Beware Your Chair!

Don’t sit down. Your chair will kill you.

At least that’s what Olivia Judson, an opinonator (why does this make me think of “terminator”) for the NYT and author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation (which I have read and enjoyed for its titillation as well as its probing insight) has declared.

It seems as though the innocuous, inanimate chair is as harmful as an evangelical. Too much derrière in it and you’ll either put on pounds or be prone to health problems and meet your maker much sooner than the maker of your chair.

It’s depressing news since I spend about 8 to 12 hours a day sitting. Of course I break it up with a good dose of writing, reading, relaxing, and sitting. But I do take about a half hour to a forty-five minute walk each day and am up and playing with my four-year-old daughter and up and down to the toilet, too.

And what does this mean for pilots? Should they get out of the cockpit more often? Jog down the fuselage and disarm suspected terrorists themselves? And what about lap dancers? Are they at all worried about the amount of time they are sitting in strangers’ laps? Or does their jiggling and dancing counteract the sinful act of sitting?

Instead of her prolonged dirge to our Deaths by Chairs, I wished Judson had come up with some solutions — besides exercising as the antidote to a sedentary life (haven’t we known this since sitcoms became popular?) — as to how to fix the working environment that expects you to sit for 8-plus hours. Surely we need to change that work environment first? Which isn’t going to happen any time soon unless we are all prepared to give our out-worn reality a good quantum kick in the backside and start living the way the quantum world imagines we should be living.

At least, I would argue, sitting doesn’t create a moral schism. Look at Tiger Woods. Here’s a man who was on his feet all day and yet he fell into a pit of infidelity and is now sitting on the cucking stool.

Plus the Right Honourable Lady of the Chair has failed to mention that it is, at least in America, a person’s constitutional right to sit — or stand. Just because I prefer to sit should not make me out to be a glutton for punishment, should it?

And since I started on this site the lost art of insult, here’s one to deal with those saintly standers who wish to pull the chair out from underneath you.

“You bucket-seat scurf, may your cushions disown you and your buttocks find no rest in this world.”


The Black-Out Book: 500 Family Games and Puzzles for Wartime Entertainment. This book was originally published and disturbed at the time of the London Blitz. It’s a fun read full of brainteasers, quotes, riddles, poems, limericks, cartoons, astronomy lessons, word games, and more miscellany. And it’s got wonderful vintage illustrations and fonts. It was written as a paean to domestic life, or as the great C.K. Chesterton puts it: “Of all modern notions, the worst is this: that domesticity is dull. Inside the home, they say, is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety. But the truth is that home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge a whim.”


Friendly Fires. This St. Alban’s trio pull a lot of the DNA for their songs from the Talking Heads, Heaven 17, Haircut One Hundred, New Order, the Foals, and even strands of early Duran Duran. My daughter and I have been dancing crazy to it.

Colossal Youth by the Young Marble Giants. I recently got this post-punk Cardiff band’s only album and it’s amazing.  They created a real pioneering sound that nobody else was doing, creating a moonage music that is so withdrawn and crackling with stillness and with an ambient mood of solitude and stealth. Their music is like floating through a molecule and finding the electrical charge of silence. They create this grand minimalist sound around the female singer’s voice, Alison Statton — and her voice is like one you’d find in a busy factory, singing to herself of the beauty of the outside world. Plus they sound even better in headphones.


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