(Disclaimer: I earn one of my meagre incomes by making up nasty stories, so don’t ask for, or expect, the least amount of contrition, guilt or apology for what follows).
In Wales, the ongoing subsidence that blighted a street has now stopped, when a 50-stone woman was extracted from the house that must surely have been built around her.
Neighbours said that Caroline Williams-Jones, 50, had not left her home near Bridgend, South Wales, for eight years.
The alarm was raised when her family became worried and she was admitted to hospital for urgent treatment after suffering from health problems relating to her size.
I don’t know how it is in Maesteg, but I was brought up not too far from there and if my mother had not left the house for eight years, we’d have been worried at least seven and a half years earlier.
“Hallo Dai, seen our Mam lately?”
“No, Evan, haven’t seen her for a while. I don’t think she’s been outside though, I haven’t noticed any eclipses lately.”
“How long’s it been since the last one then?”
“Oh, about eight years, I suppose.”
“Do you think we should call in and see her then?”
“I suppose, but it’s hard to see all of her at once. We might have to go a few times.”
Am I being cruel? Probably. But then you get that twinge of sympathy when you read of how the son has cared for her until…
‘I have to look after her these days and it’s my full-time job, I fetch for her and make all her meals.’
So how did she get so large? If she is bed-bound, she’s not sneaking out and raiding the fridge. Someone has been loading her with calories and has continued to do so while the bed, then the ceiling, cracks. Why didn’t someone call in Social Services?
Social services had previously arranged for Mrs Williams-Jones ‘s house to be fitted with double doors and even installed a heavy-duty lift on her driveway in an attempt to encourage her out of the building.
It’s all about dependency. Oh, not the woman, no. She is the one the whole circus of benefits has been dependent on. If she had been put on a diet, she couldn’t do much about it, being bed-bound. She might well have been normal weight and active again by now – but that would have stopped the allowances and left the social engineers with nothing to do.
Cruel? Flippant? Merciless? Unsympathetic? Talk to tobacco control, they created me. Trust me, this is me being kind. Seriously, how can I raise the slightest twinge of sympathy here? This woman’s son fed her to three times her normal weight while she was in his care and the Socialists did nothing about that. Instead they installed a lift nobody has ever used, to show they ‘care’. If that is the extent of ‘caring’ from those around her, what the Hell can you seriously expect from me?
My father has had multiple strokes. He is not fat and bed-bound, he is slim and as active as he can be despite having no feeling at all on one side of his body. One of my grandmothers was overweight. A small woman, she was reminiscent of a beach ball with a bad attitude. We were wiry little street urchins but if she wanted to belt us one, she’d get us. She had a friend who looked after her and believe me, if Shakespeare had met the woman, he’d have had to beef up the witch scene in Macbeth at least tenfold. Damn, that woman had eyes all around her head and remote ones in every room of the house, and we have never worked out where the rest of her teeth were but to this day, I check before sitting down. She could tell if we were behaving like little wasters from three streets away. Then again, she might not have been able to remote-view. It was a pretty safe bet that if we came back looking innocent, we weren’t.
One grandfather was bedridden for years before he died but he didn’t get morbidly obese. Back then, people knew that those who couldn’t move about much needed much less food than those whose jobs were heavy manual labour. There were fat people, there were some in my family, but they developed the musculature to carry it. They didn’t just sit and wait to be turned into biofuel, as the modern generation seems content to become.
Sure, the chubbies were slower, but too fat to get through a standard terraced house door? I have never known anyone in that situation, yet now it seems there’s one a week in the news.
There are hormonal causes for fatness. Many other causes have been proposed. There is also a theory that Vitamin D is important and while I don’t think it’s proven, it does make sense. Low Vit D suggests to the body that sunlight is declining so it stores up fat for the winter. Permanently low Vit D means permanently-on fat storage. And even in the sun, everyone is now coated with sunblock that’s thicker than a coat of Hammerite. Housebound? No sunlight, and in the absence of Vit D supplements, the body is in permanent store-for-winter mode. The brain might be intelligent but the rest of the body works on chemical signals and DNA-programmed responses. It will never say ‘Oh come on, that’s enough storage for a bloody ice age’ and stop.
If you are spending most of your day out of the sun, and all your time in the sun coated with three layers of emulsion paint, get Vitamin D supplements. They are cheap, and if that theory is right, they will tell your body to stop shovelling coal into the bunkers.
I can’t remember the strongest suncream in the seventies but was nothing compared to the invisibility creams available now. I was a pallid ginger back then so at dawn in the summer holidays I became Lobster Boy within minutes of going outside. One year I burned so badly I blistered. Not in some exotic location. In Cornwall which was, okay, pretty exotic at the time. Global warming has ensured that there hasn’t been a summer that hot since then.
[There is a photo of me in later years on holiday in Spain. My first purchase there was a huge black sombrero to defend myself from the horrible bright yellow sky thing. Coupled with teenage black clothing and post-puberty thinness, I looked just like a carpet tack.]
So what to do? Give the woman utter liposuction on the NHS, render it down and use it to run a fleet of buses for a week and deduct the difference from the total road tax take. It’ll be pennies for one but there are many more.
Then she will look like a stoat in a wet plastic bag, so take off all the excess skin on the NHS and send it to the tanners. Handbags, soft shoes, wallets, and the Greens can raise no objection at all. More tax money saved.
There is an easy cure for most obesity but it’s not one that anyone wants to hear. Stop paying people to look after obese people and most (not all) of the problem will vanish.
Really… just like everything else… if Government stops trying to fix the problem, it will go away.
Government will never realise that they cannot fix any problem, because in every case, they are the problem.