Sunday, September 16, 2012

10,000 steps, 10,000 hours, 0 patience

They say to be healthy you should walk 10,000 steps a day, although good luck trying to find out who "they" is. Perhaps "they" are out on that daily five mile walk.

They also say you should drink 10 eight-ounce glasses of water a day to be healthy. So maybe "they" are just in the bathroom.

The experts who put out this kind of advice are elusive. I have often wondered, in fact, if they are red pandas.

They say you should do a crossword puzzle every day, so your brain does not become addled as you age. (As if a crossword puzzle could possibly counteract the effects of all those political ads, not to mention "Jersey Shore.")

If you don't like crossword puzzles, they say, you can do a Sudoku, which is like a crossword puzzle for people easily irritated by demands for nine-letter words describing Charlotte Bronte's heroines.

They say you have to practice a thing 10,000 hours in order to master it. That is an awfully convenient, round number, a clear tip-off that it is nonsense, along with the 10,000 steps a day and the 10 glasses of water.

Arbitrary, repeatable hokum.

I would like the job of proclaiming how long a person needs to do something to be healthy/masterful/swell. In fact, I will claim that job right now.

Please post my proclamations to all social media far and wide:

In order to be healthy, a person needs to own 10 dogs in his lifetime. At least 51% of them must be brown. Otherwise it doesn't work.

To retain a supple skin, a person needs to exfoliate biweekly with a mixture of Coca-Cola, cucumber paste and whipped salmon. Rub this in using counter-clockwise motions only, for a period of one minute or until the flies become unbearable.

In order to retain mental sharpness, a person must entirely forego screens of any type, be they computer, television or smart phone, one day per week, using that time to read at least 50 pages from a book (minimum reading level, Sue Grafton, "A is for Alibi.")

Everyone everywhere must eat 20 pitted black olives per day. This ensures excellent digestion as well as entertainment, if you place them on your fingers first and make them "talk."

Ignore these rules at the peril of your sanity, health and longevity. Hey, and while you're on your long walk today, somebody bring me by a pizza, O.K.?

. . .