Men's Fitness magazine came out with its annual fitness report card. The editors determined that Chicago is America's fattest city, whereas Baltimore is the most fit.
What a bunch of bunk.
If you're not familiar with Men's Fitness, let me summarize: It's a magazine designed to turn men into selfish, self-absorbed, opportunistic twits.
Take the January issue. It promises readers "101 gut loss tips" and other ideas on how men can transform themselves into lean, mean, pretty-boy machines.
Fashion is a key concern. Designer John Varvatos explains how today's male can use clothing to express himself:
"The more you show us who you are, the cooler you are. We want our guy to be like, 'I really can wear that old leather jacket with this and really can mix it up.' I'm all about that."
I'm all about that, too. The night I mixed up my J.C. Penny polo shirt with my Sears Toughskins, I had more women approaching me than I could shake a stick at.
They offer important tips on women, too: how to create your own luck, how to master the third date, and how, in general, to become an irresistible little fuzz ball.
And there's this precious advice:
"Problem: ... Her dog's gotta go, but she's in the shower. Solution: Take him out for a (walk) so she can have the extra minutes to get ready."
Ah, modern romance. It used to be a subtle dance of the heart and soul. Now all a man has to do to achieve romantic togetherness is take Buster out for a stroll.
In any event, the twits at Men's Fitness now suggest they are gravely concerned about the obesity epidemic. They believe their annual fittest and fattest guide is making an impact:
"... You'll find a growing body of evidence that the causes of obesity are all around us, from limited recreational opportunities to air pollution, TV watching, zoning that allows too many (fast-food) drive-throughs, and an epidemic of less and less time to exercise. It proved to us that the Men's Fitness message is getting through."
And their message is getting through. If a fellow is obese, it's more likely the fault of government and his lack of a Men's Fitness subscription than an individual decision to chain-chomp Hostess Twinkies.
"If obesity is an epidemic a public-health emergency shouldn't we expect our city leaders to do something about it, such as require developers to build open spaces and trails (instead of jammed-in housing tracts and drive-through-laden strip malls) or create fitness- and health-education events?"
But of course.
In determining the fittest and fattest cities, then, the editors incorporated health legislation and other city programs into the calculations. And once their highly precise calculations were made, which city turned out to be the fittest in all of America?
I've been to Baltimore. I had some of the world's thickest, greasiest tacos there. I had crabs dipped in butter, which I washed down with a heavy lager beer. I witnessed Ravens fans consuming almost as many nachos, fries and burgers as they did cheap bourbon.
I'm no expert on the subject I can't apply precise formulas and calculations, as Men's Fitness has but I've come up with a different take on Baltimore. Folks there may be the drunkest or the soberest. They could be the prettiest or the plainest. They could be the nastiest or the friendliest.
But I'll eat my six-pack abs if they are the fittest.
My hat goes off to the editors at Men's Fitness. They created a successful gimmick to generate buzz in the thick of winter. They use the buzz to attract more male subscribers. Their mission is to convert more men into shallow, self-absorbed, opportunistic twits so that they can sell more advertising and make more dough.
That's not to say some of their advice isn't sound. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I intend to be as romantic as the next guy. All I have to do is take a girl's dog out for a walk.