I do not comment much on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's community columnists, if only out of a sense of solidarity. I was in the first group of writers. Patrick McIlheran seems to think it has brought me fame and fortune (maybe he's approved a check request I don't know about) and it was a great deal of fun.
But it's not easy (at least for most people) to be opinionated on demand and too much grief may be beyond the job's pay grade. I also think (but Ricardo Pimentel disagrees) that recycling writers off the street brings dwindling returns. There are going to be fewer and fewer regular Johannas who can do this type of thing.
One memorable column from the most recent batch was written by an MPS teacher named Steve Paske (who, in fairness, is not bad). While he apparently thinks that piece touched a nerve by exposing the dead weight (or at least it should be) of the Un-Fit, what he actually did was to display a remarkable level of smug.
He runs, you know. He did it in college. He is healthier than the rest of us. From running. Fat people get sick, but his purported absence of health care costs is presumably his special gift to us all.
Because he runs. Did you know that? Fast. And far.
Oh, except it turns out that this form of self abuse (and that's what running 30 miles per week after it starts to hurt you is)has resulted in physical breakdown after all. He needs custom orthotics so that he can keep it up and is pleased that the taxpayers are going to pick it up for him.
Good for you, Steve. Knock yourself out. Literally.
But the burden of today's column is to argue that this form of self abuse ought to be subsidized for every one. Because it is physically virtuous. He notes that insurers will pay for orthotics for people who suffer from Type-2 diabetes and need them because they are fat. (Steve is fit, have you heard?)
Maybe, Steve seems to think, we ought to let them hobble about. After all, they don't run. Like Steve.
Let's send someone he calls Joe Fat Guy (one's cholesterol efficient blood runs cold at the name) a message. If Jabba in the Recliner would have only known that we'd leave him crippled, maybe he would have laid off the nachos and guac. And run. Like ... well, you know who.
I certainly don't begrudge Steve the chance to continue to do something that he enjoys and which is obviously a huge part of his self identity. (He's fast.) But I find it easier to smile at someone else's enthusiasms if they don't elevate them to the level of sacrament and manage to show just a tad less disdain for those who don't share them.
Here's the problem, Steve. You're getting old. You can't do what you used to and, unfortunately, it will only get worse. You may find it easier to take with a dose of humility.
I've got to go. The treadmill is waiting and I don't have MPS insurance.