Conversations with Pluto - The Paunch

"Ever noticed that all the so called happy characters have huge paunches, while our idea of health and well-being is still about six packs and flat stomachs?", asked Pluto as we were enjoying a much deserved siesta after a sumptuous lunch that Sunday afternoon. Pluto is my neighbor's cat who spends most of his time at my place.

I did not give much attention to his rant as the wine in the 'Fish Wine-daloo' we prepared had just kicked in. I thought some chick would have passed a comment on his prosperous belly for which he is cooking up some excuse now. Moreover I generally stay away from any discussion where I am on the losing side. But he was in no mood to let go the argument.

'Take the case of Santa Claus, Laughing Buddha, lord Ganesha, Garfield or Obelix', said Pluto.

'What about them', I asked.

'There was a time when paunch was considered a sign of prosperity and happiness, and not a symptom of gastronomic problems or addiction to beer. That was when Websters had a single entry on stomach, and the definition was devoid of internationally accepted, UN approved measurements for the same'

Without waiting for my reaction he continued.. 'Like the Model T, they used to come in just one size and type- the 'stomach'. Outlandish terms like Pot belly, Beer belly, Apple belly, Pear belly, Pork belly and Muffin top were not part of the language then'

'Ahem! So, what is the point', I asked again.

Now that he got my attention, he stood up and slowly unraveled his theory. 'Eating to heart's content was not a crime those days and its consequence was thus considered benign. The only rules applicable to consumption of food were - Eat when you can, Eat all you can. Convenience, availability & ability to digest were the only considerations. What to eat, when to eat and how much to eat were all rules brought in later by authors of religious texts like Bible, whose idea of a full meal was dividing five breads and two fishes between 5000 people.'

'Thus came the idea of over-eating and ugly-paunch', he concluded.

'So you mean to say that all this hoopla about abdominal obesity is just lunacy?' I wasn't ready to take his argument lying down. I got up and leaned my body against the wall.

'Precisely', said Pluto. 'If nature wanted us to have flat stomachs it would have created us that way. After inhaling all this nourishing air day and night, all this while, if our nose can stay pretty much in shape, then it definitely isn't a mistake that the stomach is growing in size'

'Wonderful. So if I translate your rant into plain English, the claim that central obesity is associated with a higher risk of heart disease is just eye'

'You got it! I don't remember reading about Obelix or Santa Claus dying of heart failure. Do you? Is it that they did not have hearts after all?' He chuckled.

'Aha! Then there are no side effects of having a pork belly. Is that what you suggest?'

'No.. no.. Of course there are side effects. There is reason to believe that a prominent paunch can hamper normal sex life', He said with a wink.

'Now how do you arrive at that? Because Obelix & Santa Claus doesn't feature in Masters & Johnson?'

'Oohoho.. it is much simpler dude. Tell me the name of Santa Claus' daughter.. or Obelix's son?'

'They didn't have kids', I said.

'Now, that's the point!', I could see his stomach making waves as Pluto laughed away to glory.

PS: Our conversations on Free will and Predicting Future.

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