Lame Adventure 327: Going for the Gold in Inactivity

Now that the Thirtieth Olympiad is underway, I blew most of my weekend watching the games in a hypnotic state and doing little else.  I had planned to see my buddy, Coco, on Saturday.  That visit surely would have entailed copious glass lifting and draining while shifting my game-watching venue to her TV.  When I ventured outside for bottled water I got caught in a downpour. My Jack Purcell badminton shoes got wet.  I did not want to venture out into the elements again so I canceled. I returned my attention to my TV where I watched scantily clad women play beach volleyball and embrace each other following every kill. This is an event I find exciting on many levels.

When I was younger and possibly more demented than I am now, thanks to a habit of inhaling, I used to fantasize about competing in the Olympics myself.  This fantasy was misguided since I cannot swim, I’ve never taken gymnastics, I’m allergic to horses, I’m not a fast runner, I take after my mother in archery i.e., I could shoot an arrow into the sky and miss, I’m too scrawny to lift weights, I have an aversion to sharp objects ruling out fencing, I lack the gun-shooting gene, judo has no appeal, so what’s left — competitive whining about the absence of an event to suit Olympic misfit me?

Actually there is one athletic activity I loved back in the day and that was cycling.  I discovered my affinity for bike riding when I attended an eight-week film program at Stanford in summer 1979.  I realize now that pumping the pedals hard to avoid being late for class is not the same as cycling the Tour de France, much less competing for Olympic gold.  At this stage in life I no longer harbor any personal Olympic fantasies.  After watching the endurance test that was Friday’s opening ceremonies I needed ten hours sleep and had to pop two Aleve upon waking I felt so stiff.

Earlier this month I read an article in The New York Times written by Gretchen Reynolds called “The Couch Potato Goes Global”.  Coincidentally I was sitting and eating ginger snap cookies while reading:

“… [T]he total combined weight of human beings on Earth now exceed[s] 287 million tons. About 3.5 million tons of that global human biomass is due to obesity, a third of which exists in North America, although we account for only 6 percent of the world’s population.”

I stopped eating cookies shortly after reading that, but resisted sticking my fingers down my throat.  Hey, they were good cookies. The article went on to discuss research conducted by the World Health Organization about global activity.  They discovered:

“The latest figures suggest that the world’s population has become disturbingly inactive. According to the researchers’ calculations, 31.1 percent of the world’s adults, or about 1.5 billion people, are almost completely sedentary, meaning that they do not meet the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes of walking or other moderate activity per week, or about 20 minutes a day.”

This made me feel a tad guilty about being an armchair athlete all weekend so I worked up a sweat doing masochistic house cleaning.  I scrubbed my bathroom floor with a toothbrush.  Afterward, I resumed watching the Olympics.  During a commercial break I checked out a tool that the BBC posted online that lets users compare their biomass with people in their age groups from other nations.  Much to my relief I discovered that mine is equal to women my age that reside in Vietnam.  This factoid could be convenient if I ever need to pursue a new romantic partner.  I’m confident that I can reel her in by revealing that my Body Mass Index is the same as a grandmother in Southeast Asia.

Here are my Global Fat Scale results.

I can finish eating my cookies!

There are nine nations with women my age with a lighter biomass than me.  They probably cycle and scrub their bathroom floors with toothbrushes.

If you dare, you can check out where your biomass fits in amongst 177 nations by clicking here.  Be forewarned American readers, the US ranks eleventh on the Global Fat Scale.  The mean BMI in the US is 30.46; not an Olympic-worthy feat especially when the medal that’s awarded to inactivity is early rainbow catching.

43 responses to “Lame Adventure 327: Going for the Gold in Inactivity

  1. V,
    “I discovered my affinity for bike riding when I attended an eight-week film program at Stanford in summer 1979…” … Wait… You’re not 15?
    Le Clown


  2. Great to see that couch potatoness is going global! Meanwhile, consider dreaming about being a solo synchronized swimmer.


  3. many many moons ago, i was once on the diving track. then, i got too tall and hit my head one too many times on the springboard.
    But all is not lost–over the weekend i medaled in bitching and eye rolling. both gold, of course. i beat out the chinese in both. Go USA, maybe.


  4. My BMI is most like somebody in Oman. ……

    That might change if I swam and walked to get there to find out what the place is like. If it’s one of those sultanates where everybody’s rich, that might be OK.


  5. You’re WAAYYYYYY braver than I am. There’s no way I’m checking out my BMI. Nope. Not happening. Never ever ever ever ever.


  6. However, if they ever introduce synchronized hot dog eating as an Olympic sport, I am SO there.


  7. Love the activity proposed in the comments above. Suppose it’s been an interesting morning for you.

    At any rate, just thought you should know that Vietnam is also considering legalizing gay marriage, so you could even marry a woman who matches you in terms of body mass. Personally——I have NO desire to know my body mass. Igornance is blissfully fat———ish. I used to be lean, lean, lean. Now not exactly fat–but, certainly, not lean either. Pass ME the ginger snaps!

    Happy Monday, my friend. And behave!


    • Interesting that even Vietnam is more enlightened than the Bluegrass State. You must love that. Thanks for sharing that. I rely on my readership for their add-ons to these educational posts. No ginger snaps until you suck it up and check out your BMI. (not) Under Ling (anymore)* did her homework. She’s a 19 on the Global Fat Scale. That translates as only being visible to family, friends and colleagues. I’m rewarding her with pizza, cake, and a brick of cheese. She earned it.

      * Name may change hopefully soon if we can ever think of a better one.


  8. It’s good to be like Vietnam, don’t you find? Clearly your stringent fantasy-fitness regime is paying off. Keep up the good work.


  9. …now I’m worried about the planet hurtling itself into the universe because it’s too heavy for whatever holds it up to hold it up anymore.


    • Tas, as usual, you raise an extremely intelligent point for someone almost half my age, but I will admit, twice my intellect. Rather than hurtling itself into the universe the planet being so fat-heavy might just collide into some “rogue planet” as it did in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, my favorite film of 2011. NASA should hire you immediately.


  10. Snoring Dog Studio

    Frankly, my dismount from the sofa each night after I watch the Olympics, is quite impressive. Close to a perfect score, really. I just can’t bring myself to look at the BMI scale thing. I had to look at some recent photos of myself the other day, and my BigMassiveInches are still clinging to my thighs no matter how much I do to dislodge it.


    • Dismount from the sofa — that’s great, but what’s even better is knowing that you have mastered sticking the landing. As far as the BMI torture goes, one of my former colleagues was big on saying, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” You have a big brain SDS.


  11. Grandmother in Southeast Asia huh? Apparently I’m most like someone in Swaziland … I had to look it up. But at least I have a lower BMI than 76 percent of the people in the States … well at least in my age range 🙂 Funny post as always 🙂


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