By: Mary Fran Bontempo

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MP900177898It’s been a subtle transition, no grand pronouncements, no obvious plan to weed them out, but it is happening, none the less.Mediums are disappearing.

Given society’s tendency to opt for extremes in almost every area of life, no one should be surprised. Medium implies ordinary, and heaven forbid we settle for any of that. But now that they’re less and less available, I miss mediums.

Mediums allow one to forgo making decisions.  “I’ll take a medium, please,” is one less thing I have to think about.  Will a small be too little?  Can I really drink that large soda?  Yet, just try getting a medium drink at a local movie theater.  “We don’t have mediums.  Just small and large.” 

At least it used to be small and large. Last weekend, I attended an Imax showing of The Wizard of Oz at a local theater (which was amazing, by the way). I was alone, by design—nothing says awesome Saturday afternoon like a middle-aged woman sitting in a theater by herself watching a classic movie, and I mean that—and was really looking forward to a soda and popcorn to go along with the film.

Given that combos are usually cheaper, I asked the girl at the concession for a medium combo.

 “We don’t have medium combos. Just extra small and large.”

“Extra small? How big is that?” I asked, at which point she proceeded to show me the teeniest, tiniest bag of popcorn I’ve ever seen. “Why would anybody even order that?” I muttered to myself, shaking my head. “Fine, just give me a large,” I said. Thirteen dollars and ninety-five cents later, the young lady handed me a bucket of soda accompanied by a suitcase-sized bag of popcorn.

I trudged into the theater, precariously balancing my treats and barely getting to my seat without spilling. Mindlessly sipping away, I had to pee before the movie even started, but didn’t, not wanting to leave food unattended at my seat, making for a slightly uncomfortable two hours accompanied by lots of leg crossing.

When I finally did make it to the bathroom, lugging what was left of my snacks, I spilled the remaining soda all over myself as I juggled a now soggy giant cup while trying to wash my hands.

A medium sized order of everything would have solved my problems before they started. I could have managed and likely finished a medium soda and eaten a reasonably-sized bag of popcorn. As it was, I left the theater stuffed, soggy and feeling a little sick, after two hours of mindless eating and drinking.

Is it any wonder that obesity and diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S.? I’m not one to advocate the government regulating the minutiae of my life, but kudos to New York Mayor Bloomberg for trying to ban the sale of super-sized sodas, and thanks to Michele Obama for urging us all to drink more water.

Of course, all of this revolves around the almighty dollar and the oddly American notion that you can never have too much of a good thing. Why would anyone want a small or medium when you can have a large? More has to be better, right? Well, it certainly is for those padding their pockets by taking away less expensive options like mediums.

Well, I’ve had enough.  I am a medium-lover and proud of it. There’s something to be said for taking the middle of the road once in a while.  By adhering to the adage, “Everything in moderation,” we could all save ourselves a lot of calories as well as cash. 

 Let’s resurrect the lowly medium. Because when it comes to massive quantities of junk food, less is most definitely more.

What’s your take on the disappearing medium? Click “comments” below and share!