COVID Convos is a series of original columns conceptualized to give you something else to think about as we manage the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, they will provide you with a different perspective about an issue related to the crisis…or a brief smile. Remember, with COVID-19: this too shall pass.

Just like someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, I have to get something out of my system so I can get on with my life.

As we all manage the pandemic, panic shopping and the associated hoarding of food and (very curiously) toilet paper has captured my attention.

While there are compelling reasons for some of us, like those in large families or families for whom the commute to the grocery story is or would be a challenge, to buy extra groceries, by and large the hoarding that has occurred is nonsensical.

And with some of the things I’ve witnessed, both in person and via social and broadcast media, can we all just agree:

Fat people do not need to hoard food.

Let me say it again, if only to justify the pending email and tweets:

FAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT PANIC SHOP AND HOARD FOOD.

Why would anyone differentiate between the overweight and everyone else on this issue? It’s simple: fat people have been hoarding excess food for years. Instead of storing it in our pantries, cupboards, refrigerators, and freezers, we’ve been storing it on our bellies, hips, and behinds. I’ve personally been storing excess food on my ass since 1974.

C’mon, you know whether I’m talking to you. You knew you weren’t a size two or a 31 inch waist when you pulled on those jeans this morning.

While the hoarding craze seems to be abating, I am still seeing some good sized people loading up grocery carts all over town. One dude at Sam’s Club was damn near as wide as the flatbed he brandished, packed to the heavens with meat, bread, canned goods, and cereal.

Now again, to be clear, present company is absolutely included in this. I’ve bypassed a set of six pack abs for six packs of Corona for decades, having first gained weight after an emergency appendectomy when I was nine years old. For decades, my ass’ width has varied greatly. So I’m well versed in how one becomes fat.

And yes, I say “fat.” I’m not “big boned.” My bones are the same size they were when I had a 29 inch waist. In fact, as bone density decreases with age, I am less “boned” than I was decades ago.

I’m also not “thick,” “husky,” “chunky,” “chubby,” “healthy,” or any of the other euphemisms we tend to use when we don’t want to, as Iyanla Vanzant likes to say, call a thing a thing.

This bruh should back away from the canned goods.

I have a Facebook friend who has been on a Keto kick for about a year now. She has lost a ton of weight and looks great, but still has a fair amount of reserves around her middle. So I was surprised to see her posting about her hoarding groceries last week, as we were beginning to restrict our activity to battle COVID-19.

A colleague of mine reported very similarly on social media, and he’s prone to posting — almost every day — video of him exercising in his home workout room. Unlike that first friend, this one’s weight lifting and squat regimen has done nothing to reduce the size of his behind. He claims his ass is firmer, and I hope to never have first hand information on that, but his backside looks just as big as it did when he started squatting.

So what are the two of them — and so many others — hoarding food for? They — and most Americans — appear to have the food storage thing down pat.

By the way, if you stop hoarding food, you won’t need to hoard toilet paper. It’s simple math.

Yup.

And guess what? If you don’t allow your friends and neighbors to buy toilet paper, you’re not going to want to be within six feet of them even after we’re done with “social distancing.” Think about that the next time you’re packing your grocery cart with Charmin.

If we keep hoarding toilet paper and keeping our neighbors and friends from buying it, we’re going to need those masks for a whole different reason.

TO HOARD OR NOT TO HOARD

Here’s my proposal: if you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more, you are considered overweight, and I think you will survive even if you miss that bowl of buttered grits (salt, never sugar) this morning. You should not be hoarding food.

If your BMI is over 30, you’re considered obese, so for sure you should back away from the overflowing grocery cart. And since two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, this shift would pretty much solve the grocery and TP hoarding problem.

(Just in case you’re wondering, my BMI is 29.5. Yeah, I’m hanging on to the .5, and I’m trying to shave a few more points off of my BMI before summer.)

Now, if you’re skinny, feel free to overfill that grocery cart! With all of the rest of us emptying out stores all over the country, I’m particularly worried about you. You might not survive if you have to miss a few meals.

But most of us should stop the madness, and stop gutting the grocery store.

And if you still have a hankering to buy excess food, make a donation to those who can’t afford to hoard, or to a homeless shelter. As I listen to recommendations that we all stay home, I’ve wondered about what the homeless think — what they feel — when they learn of those orders.

For the religious hoarders reading this, isn’t that what Jesus would have done? He fed the multitudes with those fish and barley loaves, in lieu of ruining his six pack abs with a Costco flatbed full of french fries.

Published by Michael P Coleman

Freelance writer. I used to talk to strangers and get punished. Now I talk to strangers and get published.

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