It's not just our waistlines that are expanding.

The way things look.
March 3 2004 10:59 AM

Supersize It

Our waistlines aren't all that's expanding—our stuff is, too.

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Finally, in the event that you should succumb to the heart disease, diabetes, or risk of stroke that the CDC warns are several times more likely to occur with obesity, you can take solace that even death can be made to fit. At Goliath Casket Inc., in Indiana, orders for specially made double-wide caskets have skyrocketed, says a spokesperson for the company. Goliath introduced a 52-inch model in July (a standard casket is 24 inches wide), and it is already on back order, despite the casket's own weight—200 pounds—the $1,000-plus cost of shipping it out of state, and the fact that it can only be towed on the back of a flatbed truck. (Goliath admits that, as yet, no known hearses can carry its double-wide model.)

If we reduced the size of our stuff, would we shrink accordingly? Maybe, maybe not. But in the meantime, there's one thing we can be sure of: We're more comfortable. Who wants to return to the days when you had to squeeze by other patrons in the supermarket? Commodiousness means comfort. Roominess is happiness. Bigger is better.

James Verini is a writer living in Africa and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.