Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Big American

Every day, I walk the streets of Amsterdam. I see Dutch people everywhere. They are biking all over the place, usually while smoking, dialing the phone, and stabilizing an 8-year-old child.

I have concluded that I am, quite possibly, the fattest person in Amsterdam. In over two weeks, I have never seen a person bigger than me. I am setting Dutch world records, and in all the wrong categories.

Don't get me wrong: I'm pretty fat in the U.S., too. But I see people on a regular basis who are larger than me, often quite a bit larger.

There are no fat people here. Dutch people are, as a rule, thin as a rail. I commonly see men over six feet tall who weigh no more than 135 lbs. They wear t-shirts that would have felt snug on me sometime after my 3rd birthday. Gaydar is useless here.

The how of this is still somewhat of a mystery. The national snacks, bitterballen, are fried balls of sausage and gravy. They are unhealthy and delicious. They eat pancakes for dinner, most often with ham and melted cheese. These are served with massive pints of beer, and I can guarantee you nobody is drinking Miller Light.

Nonetheless, the result is that I am a curiosity here. There is staring, and the first thing they think is: American. I have stood quietly in the street and had people address me directly in English. If I responded in Dutch they would be shocked. They know what they are looking at. I am a walking American obesity epidemic.

This translates into amusing marketing campaigns. You can stick this Dr. Oetker's Big Americans Texas-Style Pizza into your oven and be eating like a Big American in just minutes. Everyone knows that the best pizza comes from Texas, land of Big Americans! Like all Big Americans, our Texas-style pizzas are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside!

I did not actually buy this pizza, of course, for fear of dying from shame.

10 Comments:

At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Donna said...

Well, Linda was right again. I'm one of those people who arrived here via Frolic and Detour. Everything she said is true.

As those crazy young kids say, you do indeed rock.

 
At 4:37 AM, Anonymous GumbyProf said...

As someone who has recently been the fattest person in Korea, I can totally see where this is coming from.

I would say that I felt like Godzilla, except that he was Japanese, and Koreans wouldn't think that was funny.

Thanks for the fun, Mike!

-Scott

 
At 2:49 AM, Blogger Rachael said...

This is by far the funniest blog I've read in a while. Here's hoping you end up with a Texas-sized readership. And I'm not talking about fat people.

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Michael, I nearly choked on my cheese-slathered English muffin while reading this. Hysterical! Must go find some Cheez Whiz and fries now...

 
At 2:15 PM, Blogger Cindy Zmuda said...

I can't even comment...i'm still laughing....

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I have fans... wow! Did I mention they dunk their french fries in mayonnaise?

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger -jbs. said...

Of course you have fans! Especially here in Wisconsin where, really, you'd be pretty average in size. Gotta love a place where they feel the need to deep fry their cheese...

-jbs.

ps: Mayonnaise? Skinny people or not, that's just nasty.

 
At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should get the fries at the place next to the Dampkring, seriously. Don't be put off by, like, the...appearance of the place. Or the people who work there. The frites are the best. The Dampkring was ruined by Clooney and those guys. Although, maybe always full of frat boy chuckleheads in the summer?
Anyway, you now have fans.
Also? My ex-husband spent like three months in Amsterdam and he must have lost 30 pounds or more, I have no idea how he did it, I think it just sort of happened. He said he joined some sort of public pool? And swam for exercise? It was all very unlike him. I think he felt very conspicuously American there, too, whenever we were there together I know he did.
I ENVY you, and will keep reading. Cheers!

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Mike said...

The situation is the same here in Ireland. They serve fries with their lasagna, and the people here are incredibly thin.

Of course, some of that might have to do with being in a university atmosphere, where the people are predominantly very young, and can down baconburgers chased by Guinness and still not gain weight.

 
At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, Mike. Eat more SALAD. That one with potatoes and beef, and mayonnaise. And skip that McDonalds for a change.

 

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