Next on the agenda are infomercials: the symptom of a healthy economy and a failing public education system, and the primary purveyor of SB in the modern world. This very second, a 30-minute TV program is in progress that is predicated on the assumption that you are stupid. Depending on which one you watch, you will be told that sitting in a little rotating chair will give you six-pack abs, that juicing all your vegetables will give you six-pack abs, that jumping rope/dancing to very specific types of music/pretending to kickbox/turbojamming (all of which feature things called "moves") will give you six-pack abs. You might be encouraged to buy an Ab Roller, Ab Lounger, Ab Belt, Ab Energizer, AbTronic, Ab Rocker, Ab Doer, Ab Force, Ab Swing, Ab Rocket, Ab Flex, Ab Dolly, Ab Away Pro, Ab Lifter Plus, Abrageous, FastAbs, HipHop Abs, or 6-Second Abs by the promise that they will give you six-pack abs. The iGallop really looks like fun—Like riding a horse!—and will give you six-pack abs. You might even own a ThighMaster, bought many years ago (Still available today! Call now!) because they promised that it would give you six-pack abs.

Yes, there is a definite pattern here. Cheesy appeals to everyone's desire for the chiseled midsection—which really comes only from hard work, eating correctly, and, in some cases, genetic predisposition—shamelessly offer results to people not willing to pay anything more than money for them. It is always easy, it is always fast, and for some reason it is always abs. Even Chuck Norris's Total Gym gizmo, which claims to be better than free weights, dwells on abs, although, in fairness, not quite as much as everything else does.

These devices always promise to take fat off of your belly. Apparently just your belly. Spot reduction—the idea that somehow fat soaks out of your adipose tissue and straight into the muscles you're working right now, or the equally weird idea that fat is loosened in a specific place by some device or a certain aspect of an exercise, travels straight to the kidneys, and is then "flushed out," despite the fact that no one's ever seen any floating in the place it supposedly gets flushed into—is as integral to weight-loss popular culture as Richard Simmons. Spot reduction is really stupid, but I'd be surprised if 95 percent of the population doesn't accept it as fact, because they want to believe so very badly. It's like you were about Santa Claus when you were nine.

Midsection Meltdown

Midsection Meltdown

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