Multifactor analysis

Elodie Under Glass (no relation) has a guest post up at Captain Awkward about dealing with family members with disabilities/when you have a disability. You should read the whole thing and the comments, because it lives up to CA’s high standards, but here’s the thread I want to talk about: one LW owns a house that is unable to accommodate her disabled father comfortably. It’s three stories, no elevator, no bathroom on the ground floor, and she doesn’t have a good bed to offer him. He has MS. Some people viewed her choice of house as a failure to accommodate her father properly. Others pointed out that it’s quite possible she couldn’t afford a disability-friendly house, or the renovations necessary to make it so. One commenter went so far as to say:

The people replying to you rightfully take issue with your snide implication that the LW should have just bought a smaller house- which has no correlation to price of house.

Which is clearly bullshit.  It is true that size is not the only determinant of the price of a house.  It may even be true that in a particular set of houses (one that sampled over a wide geography, time, condition, and set of amenities), price and size are not particularly predictive of each other.  But if you hold those others factors constant, size is strongly positively correlated with price. So while I do believe people should get off the LW’s case about buying a house that couldn’t accommodate her father, for lots of reasons, I think saying there’s nothing she could have done to accommodate him is wrong.

This is actually a pretty good metaphor for weight, if houses actively fucked with you to maintain their price within a set range. Build an addition to your house?  Black mold. Hog rendering plant built upwind?  Enjoy your newly refinished basement.  Eat less fewer calories?  Enjoy catching twice as many colds this year.  Eat more calories?  Never stop fidgeting.  Weight is not beyond our influence, but neither is it completely in our control.

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