s birthday party, and I find it sort of tastes good but I never want any more of it. How people can consume that rubbish daily escapes me. If soda were an ultra healthy, IQ-enhancing, muscle building, penis enhancer I’d still struggle to get it down.

In Tokyo I lived in a share house with a very, very fat English woman. How she survived in that tiny tatami room I don’t know. She must barely have been able to turn around, like how empathy-deficient Asians keep parrots, tropical fish and sometimes even dogs. That kind of thing, like the fat guy who couldn’t get out of his room, upsets me.

Anyway, again, I rarely saw her eat. Finally I caught her eating three fried eggs on three white English muffins, with margarine. No vegetables. I thought, if she’s that fat, why not two poached eggs on one whole meal muffin and a burdock salad? A fine meal it would be. But no.

Incidentally, she only stayed a while then disappeared, leaving a bunch of her stuff behind. Mostly it was expired herbal teas but there was a carved Indian box that she kept her junk in. I now keep it beside my bed as a condom box and try not to think about where it came from.

I had another very fat colleague. Australian, thank you very much. She once had an interview for a promotion but missed out and was very upset afterward in the tearoom. She complained it was because she was fat and she couldn’t help it because she had a glandular problem.