A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

By now you’ve most likely noticed the NYC Health “Pouring on the Pounds” subway posters campaigning to get people to cut down on sugary drinks. You would know, because if you’ve seen them, it was likely all you could do to suppress the desire to throw up. Not in your mouth, because a) I’m sick of that phrase and b) if and when I throw up, I much prefer to expel it from my mouth, not hold it in and what—swallow it back? Then I’d just want to barf again and, in the words of Wayne Campbell, if that happens it could set off a peristaltic chain reaction. I know people use this expression quite often, but I sincerely hope it’s not an actual regurgitative trend among my generation.

(Photo: NYC Dept. Of Health)

Anyhow, these posters. They are offensively nauseating. Each one displays a cup or cups of some variety of sugary drink—fruit punch, cola, lemonade, etc. And spewing forth from those beverages is a sloppy, glistening, phlegmonous mass of what appears to be raw human fat. It’s enough to make you retch up your mocha frapp, which would actually probably be considered a positive result. I happened already to be having a queasy morning today, and the sight of this heap of oozing, pustulant hamburger meat half-submerged in sweet iced tea nearly caused me to heave right on the spot. I had to close one eye and tunnel my vision just to read the headline clearly without catching sight of the image again. So clearly, it worked on all fronts, but…really? You’re killing me, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

RELATED: NYC Fitness & Weight Loss Guide | How To Teach Your Family Healthy Eating Habits

While I can appreciate a good scare tactic, there’s got to be another way to get this message across. I never thought I’d say this, but please bring back the lady with all those amputated fingers. Her hands were horrifying, but at least she’s a person for whom we can feel sympathy and to whom we can relate. A soft drink-soaked lump of human gristle just does not evoke the same “that could be me” feeling. It’s just a big, fat gross-out (no pun intended).

Okay, pun intended.

Check out the ads here, or don’t. Just please, everyone, let’s agree to stop drinking empty calories and lose a little weight so that these posters can go away and get replaced by a wholesome University of Phoenix campaign or more pearls of wisdom from The Most Interesting Man in the World.


Dear Readers: I’ll now be writing about city life every day from now on. While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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