You are strung out bad. There’s a gnawing at your gut that tells you how severe it is. You need something to take this razor blade edge off.
You get in the car and start heading to your hookup, who’s always been pretty trustworthy. The parking lot where you usually meet. There aren’t any cars, thank God, you couldn’t handle the embarrassment of relapsing.
You pull up, put in your order and pull around the building where the guy is waiting for you.
Large coke right? Yeah.
You pay the guy and he sends you farther down where another man has exactly what you need. No words are spoken between you two; you both have a tacit agreement of what is being done is not dignifying for either of you so might as well get it done with now.
The deal is done. You pull away. The hunger for just a little is too much now, you pull into an empty slot in the parking lot. Hunching over in a degrading yet satisfying way, you take an unholy bite of cheeseburger.
The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America ranked Indiana the seventh most obese state in the U.S. When this report was first published many residents were distressed about the state’s health. Articles were published in response as a call to arms against the epidemic that had somehow found its way into our home state. As time has gone by the typical, forgetful and apathetic American way has taken hold and (once again) health policies have taken a back seat to other political issues.
But when the issue was at the forefront of discussion, many tried to discern the reasons why Indiana’s obesity rate is at a 32.7% (This is only 3.2% behind the number 1 spot, currently held by Arkansas, according to the same study done by The State of Obesity). There is no way to point a finger at exactly one reason. But if we take aim at one problem at a time, we might make a difference.
So here is a big one: the focus and attention we give to our community, mixed with the bored culture of today, creates an easy gateway for the rates of obesity to skyrocket.
Indiana has 3.8052 fast food restaurants for every 10,000 people (The Washington Examiner ranked each state based on the amount of fast food restaurants: Indiana did not disappoint with a number eight position). With a population of about 6.6 million, this means that 2,510 fast food joints infest our state. This in itself is detrimental to our community’s health. To compound this atrocity, central Indiana does not have many opportunities for citizens to do something active (or, arguably, fun) to counterbalance the entertainment scale (a scale where health nut crazed activities are on one side and lethargic breathing is on the other).
You don’t have to do much to prove the validity of these facts. Just drive down state road 135 and look at the options available to your left and right and see if they could be considered even remotely ‘active’. What you will most likely find is that almost everything you pass is either a restaurant/fast food chain or a grocery store selling items that would be found at a restaurant/fast food chain. If you start heading down Stones Crossing Road you will find a McDonald’s and a Taco Bell across from a Marsh: all of their lights buzzing in collective neon cacophony that coaxes the next customer to forget all the ‘self-help’ articles and preachings that told them that what is inside is a malice amalgam of chemicals passing off as food.
Yet, the fault cannot lay completely on the fast food business (though they do own a major part of the food industry in central Indiana and create a large strain on consumers). Free will is not stripped of you nor is it your destiny to eat fast food. I believe the overlooked yet important idea is that we may just be so bored that we have to eat to fill our time.
We are living in an age that is bursting at the seams with entertainment in its infinite forms. As a culture, Americans depend so much upon the idea that we must be doing something to pass the time. This addiction has led to the mass production of entertaining media but as more comes out, we become less impressed by it. Entertainment is our culture’s drug and we’ve created a gargantuan tolerance to it; Americans are bored junkies.
Do you remember those times you were with your friends, just sitting, time idling and waiting for you to start actually doing something?
There are no plans for you and your friends except for the arbitrary meaning of “hanging out.” Plans are necessary because you and your friends cannot handle one more moment in this homeostasis of absent mindedness, so you begin to formulate, structure and execute something that you all will enjoy.
What do you want to do, I don’t care what can we do, then silence.
Nothing is said because there is nothing to say.
There can be no unique plans.
Your itching need for entertainment cannot be fulfilled, the addict begins to suffer from withdrawal but instead of a stomach ache and the sweats, a unique anxiety only felt during extreme times of nothing sets in.
You will do anything for a bump of entertainment now.
Well we could go to Steak ‘n Shake or something.
Sure I don’t care.
The drive seems to take forever, and you don’t really have any emotions. You are just empty about going somewhere that you will be actually doing something even if that something is indirectly killing yourself with processed food.
This scene has become normal for high school students in Indiana. They are all craving an activity outside of school but because of the state’s lack of internal care, there is nothing to do.
There may be no solution to the problem. Our culture may be too addicted to entertainment to stop cold turkey. The difference is the type of entertainment we choose to indulge ourselves in.
As citizens of central Indiana, we ultimately have the final decision of what fills our community, so why shouldn’t we choose to be entertained by constructive? Rather than be junkies of Twitter and trans fat, shoot up on healthy entertainment.