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Why My Lucy Has Love Handles

Jeff Chester who heads up the Center of Digital Democracy may actually be on to something very, very big.

Last week, Chester, who has often taken to cable to task on raising its rates, now blames the industry for the growing problem of teenage obesity.

Personally, I've known this for a long time, but have tried to keep it quiet. But Chester has yet again exposed the ugly underbelly of cable television.

The truth of the matter is that Lucy, my pre-pubescent, certified field champion Yellow Lab, like those chubby teenagers Chester is talking about, actually has love handles.

I thought it was baby fat, because Lucy is an active puppy who actually gets a lot of exercise. I don't know how many calories either of us are burning right now, but as I write this column, she's tossing a tennis ball onto my computer board and feverishingly trying to help me out.

It's a wrestling match to heave that giant 75-pound puppy into a lounge chair to watch her favorite cable network, The Weather Channel. Her pacifier, of course, is a beef bully stick, which she will devour in under five minutes.

Frankly, Lucy is watching way too much cable television and could morph into a waddling blob of jiggling flesh if I don't intervene quickly.

Yep, Chester is definitely onto something here. By contrast, Sammy, my 7-year-old Black Lab makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like a wimp. And get this: Sammy, with his rippling, cut muscles and nicely defined waistline does not watch cable television at all.

So what are we to do about the plumping up of America, a national epidemic that is not only plaguing us, but now our children and dogs?

Here's an idea: let's make cable television our ally in the battle against the bulge.

It's not easy. Honestly, I now get up extra early every morning to watch that perky blonde Denise Austin who has an exercise show on Lifetime Television network, one for viewers to work out with. But the key word here is "watch."

I have never even lifted a pinkie during that show except to flip through the pages of The Wall Street Journal
before I go to work.

And of course, Lucy is drooling on my knee, awaiting the first feed of the day. Ignoring those big baby brown eyes which are riveted on me, I get on the treadmill, and watch other people exercise on ESPN, and if I'm lucky I'll catch an informercial touting the latest guaranteed flab-busting device.

Lucy, by contrast, is now stretched out on the couch, yes, again, watching more cable television, and not even trying to follow along with some simple ab-tightening exercises, which her vet would now say she desperately needs.

It's finally feeding time and Lucy looks dismayed when I plunk down her bowl of Spot's Stew, a natural, low-calorie dog food with real vegetables. She's eyeing Sammy's more alluring entrée of tenderloin beef cuts.

And, of course, when I leave for work, the just-fed Lucy is already back in her chair watching yet more cable television, while Sammy stands guard at the window, oblivious to Lucy and the TV set.

Yep, Chester has once again nailed cable. Lucy is living proof.

Marianne Paskowski is editor in chief of Multichannel News and is making some progress with Lucy's love handles.