Healthy living, as seemingly defined by societal norms, is best achieved through a combination of diet and regular exercise and is manifested in a fit and toned body. I would submit to you that a truly healthy body is best attained by the simple avoidance of those things that can most easily cause it harm. I am convinced that I alone hold the real secrets to avoiding and repelling the incessant attacks of germs, viruses and harmful bacteria upon the human body. If you were fortunate enough to be able to see me (some of you are, with regularity; stunning, I know, and there is no charge), you might question my ability to ward off sickness of any kind and therefore be somewhat hesitant to believe what I’m going to tell you.
I’m a big guy, around six foot two and two hundred and thirty pounds. There are a few guys with those statistics who look amazing, but they are all physically active and most lift weights. I’m one of them; I am physically active, in that I am usually moving in some respect: while lying down, I resort, unfailingly, to reaching for and scratching some nether region and, even when I do manage to stay relatively still, my chest still tends to rise and fall rhythmically. (Mostly). Even while sleeping, I tend to thrash around quite a bit; literally, I am a man on the go. Also, I lift weights every day: each morning, I dead-lift the same two hundred thirty pounds (often with great difficulty and cracking of bones) whilst getting out of bed, followed by squatting and dead-lifting two hundred thirty pounds again, plus newspaper, during my morning constitution. During my day, I will lift the same weight countless times off of various chairs, benches and couches. By day’s end I’ve easily lifted and transported several tons. Frankly, I’m astounded that my physique belies my obvious and considerable strength.
I don’t eat particularly well; again, as measured by the standards imposed by society (I eat better than most, at least in a purely physical sense, with great focus and stamina). My favorite foods tend to present themselves in shades of brown and are enhanced to near perfection with chemicals and preservatives. Foods that offer brighter colors tend to be from the dirt and therefore inedible, unless they are sweet; there are few exceptions. I get my vitamins from vitamins, when I remember to take them; my calcium I store in ample supply in various joints and my kidneys; and my minerals I drink directly from the tap.
And yet, despite all my apparent indiscretions with respect to diet and exercise, I almost never get sick. I remain a temple to good health, at least with respect to my body’s ability to repel germs, viruses and infection. On the rare occasion that I do get a cold, it is a minor inconvenience at worst, whereas the same virus in another, lesser man would render him whiny and bedridden for a week or more. I haven’t thrown up since college (almost thirty years), and even then it had nothing to do with contracted illness. How do I do it? (Thanks for asking). Through fifty-one years of trial and error. I have transformed my body into a veritable fortress, complete with thick, impenetrable walls and manned with vicious, uncompromising warriors ready and anxious to repel any potential invader. Utilizing a combination of extreme caution with respect to germ exposure and the rendering of my body as an undesirable environment for invasion, I stand before you today a veritable pillar of health. Because I don’t want to be alone should the next super flu be the real deal, I offer you now the main tenets of The Struggler’s Guide to Healthy Living:
1) Regard every shared surface with suspicion. Next time you’re in a public place, watch what people do. Nose picking, dandruff scratching, wedgie pulling, coughing and sneezing into hands – all are common practices and involve the hands, which are then used to open doors, lift ladles at buffets and grope armrests at movie theatres. Therefore, handles, knobs, shared utensils and seats are each throbbing dance floors rife with sweaty, undulating pestilential germs. If you come in contact with any common surface, touch nothing on your own person – especially don’t pick your own nose – until you can wash your hands.
2) Wait for someone else to open the door to a public restroom; use the back of his shirt to hold the door open should it close too fast. (Shrug your shoulders, tilt your head to one side and raise your eyebrows as if to say “How did that happen?” in the event that he takes offense). If you simply can’t wait, use your own shirt, but remember that the affected quadrant is untouchable until you’re able to change. Avoid the stalls whenever possible, as terrible things occur in them; however, if you’ve no choice, raise or lower the lid with your shoe. Afterwards, wash your hands well, but air dry, because the paper towel dispenser is lever controlled and then you’ll have to start over.
3) Stay away from hospitals. They are full of sick people, many of whom are expelling germ-ridden snot, vomit and/or poo in violent and explosive fashion. Those left to tend to the horrifying scene, understandably distraught over their horrid lot in life, invariably show a lesser duty of care than the situation demands and as a result transport remnants teeming with bacteria wherever they go. If a loved one is in the hospital, send a card, flowers and your regrets. If they love you, they’ll understand; if they don’t, why visit in the first place, and in any event they may contract MRSA and not make it out anyway.
4) Regard every hand sanitizer dispensary as a sign from God. On those rare occasions when I’m forced to enter a care facility’s doors in order to feign my concern for the infirmed, I’ll take a squirt from every bottle I see, and while walking between them hold my hands up, palms facing in, like a surgeon who has just scrubbed for an operation.
5) Implore those around you to act with the same duty of care. The girls on my basketball teams are required to sanitize their hands before and after practice. Without it, that basketball looks to me like a planet-turned leper colony, hurtling through space and ready to infect anyone with whom it comes into contact. They think I’m nuts, but they can thank me after they’ve contracted only five winter head colds instead of the normal nine. Besides, I have to touch that ball too.
6) Eat heavy, deep-fried, carb and starch laden foods. These are the foundations of my diet and have served well to help repel any attack on my body. Germs are just like the rest of us: would you rather vacation in Yuma, Arizona, or in Aruba? We all want to stay in a Windham resort, not the What Did You Step Inn; germs are no different. Some might argue that those who eat healthy have a higher white blood cell count. Big deal. They may have numbers, but my germ fighters are groin-kicking, eye-gouging, hairy-backed, brown-toothed Mongol warriors, battle tested and fearful of no one.
7) Always maintain a measurable blood/alcohol content. Think about it: what do they put on that cotton swab to kill germs before giving you a shot? Infections spread through your blood stream; why not have a little alcohol in there to help quickly kill off any infiltrators? Any general will tell you that if you want an army to fight hard, you have to let them play hard. My Mongols are a happy lot. Warning: too high a blood/alcohol content can cause one to discount or even ignore tenets one and two, and taken to extreme may make one more susceptible to breaking rule three.
There you have it: my secrets to healthy living. I suppose there could be some validity to the claim that poor dietary choices and lack of exercise might take some years off my life, but I feel my heightened awareness of the unseen dangers in this world compensates more than adequately. If I do lose a few years, they’re the last ones and likely of lesser quality than the rest. Until then, I will remain vigilant with respect to pestilence, indiscriminate in terms of consumption, and as a result continue to enjoy the fruits of a truly healthy life.