The good news? It's not by much. At least according to the United Nations, which gathers the data on planetary gluttony, Mexico is only ahead by a couple of meaty sandwiches dripping with mayo and a plate or two of fried wings. There's no need for an expensive crash program to bulk America back up by putting candy bar machines back in middle schools or rehabilitating Paula Deen. We could easily be back in first after a normal Thanksgiving weekend. Just remember when you're gobbling that extra slice of pie or having a milkshake instead of a diet soda with your burger, you're doing it for your country.
Still, you've got to compare it to other moments when the USA suffered an unexpected international humiliation, like when we lost the America's Cup after a couple hundred years of owning it, or got Sputnik shot up over our heads in the last century. Doubt has been cast upon American exceptionalism, and the US must rally itself. A line has been drawn, not in the sand, but across the face of every chocolate cheesecake and cheese-stuffed pizza crust in the land. We must face this quesadilla and chile relleno fueled challenge in our own native way, by putting bacon in every sandwich and whipped cream in every coffee drink, until once again we rule the scales of Earth.
Or we could just ignore it, like we did the America's Cup thing. After all, who's collecting these statistics? The United Nations, that's who. Apparently not content with failing to stop any wars worth having and producing treaties that no one wants to sign, the UN is now trash-talking international body mass indexes. Other countries on the top ten list are ones no one would have suspected of harboring large numbers of fat citizens—Syria, Iraq and Libya, to name three. You thought those people all wore man-dresses and burqas for religious reasons but apparently it's to conceal their flabby tummies and dimpled thighs. Also they demonstrate helpfully that being shot at doesn't depress your appetite.
The good thing about the list of fattest countries is that Americans who are suspicious of the UN can now relax when they see black helicopters in their skies and blue-helmeted soldiers in their driveways. They're not here to confiscate our guns, or to implement Agenda 21--they're just here for our weigh-in.
In other developments, retailer Target has been the subject of scorn for putting out a memo stating, among other things, that Mexicans do not always wear sombreros and do not always eat tacos. This memo was directed at Target's middle managers, whom Target apparently doubts are capable of figuring out which side of a taco to hold upright. I would like to see other memos offering guidance to Target managers. I feel certain they would include such titles as Some Guidelines for Distinguishing Your Ass from a Hole in the Ground or Finding Your Butt with Both Hands-A Step-by-Step Procedural.
I travel to Mexico frequently and I can assure you that there are more sombreros worn at drunken, offensively-themed frat parties than in the entire country of Mexico. Mexicans hardly ever wear sombreros, unless they are in a mariachi band and are actually playing at Disneyland.
They do eat tacos, though. But so do we. Bring us a platter of them, and let the competition begin.