Sunday, March 22, 2009

There's Fat and Then There's Lazy

Well, UK folks, you guys win this round. And while that sounds sort of like a compliment, it's more like the byproduct of the sigh of relief that I just exhaled, as I feared this story would be located in Flori-duh. But no! Blackburn, over there in Lancashire, England is the winner of this family of four! Meet the Chawners. Behold!

From left to right we have Emma, 19, her mother Audrey, 57, Audrey's husband Philip, 53, and their other daughter Samantha, 21. These folks haven't worked in eleven years. Eleven, that is correct. And due to their "hardship", they receive £22,508 a year in benefits. (That's $32,438.53 in US dollars, by the way.) And now, according to the fine folks across the pond at The Telegraph, the Chawners claim that "the money they receive is insufficient to live on." It is probably right about now that I should probably mention that they "can't work" because they're "too fat." Wait. What?

Correct. "Too fat to work." (Their words, not mine. Accurate, but their words none the less.) They're claiming that "their weight is a hereditary condition." I imagine it is. I imagine their forefathers ate too much, just like their forefathers before them, and so on. Oh, come on! Are you kidding me?! Look, don't get me wrong, I have plenty of sympathy for those with the whacked out metabolism. But these folks don't strike me as being a victim to their own heredity as much as their are a victim to their own refrigerator. Let's see what else they had to say about their situation (before we come to the same conclusion that I just did).

The Chawners "...claim to spend £50 ($72.06 USD) a week on food and consume 3,000 calories each a day." According to The Telegraph "The recommended maximum intake is 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men." So eating too much according to the guidelines, but still claim it's "heredity". Interesting claim. What else?

Mrs. Chawner explains their daily eating habits as "We have cereal for breakfast, bacon butties for lunch and microwave pies with mashed potato or chips for dinner." For those of you wondering about the "bacon butties", that's basically a bacon sandwich. Behold!

Oh, yeah. Eating (at least) one of those every day, that won't cause a problem. Nah. (That probably has nothing to do with why Philip is 336 lbs., Audrey is 336 lbs., Emma is 238 lbs. and Samantha is 252 lbs. That's 1162 lbs!) I can only assume that they're called "bacon butties" because after eating enough of them, you're going to end up with a bacon butt.

And in Mrs. Chawner's most telling and contradictory statement yet, she says, "All that healthy food, like fruit and veg, is too expensive. We're fat because it's in our genes. Our whole family is overweight." Yes, dearie, but if it was "in your genes" I don't think you'd be telling me how expensive fruits and vegetables are. Nor would you be telling me you eat a bacon butt sandwich for lunch every day. I'm having a hard time believing that they're only spending £50 ($72.06 USD) per week on food. How much is bacon?! Well, according to Bacon Today (Bacon Today? Oh, God bless the Internet!) bacon in England is $3.49/lb (£4.41/kg). Yeah, I don't think I'm buying that. Their story, not the bacon. I'd gladly buy bacon. Mmmm....bacon.

So, because they're "disabled" Mr. and Mrs. Chawner receive "£177 ($255.09 USD) in income support and incapacity benefit" each week AND Mrs. Chawner also gets another £330 ($475.60 USD) per-month as a "disability allowance for epilepsy and asthma", both of which are a result of what? Being overweight, that is correct. Mr. Chawner brings in his share of extra benefits as well. He gets £71 ($102.33 USD) a month for his Type 2 diabetes which is a result of what? Being overweight, correct again! (He "was on a waiting list for a gastric band last year, but a heart condition made the operation unsuitable." Wait a minute. They have waiting lists for the gastric band surgery in England? Why is there a waiting list? It's not like a transplant. Regardless, did the heart condition come up while he was waiting? Because you'd think that would be something his doctor (who we have heard nothing about, nor have we heard anything from) would have known about before putting him on the list.)

Daughter Samantha gets £84 ($121.06 USD) in Jobseekers' Allowance (which seems to be like the US equivalent of unemployment) each fortnight (which seems to be like the calendar equivalent of 2 weeks), and daughter Emma "...who is training to be a hairdresser, gets £58 ($83.59) every two weeks under a hardship fund for low-income students." Emma sees things like this: "I'm a student and don't have time to exercise. We all want to lose weight to stop the abuse we get in the street, but we don't know how." And again I will point out that "student" and "don't have time to exercise" are really not the same as "hereditary condition". No, they're the opposite of "hereditary condition."

And Mr. Chawner actually said the words, "What we get barely covers the bills and puts food on the table.(Clearly it does that!) It's not our fault we can't work. We deserve more." Um, what else do you need, sir? More? Your bills are paid. Your family has bacon sandwiches. What else is there? You've been doing this for eleven years. And I'm sure this will sound crazy, but you could always work and earn more. Just a thought! Just a crazy, crazy thought.

Actually, why? Why do you deserve more, sir? What is it that makes you so "deserving" of "more"? Why is it that you're so entitled to have "more"? I missed that part. (Is it because, judging from the pictures of you, that you only seem to have that one shirt?) But you come across as a bit ungrateful for everything that you have been given by your government which was paid for (I'm assuming) by other taxpayers who work. Don't feel like you're getting quite enough free money, do you now?
Look, I'm well aware that most of us are only a couple of Krispy Kremes away from putting on a pair of sweats and never looking back. Well aware. But the majority of people...OK, wait. Never mind, because the majority of people lately seem to vary between large and huge. So now my point is that large or not, the vast majority of folks manage to work. I have a difficult time believing that these folks are SO obese (they're large, but they seem to be mobile) that they can't work even part time. I mean, come on, they don't even have a Rascal! And I see NO oxygen tanks there! (And that's a lot more than I can say about the last time I was in a Wal-Mart. People too large to walk driving their Rascals and people too large to breathe sucking in their oxygen. With all of the buzzing and the wheezing it was like being in a senior citizen science fiction movie or something.)

I have the feeling that we're going to be hearing more about these folks in the near future. Unfortunately, I don't think it will be any sort of positive report. I'm guessing something that will clear things up as to how legitimate these folks are in regard to what The Telegraph reported.

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grannyann said...

I can't believe they can't find some sort of work.

Mare said...

Oh, I'm sure that they can FIND work. But in order to FIND something, one must first LOOK for something. It's hard to believe that they're really "looking" for anything other than a free ride.

~ Mare

Princess said...

Another prime example of how "socialism" does NOT work. You cannot take from one group and give to other. I bet my sweet, thin American ass that if their support stopped, they would find work and you guessed it.. lose some weight.

Mare said...

Hey, Princess.

Yep. A shining example of what happens when socialism takes hold of a society. The "have nots" become the "want mores" and they expect those who will work and who DO work to pay for it.

And I totally agree that if their support stopped that they would figure out a way to not starve to death. Absolutely.

As Margaret Thatcher once said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Thanks for reading!

~ Mare