Metabo Okinawa was crestfallen when he returned to his cubicle. Recalling the conversation that he just had in the office of his supervisor, Hosoi Honshu, he stared blankly at the termination order lying on the desk.
Hosoi: Okinawa-san, I regret to inform you that your employment in Geisha, Inc. will be terminated, effective this afternoon. I am sorry.
Metabo [in a shocked voice]: Honshu-san, I don't understand. You spoke so highly of me just last month in our weekly team performance review meeting.
Hosoi: Unfortunately, the circumferences... I mean the circumstances... have changed since then. It's now beyond... control.
Metabo: But, I have been exceeding your expectations consistently every week over the last year...
Hosoi: In this circumference... sumi masen... [knocking on his head] I mean circumstance... that precisely is the problem.
Metabo: How can that be, Honshu-san?
Hosoi: Small is beautiful, Metabo-san. You don't seem to have heeded the sane advice of our ancestors. It has come to our notice that your waistline now measures 34 in. Surely, you are aware that our government has limited it to 33.5 in.
Metabo: Yurushite kudasai, Honshu-san. Please give me another chance. I'll eat sea weed, grass, anything you want me to do to reduce my waistline below the limit. Please don't fire me, lest my children's waistline should fall below the minimum limit.
Hosoi: There is no minimum limit, Metabo-san. Please try to understand. We have given you more than adequate time to rehabilitate yourself. Our company can no longer afford to retain you and risk billions of yens in penalty. [Bowing as much as his waistline would allow him] Please forgive us! Arigato gozaimashta, thank you very much! Sayonara, Metabo-san!
[Japan has undertaken an aggressive campaign to fight obesity, and slim down its citizenry. Businesses have been ordered to to get 10 percent of those deemed metabolic the preferred word for the overweight in Japan to lose weight by 2012, and 25 percent of them to lose weight by 2015. For reasons that are beyond this fool's limited cerebral capacity, the Japanese seem to think that this plan is better than Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's, that would make those 75 and older pay more for health care.]
Hat tip to firstname.lastname@example.org for the emailed story from the New York Times.