It’s no secret that New Jersey governor Chris Christie is fighting the Battle of the Bulge (and doing so rather unsuccessfully to date). So when he recently appeared onThe Late Show with David Letterman eating a donut, he was applauded for beating his critics to the punch. By addressing his weight issue on humorous terms, he not only made light of the subject, but also made several headlines the next day (not a bad move for a potential 2016 presidential candidate).
But soon after Christie’s appearance, his health was questioned by former White House doctor Connie Mariano (who had, in fact, helped Bill Clinton to shed 30 pounds back in the day). Mariano voiced concern about Christie’s health — even going as far to say that she would worry about him suffering a heart attack if he were in the White House.
And suddenly, the joke (and Christie’s own sense of humor on the subject) was over. Instead of addressing Mariano’s concerns in a healthy (debate) kind of way, Christie fired back, making himself out to be a victim (in that his children had heard Mariano’s comments and had come to him out of concern) and even going as far as to publicly tell Mariana to (and yes, I’m quoting), “Shut up.”
What happened to Christie’s goofy, fun loving, donut eating persona?
As a former obese man (who weighed north of 450 pounds), I can relate to the governor’s tactics to stay ahead of the criitics by making fun of one’s self before anyone else does. I had a whole calvacade of go-to jokes that I could pull out anytime in order to put strangers at ease. I had a routine involving wicker furniture that would leave people laughing in the aisles. I understood that my being morbidly obese was a sometimes uncomfortable situation for people to deal with (mentally). Thus, I also knew that by bringing up the topic in a humorous way (as Christie did when appearing on The Late Show), I could allow my girth to be acknowledged and, therefore, let peoples’ attention to turn to other topics. But unlike Christie, I never lost that sense of humor.
Christie’s instant attack on Mariano tells me that he could potentially be as uncomfortable with his extreme weight as political pundits are. Fact is, Mariano brings up some very valid points. You simply cannot weigh as much as Christie does (or as much as I did) and not face severe medical implications. The fact that Christie attacked back in such a confronting way shows that he’s very insecure about this topic and that’s the matter of real concern here.
After Mariano made her comments, Christie had an excellent opportunity to continue the national discussion about obesity — both in regard to the challenges of being obese, the various prejudices obese people face and even the personal responsibility one must take to finally win that Battle of the Bulge. Instead, Christie showed that he not only suffers from a fat belly, but also, potentially, a fat head.
This doesn’t surprise me. Because being in denial of real facts is one of the things that keeps us from conquering our goals of losing weight. I remember weighing over 450 pounds and telling people, “I don’t understand why I’m so heavy… I don’t eat that much.” When, in actuality, I ate a lot and should have been in touch with exactly why I weighed as much as I did.
Time for Christie to get more in touch with reality, too. Not only for his political career and his own weight, but also his own kids (who aren’t actually being victimised by Mariano, but potentially are by possibly not having a full life with their Dad due to Christie’s own morbid obesity).
What’s your take on Christie’s donut eating stunt? Mariano’s reaction? Or Christie’s response that Mariano should, “Shut up?” I’d love to hear what you have to say, so please comment below. You can be sure I’d never suggest that you “Shut up.” Although I might suggest sharing a donut together (assuming there’s no wicker furniture around).
Photo Source: Daily News