Fatty, fatty, 4 by 4, can’t fit in the elevatorThe last thing I expected when I rode the elevator to work was a slap in the face, but I got one nonetheless. It didn’t come from an angry co-worker or a stranger who mistook my squinting through my specs. No, it came from the maximum occupancy sign, which read 20 persons or 1,350 kilograms.
After some quick arithmetic, I realized that this meant that the average person riding this elevator should weigh 67.5 kilos.
Of course as an American I’m unaccustomed to dealing with kilograms, so I multiplied the 67.5 by 2.2 to convert it to pounds.
Failing to finish this highly complex calculation before reaching my floor, I got off and asked the first friendly face I saw.
“Hey,” I said, “what’s 67.5 times 2.2?”
The reply came quick as lightning: “148.5.”
“Typical,” I muttered to myself. “Good at math and skinny as heck.”
As I thought about the dozens of meals I’ve skipped, the thousands of minutes I’ve logged in the gym and the bazillions of calories I’ve counted over the last few years, I grew more and more bitter.
After ballooning to a gargantuan 100 kilos (that’s 220 pounds for those of you keeping score) the winter of my freshman year of college, I starved, exercised and willed my way down to my present weight ― a fairly svelte 82 kilos (about 180 pounds).
While I understand that the sign is aimed at a mix of men and women riding the elevator ― not just fatties like me ― it was still a downer.
Through a less-than-scientific survey I took a few years back, the average elevator in the United States allows for an average weight of 75 kilos. While Koreans have been growing taller, it seems that their average body weight has not kept pace. A quick survey of guys around my age and height revealed that I was far and away the heaviest.
Depressed and bitter, I thought of the hell of dieting and agony of dragging my butt to the gym regularly as I trudged to the one place I knew I could find solace: Burger King.
Looking over the menu I was torn between a salad and a pig-out session worthy of my freshman year. Then I remembered how great I felt and how much fun I had that first year of college. I made my decision.
“Give me a Double Whopper set, with cheese. And supersize it.”
by Steven Lee
Mr. Lee is a junior at Cornell University and a former intern at the JoongAng Daily.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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