The Thing I Like About …

Third Rock from the Sun: the part where Dick buys bigger pants.

In one episode of Third Rock, Dick realizes that his pants don’t fit anymore. He asks his friend Mary to help him lose weight; she belongs to a weight-loss support group called “Fat Losers”, and she brings him with her. When they get there, the environment is very much about getting “thin” and being “better looking”. Everyone has to call themselves “fat losers”.

At the end of the episode, Dick comes out in his pants, which fit again. The others ask him if he lost weight. He says no. He says that he bought bigger pants.

When your body is unhappy with your weight or fitness level, it lets you know – by hurting, swelling up, aching, breaking … there are plenty of internal cues to whether or not you need to make a physical change. External cues – from society, “friends”, jerks on the subway – are not only unnecessary but often misguided, mistaken, and detrimental to your mental wellbeing. People in the real world do call themselves – and others – “fat losers”, and many other unkind things besides, usually in the name of “helping” … but helping to do what, exactly?

We don’t actually owe anybody a certain appearance. They don’t owe us a certain appearance. Every single person looks different; how on earth are we supposed to “fit in” when there are seven billion categories? We don’t owe anybody anything, and we make ourselves crazy trying to wedge ourselves into the molds that others have crafted for us. We owe ourselves to promote our own happiness – which we cannot do in a room full of people telling us to change ourselves to accommodate them.

We deserve to be ourselves. We deserve respect. We deserve to have comfortable pants.

Dick’s got the right idea … now if he can just get Mary (and the rest of us) out of that Fat Losers group, and back into life.

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