From the same state that brought us MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and one of the more bizarre stories we’ve heard about Wal-Mart in a while, comes the story of Donna Simpson who, if paper work passes, could potentially be the world’s largest birth mother.
According to a recently released New York Post story, Simpson weighed a staggering 532 pounds when her daughter was born in 2007 and she has packed on 72 more to tip the scales at 604 pounds. But she’s not stopping there. Like most Americans, Simpson dreams big, and she hopes to someday weigh at least 1,000 pounds. That’s right, a solid half a ton.
Simpson is not alone in her endeavor, because no one is an island (even if she might be the size of one). Her 150-pound husband encourages her to follow her implausibly still-beating heart. She said he likes a girl with a bit of a belly, and they’ve also set up a webcam so paying viewers can watch her eat–capitalism at its finest.
The story is a frustrating one for almost everyone who reads it. On the surface, this woman has a problem. She’s borderline delusional. The numbers on her scale soar while her chances of being alive for her daughter’s graduation plummet. She has a husband who seems to value his fetish for a belly more than the idea of sustaining a healthy family, and while all of this happens, the world logs in to watch a woman eat herself to death.
The funny thing is Simpson’s aspirations for her sizable frame could easily be used as metaphor for your average college student. Seriously. Simpson represents some of the best and worst ways college students, myself included, act on a yearly basis. Here’s how:
Simpson has said she can eat nearly 70 pieces of sushi in one sitting. She focuses on short-term notoriety while at the same time ignoring the fact that what she’s doing now is going to hurt her family later. Ever been to a party? Or maybe Ireland Hall on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night? Yes, we college students tend to be a bit impulsive.
The woman already weighs more than a quarter of a ton and she wants to weigh more. Are you kidding me? Simpson has hammered home her point harder than she slams milk shakes. $150 shades, $180 Uggs, big cars, shiny (but probably fake) bling. Yeah, we college kids wallow in excess, too.
It’s pretty clear Simpson cares as much for what people think of her as she cares for a salad. I can think of about five times a day where I don’t care what someone is telling me – I’m going to do what I want. Most college students’ livelihoods depend on independence. We study what we want, we spend our money how we want and we do what we want because we know the consequences of our actions are ours to bear.
Simpson has a clear plan. She has goals. She has dreams and she’s doing what she can do to achieve them. Yes, it’s in a fairly perverse fashion, but she’s determined to be something, and doesn’t that alone sum up exactly what it’s like to be in college? You might have no idea what you want to be once you get to the “real world,” but you know that once you figure it out, no one can stop you from making it.
While you may not agree with what Simpson (or any other spotlight seekers, for that matter) are doing to get by, before we point fingers we should acknowledge that in some ways, she’s a lot like us. At least on the inside.
Ben Katzner can be reached at email@example.com.