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Standing Up For Sitting

June 7, 2009

chairphotoSomeone needs to explain to the news outlets in this country that the doctors are just kidding.  Because I don’t think they get the joke.

Every once in a while, in between golf games, the medical establishment gets bored and cranky and decides to look for something to do that’s more fun than, say, conducting their routine colonoscopies using Freon tubing from the office refrigerator (“You may feel a slight chill, Mr. Fahrquar…”)  I can understand their bitterness;  a career in medicine isn’t what it used to be.  Before medicine became an industry, people who studied to become doctors could look forward to a high degree of respect from others, a comfortable level of financial stability, and preferential treatment as far as tee times were concerned.  So it’s not at all surprising that these doctors have banded together to look for non-financial remuneration in the form of playing pranks on the press.

When the colonoscopy thing gets stale, the medical establishment goes in search of even greater entertainment by seeing which wackadoo factoid they can make the press buy into before the general public catches on.  Then, when the initial hysteria starts to die down, they up the fun by conducting a press conference featuring a group of concerned-looking, white lab coat-wearing doctors, who elbow each other in the ribs in an attempt to keep a straight face and proceed to make an announcement that not only contradicts the original wackadoo factoid, but also scares the stuffing out of everyone within hearing range.

Nothing gives these doctors more pleasure than watching news journalists trying to explain themselves: “In a follow-up to yesterday’s story about health care, the Surgeon General has announced today that the leading cause of cancer in this country is NOT, as we reported, recycling.   We regret any confusion this may have caused.  The ACTUAL cause of cancer, according to the American Medical Association, is a giant asteroid from the Planet Zax that is headed this way.  EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!”

This is the sort of thing that makes doctors absolutely wet themselves, and medical schools across the country are actually debating making this practice a part of the Hippocratic Oath:

Medical School Dean: Graduates, please repeat after me:  “First, I shall do no harm”.

Graduates: First, we shall do no harm….

Medical School Dean: “Second, laughter being the best medicine, I shall look for ways to stick it to the press…”

One of the reasons they can get away with this is because they know darn well that they’re smarter than the rest of us.  Still bitter because they had to stay in school longer than anybody else they know, they take it out on us by issuing research reports that are so confusing there is no way any sane person could understand them.  These reports contain many complicated Latin words and advanced statistical terms such as “nonhypotenuse regression factors” and “logorhythmic variance parameters” which, if you’re like me, are both meaningless and frightening because you (and by that I mean me) were too busy in college experimenting with various adult beverages to actually attend a math class.   Consequently, I depend on mainstream news organizations to interpret these reports for me so I can make intelligent, well-informed decisions about exactly how little exercise I really have to do to remain clinically not dead.

Unfortunately, it seems as if we’re screwed no matter what we do.  I say this because of an article that appeared recently in The Los Angeles Times, which reported the results of a study conducted by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute in Ottawa.  This study followed the lifestyle habits of a large group of Canadians, ages 18 to 90 for 12 years, and, among other things, asked them to rate how long each day they spent sitting down.  At the end of the study, some of the people had died, of course, and, seeing a fabulous opportunity for some fun, the doctors responsible for the study told the press THAT THAT WAS WHAT HAD KILLED THEM. And the press printed it.  In fact, the headline I’m looking at right now reads, “Sitting Kills Even Those Who Exercise”.

This is alarming to me for two reasons.   For one thing, it means that the press has just completely stopped paying attention.   I’m not a great mathematician, but if some of these people started the study when they were 90 and participated all 12 years, my conclusion would not be that they died from sitting.  My conclusion — and this is just a guess — would be that they died from being 102.

Secondly, I’m rather fond of sitting, and we all know what will happen when the government gets hold of this information. Working from the theory that we are all a bunch of nimrods who can’t take care of ourselves, our fearless leaders think nothing of regulating any activity that they are told might be dangerous, and who knows where that could lead?  Following the impressive logic that our government is known for, it’s only a matter of time before chairs are banned altogether (“I’m sorry, Mrs. Needleman, but your Barcalounger has been confiscated…”)

I say we don’t take this sitting down.  Stand up for your right to sit!  Stage a sit-in!  Write to your local representatives!  I’ll be sitting here, waiting for you to come back.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fran Passik permalink
    June 7, 2009 8:47 PM

    If they want to confiscate my seats, they’ll have to bring a huge truck, and burglary equipment to get through my three locks!

  2. June 7, 2009 1:50 PM

    You can have my chair when you peel it from my cold, dead, buttcheeks.

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