Wineskins Archive

February 11, 2014

Be Careful; They are Biggering You! (Jul-Aug 2002)

Filed under: — @ 5:27 pm and

by Mark Moore
July – August, 2002

The assault began before I ever got out of the airport. They were attempting to bigger me.

I’d been away from America for more than a year, and I wanted a Starbucks coffee to celebrate my arrival home. I squinted as I tried to shake off jetlag and decipher the menu. It had abandoned traditional English terms like small, medium, and large for terms like Tall, Grande and Venti. “What’s a Grande?,” I asked as I tried to decide. “Is it bigger than a tall?” It sounded big. I wanted big. More importantly, Starbucks wanted me to go bigger! My fellow Americans in the coffee shop wanted me to go bigger . I almost expected a chorus of boos as I chose a measly tall. I didn’t mean to let them down, I just didn’t have $3.95 for the Grande latte. Embarrassed, I slipped out of the bustling shop. No one said it, but I could hear their thoughts, “What kind of sissy drinks only twenty ounces of coffee?”

I was in that airport Starbucks because I had just arrived in America for yet another visit. My family and I have been living in Uganda, East Africa for the last seven years, so visits to America are rather infrequent. We love our trips home to the States; in fact each trip is eagerly anticipated for months. This last trip, however, we noticed the conspiracy. We realized we were targets of a thinly veiled attempt to be biggered.

Out of the airport and onto the streets, within seconds we were biggered again. A Cadillac Escalade, driven impatiently by a smallish, middle-aged lady, threatened to crowd us out of our lane. I couldn’t see through the slightly tinted windows very well, but I’m sure she was drinking a Venti. She peered down at us in traffic. Her factory-issued monster tires roared as she sped past.

She wasn’t the only one biggering. Traffic seemed to be full of them. It seemed no one is content to explore or blaze in yesteryear’s Explorers or Blazers. Trips to the grocery store are now colossal Expeditions and Excursions. Those four blocks to the local Kmart now have to be Navigated in cavernous Lincolns! Could it be that those navigators of Navigators had been biggered without even knowing it? It appeared that way, but I thought it unlikely. After all, Americans are intelligent people. Surely they were aware, and if they were aware then it meant they were part of the conspiracy to bigger us as well. Big four wheel drives, big gulps, Super Big Meal Deals…even the clothing in the mall had tags like XXXXL! Why hadn’t I noticed this before!

A few days into our trip it happened again. Someone slipped up again and accidentally let us in on the conspiracy to bigger us. “Would you like to super size that?” said the chipper young lady behind the McDonalds’ counter. I had heard this before in years past, but then I was ignorant, unaware of the big-brother agenda of biggering. Now I was on to them, and like a man running scared in a Ray Bradbury book, I felt a strange paranoia. My mind raced. Super size a big Mac and large fries! Should I really eat the equivalent of five whole fried potatoes for lunch? Did my body need 48 ounces of Coke? “That’s six bottles of coke back in Uganda,” my wife reminded me. “No thanks,” I replied. Then I glanced up at the board and noticed there was actually another level beyond supersize! I felt so…ugh, well, so small. I didn’t actually hear them whispering back at the french-fry machine, but I think they placed a call to the head office. “He didn’t bigger… should we follow him?”

Truth is, they didn’t have to follow me, I was slowly giving in. The insidious thing about biggering is that it quietly wears you down until you begin believing that you, too, need to be on the biggering bandwagon. I found myself stopping to look at a used, late-model Chevy Suburban…just to see if our family of five might need one when we move to the States in a couple of years. “Think it’s big enough?” I asked my brother. He wasn’t sure, but he did tell me about the new Ford pickup that has just been released. It’s the biggest ever! I decided to wait on buying the Suburban…it was looking more and more like a wimpy, cramped, compact car anyway. Besides the engine had far less than the necessary ten cylinders.

After several weeks in the United States, I squeezed snuggly into my coach, British Airways seat and zoomed out into international airspace where the American laws of biggering do not apply. The flight attendant came around with those teeny tiny coke cans. It would take at least six or seven of them to whet my biggered appetite; she raised an eyebrow when I asked for two. Now we are back in our home country of Uganda where everyone is far too busy surviving Africa (as opposed to watching a show about surviving on television) to be concerned with biggering. I’ll probably drink a six ounce cup of Ugandan coffee today, and when I am finished I’ll almost certainly wish there was one more sip. I might even leave wanting more.

Won’t that be Grande?New Wineskins

Mark Moore lives in Uganda, East Africa with his wife Marnie and three boys Benjamin, Grady and Cooper. They have served there as missionaries since 1994.


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