Monday, August 3, 2009

Hey, Fatty!

Myrtle Beach was great this past weekend. I enjoyed the company of one of my best friends, played terrible golf, enjoyed some great beach music, shot Roman Candles on the beach, slept in a meat-locker-cold hotel room, and consumed WAY more food, beverage, and cigars than was good for me.

However, the highlight of the trip was a visit to Brookgreen Gardens. A 78-year old, 50-acre sculpture garden, it's located about 10 miles south of Myrtle Beach on Highway 17. Brookgreen Gardens is a treasure that I was introduced to as a child. I try to make a pilgrimage once a year. Some of the sculptures are bigger than busses and the power of many of the pieces is awe-inspiring.

One of the new, most compelling pieces, is a small sculpture titled, “Soft Serve.” Imagine a Dairy Queen cone of vanilla about two feet tall. The the top swirly part has a little face and there is a navel in the overlapping, bulge of ice cream near the top edge of the cone. You can’t look at the work without smiling or laughing.

The piece won the Margaret Hexter Prize for artist, Jeremy Davis, of Middletown Connecticut. Davis points out on the title card that his work addresses the issue of being fat; not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. He uses humor to address a difficult topic in such a way that it isn’t an accusation or put-down. He says, “As a society we are constantly seeking consumables: things with which to stuff ourselves, things that are not good for us; things of which we always want more.”

I started thinking that we are often fat mentally and emotionally. I have too many books. I’ve got to pare down the collection and get leaner. I’ll never read them all.

In a work setting we might spend too much time searching for just the right piece of information that we think we MUST have to make a decision. When, in fact, we have enough information, we just don’t want to make the decision.

Many of us have become too fat regarding credit cards and our credit obesity has gotten us into trouble. As a nation we have become too fat with debt. Frugality, financial leanness, is the new watchword.

Some people would say that our tendency to political correctness and to trying to satisfy every whim of every fringe group is a type of emotional, political, and societal obesity.

In what part of your life might you need to go on a diet? I’ll go first. I’m going to start culling my books and video collection today.

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