Getting Smaller.

I used to be a habitual reader of Paul Krugman in the New York Times. As a graduate student I taught an Introductory Economics course to undergraduates and required the students under my tutelage to read and then write their comments on each of Krugman's two columns per week. Now, that the New York Times Websites charges a fee to read his column online, I no longer am able to read each one of his columns. This weekend my local daily ran a Krugman column in its editorial section. I learned that Americans are getting smaller.

Apparently a new study is out revealing that Americans are now on average three inches shorter than their European counterparts. We are also the shortest among the 18 top industrial countries despite having the largest per capital GDP. Thirty years earlier we were the tallest and three inches taller than our European counterparts(I read this yesterday morning, so my memory may be slightly off. Regardless the fact revealed remains unaltered - we are getting smaller). That is quite a switch.

Things do not look good for America. We are a dying nation. Everywhere we look around us we can see doom. Even our myths (television, games, Internet, etc.) are all about death and destruction. 9-11 was just a foreshadowing of our eventual collapse.

Krugman, ever the economist, explains our declining height on socioeconomics. Although partially right, he only alludes to the specific problems. Our bodies are made of the earth. We are destroying the earth that we are living upon. As the quality of our environment deteriorates, our bodies follow suit.

We have been consuming oil, coal and chemicals for so long we have forgotten we are nourished by the soil. We flush our soil away to the oceans and our bodies are a reflection of the meager shape of the topsoil we grow our food upon and the modified foods we pump into our bodies without the slightest notion or reverence for the Earth that provides for us.

Over time we slowly wilt away as cancers and disease consume our weakened flesh. For this to be happening physically before our eyes without our conscious acknowledgment can only be explained by minds that have become increasing numbed and slowed as a collective Alzheimer's disease slowly eats away a memory of our more glorious past while we operate under the continual disillusionment that we are an all-powerful and giant people, even as we verifiably shrink from existence.

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    How many of the European nations (none / 0) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 12:46:12 PM EST
    and/or other industrialized countries have as a great a Mexican/Central American population as we do?

    It would be interesting to see the data on Europeans vs. European-Americans.

    Also, cheer up, we're not getting smaller.

    Through painstaking investigations he has calculated the heights of men at different times over our recent historical past. This shows that, around 1850, Americans - blessed with Western technology that allowed its citizens to spread unstoppably across the United States - lived relatively fine lives that let its menfolk reach an average height of 5ft 9in. By contrast, Dutchmen were only able to reach about 5ft 7in.

    By the early 20th century the average American man was still about the same height as his predecessor. But the average Dutchman had nearly caught up and was only about half an inch shorter.

    But in the 20th century Americans were overtaken. The average US male is now about 5ft 10in. The average Dutchman is just over 6ft.

    But I am pretty sure we're getting fatter...

    Gotta say, also, your title made me chuckle (none / 0) (#2)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 04:40:57 PM EST
    because it reminded me of one of my wife's favorite lines from the movie "Parenthood" where the elderly Grandmother squawks a non-sequitur "I'm shrinking!" in response to her prodigal-grandson's "Hello, Grandma." greeting...

    I was thinking (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peaches on Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 04:48:26 PM EST
    of titling it after that old Steve Martin's skit from his first album "Let's Get Small."

    I was thinking.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 19, 2007 at 09:16:38 PM EST
    an increase in the Asian-American population might have something to do with it as well...Asians tend to run a little shorter.  Excluding Yao Ming and Wang Zhi-Zhi of course.

    As for consuming all kinds of crap, I'm guilty as charged.  I love me some Sweedish Fish loaded with Red #40.  I'm hoping my stock is strong enough to beat the odds like my man Keith Richards.

    I take heart in believing the earth will be here thriving long after the humans are gone...we're only screwing ourselves out of existence with the way we live.