Newspaper layout editors are a frustrated lot.
That is the only conclusion I can draw from an odd juxtaposition in today's local newspaper. Someone is laughing under his green eye shade.
Story number one, by itself, falls into the "frat boy wants to makes good" category.
"Mexico aims to build record-setting burrito"
You can almost write the story yourself. Someone wants to get his nombre into the Guinness Book of World Records. And what better way than food?
Next month, 3000 people are going to roll out the burrito in Mexico. Well, roll up the burrito.
2.7 kilometers worth of burrito. (That's 1.7 miles for those of us still stuck with the English system -- even though the English are not.) That is 700 meters of 12-inch wide (to mix my systems) burrito.
Enough beans, cheese, sour cream, and tortillas to -- Well, to match up with the story just across the page:
"One taco too many"
Mexico is fast pulling up on the United States to earn the award for most obese nation.
So, says a recent OECD report. Seven out of ten Mexican adults are overweight; three out of ten are obese. Mexico actually has a higher portion of "overweight" citizens than does the United States. Even though the United States holds wheezingly holds the obese title.
I can empathize. During my six-month sojourn north of the border, I have managed to regain the thirty pounds I lost when I moved to Mexico last year. And I know why.
My broken right ankle was an obvious cause. In Mexico I walked everywhere in my village. In Oregon, I could not move around without crutches.
But that excuse is dead. I have been able to get around quite well recently.
The major cause has been my diet. I have been eating all sorts of foods I cannot get in Mexico. And they all have two common ingredients: fat and salt. Sitting at a computer desk all day indulging in nervous eating has strained my belt line.
The good thing is when I return to Mexico, I will be able to shed the pounds again.
But my Mexican neighbors will continue to gain weight. And there is a price to pay. Diabetes is the top cause of hospital admissions after childbirth in Mexico, and the second-biggest cause of death.
Mexican food can be high in fats. Tacos. Enchiladas. Refritos. All cooked with lard. They are partly to blame. But those foods have long been part of the Mexican diet.
What has changed is the convenience of middle class living. Mexicans are learning that food does not need to take a long time to cook. The resulting reliance on processed and junk foods adds to the weight problem.
But the Mexican medical community has fingered one food as the main problem: refrescos. Sugary soft drinks. Fizzy or still. But sweeter than your first kiss.
Add an ever-growing sedentary lifestyle in front of the television, and you have -- the second most obese country in the world.
But, just like The States, the problem appears to be somewhat regional. In my seaside village, most young people are as fit as California surfers in the 50s. That may be because that is what they are. The young are active beach people.
Drive a few miles from the beach and people start looking as if they had just driven in from Wisconsin. (Yeah. Yeah. I know. But Mississippi has taken enough hits.)
And for all of the recent ballyhoo from America's first lady to have Mexico join the Get Slim plan (something most of us in Mexico interpret as a revenge plot on Telemex), Mexico will enjoy growing cheek to cheek with its portly neighbor to the north.
As for me, I long ago learned a simple trick. If you want to look slim -- hang out with fat people.