Don’t know if you picked up or saw the August 30 issue of Rolling Stone or not, but Rick Ross was on the cover… with no shirt on. Normally, this wouldn’t be considered peculiar for Rolling Stone’s standards, because lots of dudes have graced their cover sans shirt (Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Lil Wayne). But what makes Ross’ case strange, is that he happens to be enormous. Like, the polar opposite of any of his shirtless predecessors. No six-pack. No washboard chest. No nuthin’.
And you know what? Nobody cares. No outrage. No ridicule. No judgment. No nuthin’. And it’s freaking beautiful. But we also noticed that rappers like him, historically, have an ineffable talent for deflecting weight criticism (and more on them in a moment). We’d bet that nobody has ever gone up to them and told them to lose weight. For them, it just doesn’t happen the way it would with, say, an actress or a politician.
This got us to wondering what other careers are most conductive to being big, a la Rick Ross? What other kind of jobs are out there where it’s par for the course to have a little more meat on your bones? Where a person wouldn’t think twice about you being heavyset, and furthermore would actually expect you to be.
Before Rick Ross, it was Fat Joe. Before him, it was Biggie Smalls. Before him, it was Biz Markie. In between them, you have guys like Freeway, Scarface, Beanie Sigel, The Fat Boys, and Bubba Sparxxx. For some reason, rapping and heavy go together like bacon and literally anything else.
The thing is, if you have enough personality and attitude, you can mask just about any physical abnormality. Rappers have both in abundance. Biggie could’ve had wooden legs, and nobody would’ve cared.
2. Mob Bosses
For Mafiosi, being large is a sign of authority and intimidation. Even if you knew he was a mob boss, you wouldn’t be nearly as frightened of Tony Soprano if he had the same waist size as you did.
Heft just comes with the mobster territory…when the territory requires that every business meeting include massive amounts of pasta and gravy. If we had to guess, we’d think that either deciding who gets whacked takes a LOT of carbs, or nothing soothes a dirty conscience like comfort food.
Excess is intrinsically funny, whether its balloons or body shapes. Fatness and funniness are almost indelibly linked in the realm of public perception, because so many great comedians over the years have used their girth to help themselves get over as funny. Fatty Arbuckle. Jackie Gleason. John Belushi. John Candy. Chris Farley.
Heaviness and comedy are tied so closely together that when a famous comedian actually loses weight, people fear that he won’t be as funny.
4. The Computer Guy
SNL did a MASSIVE favor for all the real computer guys everywhere out there by having Jimmy Fallon play Nick Burns in their ”Computer Guy” sketches. Fallon is skinny. Most guys who work in computer equipment and technical support aren’t.
And we don’t blame them, because we’d be heavier too if our job consisted of sitting in a chair and staring at a computer screen all da — ah shit. For some reason they avoided hitting the nail right on the head by not casting Horatio Sanz to play the role.
The thing about truckers is, society doesn’t really expect them to be in shape. So why bother? It’s not like any of us would be eager to exercise, either, after being in a cab 15 hours a day with naught but steady supply of greasy, satanically-delicious gas station food to keep us warm.
The irony now is that the trucking industry, because of rising insurance costs and government health regulations, is working double-time to make its workforce healthier and trim its 86 percent obesity rate. We’re already getting ready to check this one off the 2020 revised list.
6. The Playground Bully
Girth for the playground bully is a matter of evolution. He got bigger, so his job could be easier. Average-sized bullies have to use psychological manipulation and abuse to do their thing, and that’s not as easy as just letting your mass do all your talking.
7. Security Guard
Ninety percent of a security guard’s job is just looking badass enough to convince whoever wants to mess with Justin Bieber on his way out of the arena to think twice, dickhead. Generally, you need a lot of bulk to strike a terrifying first impression on a total stranger, or knock his ass silly, or be able to toss him off the premises like Uncle Phil manhandling Jazz.
8. Sumo Wrestler
Obvious one, right? There are few groups in the word less self-conscious about having to shop at the big and tall section than sumo wrestlers. These guys jiggle their business in man thongs, and they do it for glory. Even better — they’re all flexible enough to be able to do the side splits. Swaaaaaaaaaaaaag.
9. Island Chief
Pacific Island societies embrace largess like no others on Earth. Tongan, Samoan, Tahitian, and Maorian cultures all more or less revere girth as a sign of prosperity and a marker of social status, antithetical to pretty much everything we mainlanders have been taught. It’s like they collectively read what models go through to look skinny before a fashion show and said “yeah… eff that.”
It’s only natural that the guy that’s most prosperous and has the highest social status—the chief—is going to be, well, large.
10. NFL Lineman
Any second now, these guys will pass sumo wrestler as the heaviest profession on the planet. They live by the bigger-is-better mantra. They don’t have a choice. Their job is to push people around and take up space.
They’ve always been, by nature of their craft, proportionally larger than the average American male. And now that the average American male himself has about doubled in mass in the last 30 years, lineman have followed suit. This is why Terrence Cody’s man-boobs are bigger than half of every set of real boobs.
11. Asshole Gym Teacher
Of course not all gym teachers are obese. Just the ones who are assholes, it seems. Remember John Goodman in Revenge of the Nerds? Yeah, that’s basically who we’re talking about. Asshole Gym Teacher rides a golf cart around the track while everybody else is running laps. Or maybe our elementary school experience was a tad different from yours.
12. Soul Food Cook
Fried chicken. Fried catfish. Mac n’ cheese. Cornbread. Hushpuppies. Nobody — not you, not me — has enough resolve to NOT fatten up on soul food if they’re cooking it all the time.
We can thank South Park and the actual movie Soul Food for really bringing to life the archtype of the heavyset soul food cook. Because of them, if you walked into a soul food restaurant, you’d be surprised if whoever was making your plate didn’t look like either Chef or Big Mama.