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Published:August 21st, 2006 11:55 EST
Say No to the Slim and Beautiful!

Say No to the Slim and Beautiful!

By Krzys Wasilewski

To be successful in life you must be: slim, healthy and beautiful. Not slim or healthy or beautiful. If you don't fit in all the three categories at the same time, your chances of achieving anything in this world are reduced almost to zero. It takes as little as switching on the television to understand this painful truth.


It happened a few weeks ago. Summer was at its fullest and I led, or I thought I did, the happy life of a 23-year-old student who had passed his exams and a long-awaited vacation was at hand. What a wonderful world, one could say. Until one day when I accidentally turned on the television. Not to watch anything in particular, just to break the unbearable silence that can only be found in the countryside. “Lose 20 pounds in one week!,” shouted a sugar blonde (a Britney Spears clone) presenting an extra new formula, so superb that you don't have to give up your favorite sweets and fast food to be as slim as Kate Moss. Wonderful, isn't it?


Changing the channel brought me no relief. Instead of the silicone cutie there was a guy, one of those who take pride in building muscles while forgetting to exercise their brain. “Just look at how it works,” encouraged Mr. Universe, flexing his shining muscles. What he had was a strange looking machine glued to his hairless chest. If you believe him, this latest piece of space technology can turn a sumo wrestler into Arnold Schwarzenegger (before the latter changed sunglasses and machine guns for suits). And this miracle, for only $199.99 – considering that it will enormously improve your well-being... it's a price worth paying. Hypnotized by snowy white smiles and perfect bodies, people are ready to pay anything just to join the Britney’s and Arnie’s perfect world.


I also could not resist the temptation. Why should I? First, I gave up sweets, fast food– in other words, everything that makes eating a pleasant activity. Instead, I forced myself to fall in love with corn flakes, soy and other gifts of nature —genetically modified nature. Then, as soon as my stomach learned how to digest the new sustenance, I put on my old dusty sneakers and went jogging. I have nothing against physical exercise it is a nice, pleasant and healthy way to spend your free time. In this case however, it wasn’t nice, pleasant or healthy. How anyone can speak of fun when the watch on your wrist constantly reminds you that unless you run faster, the road to being slim (remember what Arnie says: slim=healthy=beautiful=successful) will lengthen from a short race to a marathon. A few miles and gallons of sweat later, I could finally relax with a bowl of corn flakes. Yummy!


Thanks to this blitz diet, I managed to lose some pounds. Also, my chest and arms began to resemble those that you can admire on television. I even learned to like tasteless cornflakes and insipid soy burgers. But while losing additional pounds, I lost the happiness once contained in my daily life. I cursed every morning when I had to wake up earlier to jog, do exercise and have my healthy breakfast. Whenever I looked at the watch, I caught myself thinking about another distance to cover in as few minutes as possible. I looked at the new "me" in the mirror... but instead of the happy, successful man I'd hoped to become, I only saw a tired, miserable figure. Somehow the magic formula that flashed before my eyes each time I turned on the TV did not work. And I feel fortunate that it did not.


After three weeks in the pursuit of adjusting to the modern world, I gave up. I failed all these Arnies and Britneys who, every day, try to convince more and more people that the only way to achieve happiness and success is by copying them. “Unless you are superficially slim, with the perfect white smile and a six-pack stomach, your life is not worth a two pence,” I hear with irritating regularity. But with ears carefully bunged with a piece of cotton wool, undisturbed by anyone and anything, I slowly unfolded a nice, little chocolate bar. With the first bite, I sacked my personal coach: the wrist watch. With the second bite, I burned the sneakers which had proved to have been incompatible with my feet. As half of the bar was devoured, out went the cornflakes and soy. Finally, the last bite dissolving in my mouth, I switched off the television. Sorry Arnie.