Oh, good. It’s the Health & Fitness Issue. Awesome. And timely!
Are we really going to go through this again?
No, really. Listen: by “this,” I’m not referring directly to Creative Loafing’s Health & Fitness Issue. That would be rude. What I’m referring to, is bothering to talk about health and fitness, certainly as Americans and probably as members of the human race in general, at all.
What’s the point? We know, like, four things about health. And we’re not even too sure about those four things, either. Move around, but not too vigorously. Get plenty of sleep, but not too much. Avoid germs, except for the ones that are beneficial, and there are tons of those. Habitually putting some poisons into your body will definitely kill you, unless you’re one of those people whose bodies just seem to put up with it.
That, seriously, is it. Everything we thought we knew about health 20 years ago has been disproven, and everything we think we know about health today will eventually be disproven, too — and probably re-proven again at some point down the road. Is coffee still good for you? Is red wine? Didn’t they figure out that a gluten-free diet could be dangerous? Like Atkins? Atkins was healthy once, right? Didn’t 17 models perish in a tragic group cleanse gone wrong just this past September? What’s the deal with sodium? Some people say sodium is a killer, but Alton Brown doesn’t seem to think so, and neither do my taste buds. Come on, medical science, this is important to me. Where are we landing on sodium?
And the entire concept of fitness is much, much worse. At least health is about trying to figure out how to keep people from dropping dead. “Fitness” is a lie. “Fitness” purports to be about your health, and your quality of life, and your self-esteem. But that’s bullshit. “Fitness” is a treacherous, hypocritical irony whose true definition is the exact opposite of the one intended by most who invoke it.
Fitness means this: Psst. Other people are looking more like the arbitrary ideal than you. Are you going to kill yourself, or do something about it?
It’s just some made-up concept of perfection designed to prop up an industry dedicated to shaming you into spending a ton of money. And while most made-up holidays designed to manipulate your emotions only get 24 hours, “fitness” gets every minute of every day — but it really gorges itself on your negative feelings during the last two weeks of the outgoing year, and the first two weeks of the new one.
Health? Oh, the hubris. Don’t make me laugh.
Fitness? A clever illusion. A deceptively attractive chimera of carrot and stick.
We’re all just fragile bags of chemicals acting and reacting in unpredictable ways, in an attempt to protect a central identity committed to the act of making itself feel worse about its own existence than it should. At some point, the chemicals are going to either explode or fizzle into inaction, and the central identity will fade to nothingness.
Happy New Year!