This is the third in a series of posts. The first is here. The second is here. But this is the part of the show where you probably start not to like me so much--if you like me at all. Even some of you in the choir (those already engaging in an active lifestyle) will probably think I am taking this a little far. But having grown up Southern Baptist, I know no other way. I'm about to serve up some o' that "come to Jesus" luciousness. If you can hang in there, I'll issue an alter call and will help you down the aisle.
But if that is not your particular brand of vodka, there's a little red "x" in the upper right hand corner. Use it. You have been warned.
In the last two posts, I tried to lay out an inspiring case that "anyone can do this," that is, anyone can create their own healthier outcomes and participate in a vigorous sport. Now, I'm switching gears. Anyone and everyone can do this, but more, anyone and everyone should be doing this. And there is a moral component if you are not.
Now, bear in mind, I'm not talking to everyone. There are people who cannot participate in an active lifestyle and who suffer from debilitating chronic diseases that cripple and kill due solely to genetic factors. I'm just talking to the 99.99% of people who were born with two arms, two legs and sufficient ambulatory gifts to move themselves across the face of the planet.
So, yeah, brothers and sisters. I'm probably talking to you. And I'm talking about moral and ethical duties.
If you are Roman Catholic, I would point out that gluttony and sloth are both included in the list of seven deadly sins. In fact, between these two, you've got almost 29% of the list covered.
If you grew up in Baptist Sunday School like me, I'd roll out the parable of the talents and liken thee unto the man who received one talent and who, instead of investing that talent on his master's behalf, buried it in the ground. "Thou slothful and wicked servant . . . cast him into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Wow, that was cheery, huh?
If you believe in any kind of supreme being at all, I would simply ask how one can squander and dishonor the temple of a perfectly adequate body, especially when many don't have those blessings. How can we not live lives of thanksgiving in motion?
If you are a complete atheist, I would point out that you are a marvel of millions of years of evolution. Your very body was evolved to run. You are the hairless mammal of the steppes who is adapted to dissipate heat through sweat rather than respiration like the mammals you hunt. You are evolved to run four and five hours with your tribe at a time at a 10 minute pace until the antelope or deer drops of heat exhaustion and the protein and calories from its meat feed the ginourmous brain that sets you apart from Australopithecus. You, my friend, were born to run.
It's so easy, even a cave man can do it. Why are you sitting on your ass?
"OK, preacher," I can hear you saying, "Now you've left off preaching and gone to meddling. You ain't better 'n me just because you exercise, and if I don't wanna, that's my business."
True, friend, it is your business--if you alone suffered the consequences. But now I'm going to get really personal (as if I had not already). I want to talk about the people who count on you.
If you are putting yourself slowly to death with your plate and your inactivity, are not just an island nation having no effect on anyone else. The message you are sending by your choices to those who count on you is that they are less important to you than your cheeseburger or your reality TV.
You'd rather have Cheesie Poofs and put your feet up while watching electronic sedatives every evening than walk down the aisle at a future wedding.
You'd rather sleep an extra hour than grow old with a spouse.
You prefer fried Twinkies to playing with grandchildren.
And, prepare yourself, all you sedentary conservatives, for I am about to drop the conservative equivalent of the nuclear weapon ----------
No matter what your words say, your actions say that you expect and demand your offspring or your government to take care of you as if you were a helpless and incapacitated ward of the state rather than exercise personal responsibility by being a grown up and taking care of yourself.
Gone too far have I?
Do we not think some of the same things about people who harm and prematurely abandon their families through abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco?
How is abuse of food and leisure any different?
So, I've probably pissed you off or touched a nerve or at least prompted a moment of thought. I hope so.
If you're human, you are looking for a way out, a way to mitigate or avoid altogether the moral charge I've leveled.
Well, watch this space because there's more on that later.
In the mean time, can I get an "AMEN" from the choir.