Sunday, May 13, 2012


"Lately, every night, I find myself asking the same question. Who is this old woman who lives in my house? Why is it that every little thing she does irritates me? Like the way she gets the keys out of her purse long before we reach the car. And how she throws our money away on her ridiculous little collections. And tossing out perfectly good food just because the expiration date has passed. And her obsession, her obsession with trying new restaurants. And the way she cuts me off when I try to speak. And I hate the way she sits and the way she smells. For years now, she has insisted that I sit when I urinate. My promise to lift the seat and wipe the rim and put the seat back down wasn't good enough for her! No!" (Jack Nicholson, in About Schmidt)

I need to work on my sitting.   What do I mean by that?   I mean two things.  First, I have to make a conscious effort to sit down properly.   People tend to start to sit down, and then, about a foot above the chair, just give up, and flop down with a big "oomph!" as June Squibb did in About Schmidt.

This is hard on chairs (and your car seats) and it is very hard on your spine.   Do this for 30 years, and you will have a compressed disc.   Why do people do this?  Obesity, lack of exercise, lack of muscle tone, laziness.  It gets harder, as you get older, to slowly sit down, that last foot or so - and equally as hard to get up!

For elderly people, they make assisted chairs to push you up that first foot or so, or let you down the same amount.

Try it sometime - monitor the way you sit.   You may be surprised to see that you doing the June Squibb "flop" onto your favorite chair - and damaging your body, over time.   Not to mention the chair.   It takes effort to sit down properly - and it will cause some sharp pains in some muscles you haven't used lately.   But in the long run it is better for you.

The second part of sitting, is, well, doing less of it.   It turns out that sitting is horribly, horribly bad for you.  On a recent segment of Terry Gross, a guest noted:
"Sitting for long periods of time — when you don't stand up, don't move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles," says Reynolds. "You stop breaking up fat in your bloodstream, you start getting accumulations of fat ... in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you're moving."
Ouch.   So you can see that the current obesity epidemic is only in part caused by our horrible diet and over-eating.   Lack of exercise and sitting too much is the other half.   We have machines to do our walking for us, and if you become so immobilized that you can't walk anymore, you get a little electric cart to ride around in - accelerating the whole process.

Mr. Burns:   "Ahhhh... Sitting!  The great leveller!  From the mightiest Pharaoh, to the lowliest peasant, who doesn't enjoy a good sit!"

Homer:  "You got that right!"
Sitting is necessary, of course.   But much of our modern life revolves around sitting - sitting in school, sitting on a bus, sitting in a car, sitting at work, sitting on the sofa watching television - sitting in front of the computer.

It will kill you, over time, and make you horribly fat and unhealthy.   And if you flop into your chair, you will have spinal problems, over time - or aggravate existing problems.

So, I have to work on my sitting.   Sitting properly, and sitting less.