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DATE 4/30/02

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Snotty Suburban Community Evicts Fat Kid

PLEASANTON, Calif. (DPI) - The residents of Babbling Pools, an upscale suburb of this northern California town, have evicted a fat kid after he failed to meet the new architectural controls governing the appearance of children. Nine-year-old Clayton Berber is 4 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 86 pounds. While he is of average height for his age, his weight exceeds the newly adopted standard by 20 pounds. The bylaw was hastily passed after several residents filed formal complaints stating how Clayton's lumbering physique clashed with the appearance of the other children when they played together. "He stuck out like a sore thumb," said Community Association President Marla Hewart as she carefully measured the height of a neighbor's Sharper Image mailbox.

Clayton's parents consulted a leading San Francisco plastic surgeon about liposuction. The doctor determined the boy was not really fat, just husky. Removing 20 pounds would jeopardize his health, so surgery was ruled out. "Husky. Fat. Its all just semantics. We really had no option," Hewart sighed as she held a paint wheel of approved colors up to another resident's picket fence.

Clayton's parents say they have mixed feelings over their son's departure. "In one way, I am sad to see him go," said a reflective Mrs. Berber as she carefully trimmed a Jackmanii clematis while consulting her BP bylaw handbook on vine protocols. "On the other hand, we decided to move here because everything is just so perfect. I'm sorry Clayton didn't fit in." Young Clayton is now living with his aunt and uncle in nearby Walnut Creek. Their neighborhood has no architectural controls on either homes or children. "He's settling in nicely," says his uncle, "although he does seem to be afraid of that garden gnome in my yard."

(Reported by Brad Osberg)

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