Mississippi House Bill 282, currently before the state legislature, would prevent restaurants with more than five seats from serving obese people as determined by the state’s health department. Repeat offenders would be subject to fines or closure. Even the bills sponsor, W.T. Mayhall, Jr. says he knows the bill has less of a chance at survival than a bucket of KFC at a Weight Watchers meeting. He just wants the large, good people of Mississippi to consider their health and thinks this will get the conversation started. After all, Mississippi was just granted the title “fattest state in the nation,” with 62% of its population defined as obese.
My first thought when hearing this story was, “Why would restaurants want to keep out the fatties? They’re your best customers. This is like banning athletes from gyms.” Then there’s the whole problem of determining who is huge enough to face discrimination. Will Mississippi restaurants have to narrow their doors? Will they install the human-size version of the airport carry-on luggage measuring box? I imagine it will have a sign over it which reads, “If your ass is bigger than this, you are not welcome.” I wonder if signs like, “No shirt. No shoes. No Fatties.” are already being printed in the Magnolia state.
As bizarre as all that sounds, the really funny thing I learned while investigating this story is there is a real organization called The Coalition of Fat Rights Activists (COFRA). A group actually proud of their flab…er…glandular problem, who feel fat people face enough discrimination, they need an activist group. I’m no spring chicken, but I’ll stick with, “I could stand to lose a few pounds,” before I swing over the fence to “Fat is beautiful. RascalTM scooters for everyone!”
Here in Alabama, we have an expression for when people make fun of our state, “Thank God there’s Mississippi.” Having Mississippi as our neighbor really lowers the bar and takes all the pressure off.