Life advice, via Are You Afraid of the Dark (index) (random)

Dear Betty Ann,

They say funny things happen when there’s a full moon on a leap year.  Try telling that to my little brother, though.  Our babysitter just went missing in this spooky old house in the middle of nowhere, but all he can think about is banana splits!  This was cute when we were younger, but it’s now clear to me that his eating habits are a one-way road to obesity.  When we went into the house to search for our missing babysitter, the spirits had set up an entire table of banana splits:

And he tries to eat them!  I knocked them out of his hand before he could do it, but it opened a hole into another dimension:

His appetite is like a hole into another dimension.  I don’t want to get pegged as the kind of girl who goes out of her way to shame the obese, but I feel like his behavior is growing dangerous.  How can I get him to see the irreversible damange excessive snacking might to do his body and our lives?


Skinny Sister

* * *

Dear Skinny Sister,

The old banana splits trick!  That’s a classic “leap ghost” move.  Fortunately, a full moon only occurs on February 29 once every 120 years, and so it’s easy to become familiar with all the leap ghost moves.   They also love the “fake interstate” trick:

And the snake-baby trick:

And this isn’t really a trick, but they have a charming affinity for tumbleweeds:

That said, it sounds like you’re projecting a lot of undue rage onto food.  Nobody wants to be obsese, and I’m sure your brother is more than aware that his eating habits may open a hole into another dimension.  I know you’re framing your concern as relating to “health” issues, but even legitimate health concerns can have the unfortunate consequence of feeding into the old mass media delusion that there’s something inherently wrong with the obese, that a person’s weight is inversely proportional to their overall value as a human being.  I know your concern comes from a place of love, but your problem isn’t food—it’s leap ghosts.  They may be a familiar bag of tricks, but their opportunities to hunt are so rare that they’ll put up quite a fight.  Should you survive, I endorse having a talk with your brother about healthy eating habits.  However, please be mindful not to project your own prejudices about body image onto a susceptible child.  It’s never too young to hate yourself for the wrong reasons.

With love,

Betty Ann

  • 10 October 2012