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The ethics of ridicule

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By John Pawlak

 My mother was a short woman, under five feet tall, and weighted only 95 pounds when she got married.  In her late years, she had ballooned into what doctors call morbidly obese.  Her doctor said it wasn’t a medical problem.  She simply ate too much.
 Now, I loved my mother and so I decided to “help” her lose that weight.  I commissioned the construction of a 15’x30’ billboard across the street facing her house and had her pictures put on the billboard so that everyone driving by could see how fat she was.
 The billboard said, “Beep your horn to say hello to my mother, the big fat pig living in the house to your left!”
 She would walk outside and see the billboard and hear the people laughing at her.  She felt “shamed” and realized that she needed to lose all that weight.
 My strategy worked!  Mom shed all that embarrassing fat, trimmed down, got healthy, and lived out her remainder years as a slender “decent” person whom I was “willing” to be seen with.
 Go ahead.  Admit it.  I’m a great son, aren’t I?  I mean, is that love or what?


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