August 29, 2007 at 8:01 am
I always run out of quarters to do my laundry. I hardly ever use cash these days, preferring to use plastic cards with magnetic strips to pay for all my goods. But unless I get my cat to start licking all my clothes clean, I’ve got to feed the washing machine its diet of large, circular change. So I found myself in a long line at the bank at 11:30 on Saturday morning along with several other people who were cashing their paychecks or answering their cell phones despite very strict signage that prohibited such behavior.
I picked up a copy of our weekly liberal newspaper to read as I waited. I flipped past all the ads for “island temple healing” (are there islands in Indiana?) and “European whirlpool and body massage” (is there something special about European whirlpools? Does the water whirl in the opposite direction?) to find an ad on the back page for a medical research study asking me, “Healthy, but Overweight?” I don’t know why they needed to capitalize “overweight.” Perhaps the weight that word implies necessitates the use of a huge, round capital letter as a visual cue about the size and shape of the individual it is describing. It paid several thousand dollars and I was beginning to lament the fact that they hadn’t been doing this study last year when I was still fat but eating lots of green things that grow in the ground and running regularly, which surely qualified me as healthy.
I’m still technically overweight according to my BMI though, so I was wondering whether I could sneak into this study and get some easy cash. I looked through the bulleted list of requirements. Male or female? Why yes I am! Age 18-65? Check. Tobacco and nicotine-free? I’m so boring I’ve literally never smoked a cigarette. Then I noticed this:
“Females must be surgically sterile or postmenopausal.” Say what? How are my ovaries an issue here? Exactly what are they going to do to these fat people? Maybe there’s a reason they’re paying $4,250 dollars, and it’s not the fact that you have to stay 16 consecutive overnights at their center. I read that the film director Robert Rodriguez earned $7,000 to finance his first movie by submitting himself to experimental drug studies, if the Internet Movie Database is to believed. But it also said he had two divots in his arm as a result of the procedures, so I guess the man earned his money.
I suppose it’s for the best that I am no longer overweight nor am I surgically sterile or postmenopausal, though I’m glad I’m still healthy. Otherwise the study would be mildly tempting. However, if you live in Indiana and are fat, healthy, and really hard up for cash, it evidently pays pretty well to be a lab rat.