JournalismPakistan.com October 18, 2013
Some time back I wrote a piece about people in a future generation having only flippers for arms and little stumpy appendages for legs seeing as how we have become a world of watchers instead of doers.
The more that is written and spoken about exercise and physical effort the less it is being done. While that says something about the power of publicity the fact is that technology has compelled us to be ashamed of labor in any form. So, we have decided that anything which prevents us from using our limbs has to be a status symbol.
Here are some day to day examples of our natural sloth. Don’t run away, well, actually, that is a silly thing to say, you can’t run, probably haven’t run for years.
See if this is you in these scenarios.
We will press the elevator button to go one floor ... down, forget about up.
The now largely defunct phone has to be cordless so that even if there is access to an instrument which is 10 feet away the effort is cumbersome and often entails refusal to answer the caller because who, at the age of 35, is going to get up and walk that five meter marathon.
There is a friend of mine who was visibly astounded that the DVD system does not flip its side automatically and that he has to get up and physically change it.
The same goes for remote controls for all your systems and TVs. No self-respecting owner can even conceive of a situation where he has to actually get up and change a channel manually. In fact, modern TVs seem to have removed that option totally. In fact, many of us folks would not even know how to do it from the main set. Haven't you seen the red alert action station panic if the remote is misplaced? A whole family goes into shell shock and it becomes a talking point.
People drive to the corner market in a car because the five minute 100-meter walk is too much of a nuisance.
People go round and round for 20 minutes in a mall underground parking lot so they can park three lanes closer to the entrance. It is a laughable scene yet we have all seen it.
Even exercise has become a comical exclusion of exertion. Have you seen golfers play their game? They walk to the tee, hit the ball, then get into a little electronic cart and drive to the next stroke. Total walking done over 4800 meters is 48 meters. Then they come home and talk about their excellent afternoon's game.
Tennis at the club is a joke when they play doubles and you only have to watch it and then keep yourself from laughing.
The new games in town which seem to be the current fad include the eating while gaping game. In this sport, you sit and stare at the TV screen and see how swiftly you can consume a packet of crisps.
Then there is the Finger Muscle Program (FMP) which covers pressing the car music system and hitting the buttons on the mobile phone.
Finally, there is the Conservancy Comforter in which you believe you are saving up your body by lounge lizarding and doing nothing. It is very much like being a couch potato and is based on the logical concept that if you are not putting your body to work you are preserving it from wearing out.
Consequently, you will live to a hundred, like an unused car.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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