So the headlines tell me that Denmark is introducing a new sales tax on foods high in saturated fat. Apparently, Danish legislators are hoping that said tax will discourage poor food choices while increasing federal revenue.
My proud Viking heritage makes this bit of news especially interesting to me. I’ve always felt a certain kinship with my ancestral home (read: I did a report on Danish Christmas Traditions in the fifth grade), and have also long admired the country’s stoic, genial culture that endures today (read: Denmark seems pretty boring, but in a good way.) But news of this tax hike gives me pause about the nation’s current general direction. Read: it’s getting expensive to get fat over there. I feel so keenly for my far-off Danish sisters. Had my own forebears not crossed the Atlantic centuries ago, it could now be me paying twelve cents extra for a bag of chips and forty cents extra for a hamburger.
Did you know that only 9 percent of Danes are considered overweight? That’s less than a third of our rate over here. And yet the blue-eyed Big Brother is still watching. Why are they so mean to their people? Don’t they know that obesity is all the poor can call their own?
I’m just thankful to be living in the good ‘ole U.S. of A., where the right to get fat is claimed equally and enthusiastically by all her citizens. Can you imagine how quickly Denmark’s socioeconomic ladder will topple under this new food tax? Whereas a lean body is a sign of relative affluence in most countries (i.e., time and money to eat right and go to the gym), in Denmark that banner of class will be reversed. A muffin top will be worn as proud evidence of the comfortable circumstances that allow you to purchase (hurrah!) real butter. Flabby arms will show peers that your career is flourishing, and your brilliant ideas will be listened to more attentively as they escape your lips over the swing of a new, proudly purchased double chin. Worried about your cholesterol, yankee? Don’t be! Just move to Denmark. Chicks will dig you, because they’ll know you’re bringin’ home the benjamins. Trust me.
In fact, maybe America is no longer the place for us non-Angelina types. Why spend good money to get skinny here when you can spend good money to get fat over there? If Denmark requires one to Get Rich in order to Get Fat, then I foresee a renaissance of the Renaissance sweeping across its flowered fields, jiggly ladies in the paintings and all. Oh my three faithfuls, remember our late nights together in high school, gathering round a bowl of cake batter as we bemoaned modern society’s ideal of a womanly body? How often we wished that we could flex-capacitate our way to an earlier era in which large thighs were an indicator of largess. Well girls, our dream has finally come true, and you don’t need Doc Brown or a DeLorean to get there. You just need a passport and a plane ticket. And a well-padded dairy budget.
Danish leaders claim they are imposing this tax to better the health of their citizens, but I’m thinking thinking maybe they’re just trying to finally get some attention from the rest of the world. Maybe they’re sick of being the stuffy great-aunt to their flashy American nieces. Maybe they’re mad that everyone keeps vacationing in Hawaii instead of Copenhagen. Maybe they’re tired of being known only for their butter cookies and pornography. I don’t know. But something stinks here, and it’s not just the dead fish piled high on their choppy shores, unwanted now that the Omega-3 count makes it grossly available to poor folk.
What I do know is this: For my next vacation, I’m skipping the tropics. I’ll grab my Danskos and bikini and hitch a ride on the first whaling boat I find that will take me across the Atlantic to this loving new Social Utopia. Forget self-consciously walking the beaches of Hawaii; among Copenhagen’s portly new upper crust, I’m going to look geeood.