The first thought that comes to mind when the brain processes the words – Fat Man – is the image of an obese male. Next, it starts dancing about thinking of all those really cruel jokes about fat people. In the politically correct world of today, we have a name for it – Fat Shaming.
There have been people in the past who have actually used their fatness as a crutch to get sympathy and attention. There are so many things that they cannot do or cannot do well and sometimes that has been used as an excuse to get others to feel guilty about their health so that they help the fat man out.
Ripley, of course, collected oddities and it is but natural that he would document the fattest man in the world. The tradition obviously continues even now that Ripley is no longer alive. It really is a dubious distinction because the title comes at the cost of one’s well-being and is associated with lots of diseases.
There apparently is a lifestyle disease that makes the sufferer think that they are fat and ugly, even though they are not. The patients never look in the mirror and think that people who tell them they are beautiful , are lying. Something to do with body dysmorphic disorder.
Then we have some superb examples of people who have used their fatness and gained fame from it. Oliver Hardy leaps to mind when we think of such people. Who can forget his iconic line to Stan Laurel – “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” We really don’t know much about his personal life but it is quite possible that inside that round body, hid a small, insecure person, a person who wanted to weep that people looked at him and laughed.
The term, Fat Man however conjures up terror for the people of Japan because this was the code name for the atomic weapon of destruction dropped by the United States during World War II on Nagasaki. There are really no words to describe the massive havoc and utter destruction that Fat Man left behind. Japan is still dealing decades later with the ripples of this disaster. Apparently, the bomb was so named because it resembled a 3-dimensional oval – a fat middle and narrow ends. It really was somebody’s idea of a grim joke.
Strange, isn’t it, how one innocuous phrase can conjure such a kaleidoscope of emotions across different sections of people?