Louisville is fat. I tried to find out why. This story appears in the January 2012 issue of Louisville Magazine.
It’s still dark when Chris Cooper, 52, steps out of her house in west Louisville. It’s a Saturday morning in September, and she is Market Street’s only pedestrian, striding past the lime green Get It candy store, with its hand-made sign announcing, “Now Ecepting Credit + Debit.”
A block behind her house, a man carries a scarred baseball bat to walk his dog in the moonless predawn. Cooper does not bother with a weapon. She will walk where she wants to walk, when she wants to walk, and will fear no evil. She is out there every morning on the weekends, and every evening during the week, walking.
Cooper, swaddled in layers against the morning chill, is six feet tall and given to gospel-sermon soliloquies in which her natural contralto soars to a helium-tinged soprano. Her voice dances through the lower end of her register as she explains her motivation to become a dedicated walker. “The obesity rate is ridiculous. Then I went to the doctor. He had the nerve to tell me I was obese. ‘Chris, as bad as that sounds, you would be considered obese.’
“Well, I got an attitude,” she growls, “a real bad attitude. ‘Cause I’m thinking I’m cute!” she says, sliding to the top of the scale at the word “cute.”
“And I’m overweight!” She’s breaking glass.
She’s certainly not alone.