Jim: C’mon girl. You know people don’t appreciate that thickness. They call me the greatest of all time, and it ain’t just sports.
Caroline: Mr. Brown, I’m not comfortable with this. Now, I’m flattered, and a little intrigued but I’m in a committed relationship.
Jim: C’mon now. Respect my game, at least. If I was Bill Cosby, you’d be waking up right now in a dumpster, and your mouth would taste like Jello. I’m just saying.
Caroline: Oh wait, we’re live. Welcome to Obesity Olympics studio headquarters in New York. We wanted to take a minute or two to tell some of the inspirational stories we’ve come across during these games.
Jim: Africa has always been close to my heart. This story comes out of Eritrea, a country bordered by Ethiopia and the Sudan, hurt by war and oppression, and broker than Jermaine Dupri. But in one small town, one boy had a dream – a dream to compete.
“The land seems to stretch on endlessly, like a Michael Cimino movie. But despite its appearances, there is no actual freedom in Eritrea, an African country with one of the most repressive regimes in the world. But even here, dreams can escape.”
Walid Otty grew up in this hut for most of his twenty two years. He was a typical middle-class Eritrean teen.
But Walid always dreamed of being in the Obesity Olympics, even before there was such a thing.
“I always see Americans,” Walid says, in his stilted English. “They look so fat and happy. I want to be like them, but they never stay. There just come here long enough to sell their guns, and then they leave.”
Being fat in a country where just having enough water to drink is a problem was a challenge for Walid.
“After a day working in the fields, exercising and playing sports with friends,” Walid continues, “I found it difficult to reach my Olympic dream. I was simply too small.”
But in a story of inspiration and togetherness, Walid’s village raised money to get him American food.
“They all sold their white shoes to get me food,” Walid says tearfully. “You have no idea what white shoes means to an African.”
Now Walid had a store of Western foods, loaded with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, terrifying preservatives and Red #40. Walid applied himself to eating six times a day, and the pounds just piled on.
“We left all my McDonald’s hamburgers out in the sun for weeks,” he says, recalling an early faux pax. “They never went bad. I was so lucky. Also, the buzzards would not eat them, which I found strange.”
Walid will compete in the 2013 Obesity Games. It is a dream come true for everyone in his village. He is the toast of Eritrea. For those in Eritrea than can afford toast.
Back to you, New York.
Caroline: A heartwarming story from the Motherland.
Jim: Are you demented?