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Sign of the times: Pigging Out Is Patriotic

A week into 2010. Are you still drinking, cursing, eating fast food, smoking, avoiding the gym, having casual sex or picking your nose? Just how are you faring one week into your New Year's resolutions? Not great? Thought as much. So let's give up this baloney. Why depress the shite out of yourself by going through total withdrawal at a time of recession and sub-zero weather? The notion of New Year's resolutions has to stop now.

Why are we Irish so obsessed with resolutions? Because as a race we do guilt better than anyone. We have our very own Catholic Church to thank for that. We are carrying on the great tradition of monks who lashed themselves for sins of mind and body. We kill ourselves for not being fit or slim enough. Gyms all over the country understand your vulnerability and are lapping it up -- at your expense, naturally. They take in more members than they can accommodate. Why? Because they know that while you won't show up most of the time, you'll still pay up; just to ease your conscience, so you feel that you are tackling your laziness and greed. Women are the worst offenders.

Now I'm not saying exercise is a bad thing. Far from it. Indeed, it is a good thing to walk home from Krystle nightclub now and again. Neither is a brisk stroll down to the off-licence a bad thing. But please spare me the nightmare of WIGs (Women in Gyms).

I have seen young wans on treadmills dressed like extras from a Britney Spears video. They pound away like cattle on ecstasy, striving for a beautiful body as the iPod blares in their ears. Like those mice on treadmills in science experiments, they glance furtively around scanning the machine for signs of lost calories. There are lads doing it, too. You see them wearing the rugby jerseys with the gut safely tucked in underneath. In their minds, they are crossing that winning try line. However, as they fall off the treadmill to be escorted by the personal trainer to the nearest funeral home, you wonder why they pushed so hard.

What's the reason for all of this? We are living in an era of puritanical self-improvement. Blame reality TV. Have you watched programmes such as How Clean is Your House?, Supernanny, or Teach Your Dog Italian? The formula is the same. Some unfortunate is shown in all his or her ugliness. Most times their body/house/pet/child is shown to be a social disaster. Then the show's star, a shrink from the University of Transylvania or a supercilious minor celeb, gives the victim a makeover of sorts. The underlying premise is that those who are morally or physically defunct need to be changed. And so it is with New Year's resolutions.

We are in one of the toughest periods in the history of the State. Yet, instead of cutting back you owe it to the country to eat and drink more. The Government needs the revenue. We need the jobs. It is no less than your national duty to pig out now and again. Yes, such talk is cheap. However, in the national interest, I have taken it upon myself to lead by example. Why, I led a troop of brave volunteers to Copperface Jacks over the Christmas period for that very purpose.

So for your own well- being it is time to give up New Year's resolutions. Embrace your beautiful, screwed-up, imperfect self. Accept yourself for that beer gut. For that sneaky fag. For having scored the Romeo who hadn't rung you a month later. Embrace the chocolate caramel as it slides sensually down your throat, cream dripping on stained tracksuit, feet stretched as you read HQ.

Resolve now. I'll be checking.

Eamon presents Lunchtime on Newstalk 106-108FM, 12-2pm, weekdays. Myspace.com/eamonkeane


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