Exercise Your Funny Bone

Exercise and Health

I know, I know…this meme is an attempt at humor, and a relatively harmless one at that. It isn’t racist, sexist, or in any other way offensive. For all intents and purposes, this could be the opening joke of some bland stand-up comic in a third-rate comedy club. And I, ever the heckler, must follow my calling to dissect its stupidity.

  1. You know who else walked all the time? Pretty much everybody before cars were invented. You know where they are now? All dead, and why? Because nobody – nobody at all – ever said that walking would make you immortal. Where would you even get that idea? If you want to poke fun at ridiculous ideas in the name of humor, fine: make sure they are ideas that people actually have. You can’t just make up stupid ideas and then destroy them! That’s called a straw man fallacy, in case you’re interested.
  2. Not all whales eat fish. Some whales eat plankton, crabs, shrimp, squid, marine birds, and other whales – none of which are fish. Regardless of their diet, all whales need a layer of blubber because – funny thing about water – it’s fantastic at pulling heat away from warm-blooded animals. The blubber helps protect a whale from the environment in which it lives. It’s a necessary part of whale survival, not something whales accumulate due to incautious diets and lack of exercise. Bozo.
    Second, and I cannot stress this enough, by whose standards is a whale fat? It hardly seems fair to compare a whale to those supermodel dolphins you see in magazines.
  3. A rabbit kept in captivity might live to see its twelfth birthday, but it’s true that rabbits in general – especially wild rabbits – are not long for this world. Of course, that’s also true of most small animals. Rabbits are on the menu for many predatory animals, including snakes, hawks, and Elmer Fudd. All that running and hopping is not the latest exercise craze. It’s pretty much essential for a rabbit to be fleet of foot if it hopes to avoid being eaten before it can pass on its bunny genes. Five years? Sheesh, a wild rabbit should be so lucky.
  4. Speaking of unrealistic life spans: four hundred fifty years? Where’d you pull that number from? The oldest known tortoise whose age was confirmed (by checking its birth certificate, perhaps?) cashed in his chips at the ripe old age of 188 years. Another tortoise that recently died was reputed to have been over 250 years old, which is impressive but nowhere near four and a half centuries. Still, that is a long time to live for an animal that is the living embodiment of slackerdom. What gives?
    Well, tortoises have a pretty laid-back approach to reproduction, which is sort of forced upon them by their living situation. Many tortoises live in deserts or on islands where the conditions aren’t always conducive to mating. In such an environment, a tortoise may go quite a while between hook-ups; plus their offspring are astonishingly easy pickings until their shells harden and they put on a little weight. Ergo, it benefits a tortoise, from a reproductive viewpoint, to stick around long enough to stand a better-than-average chance of leaving behind some successful offspring. It has nothing to do with diet and exercise, both of which the wild tortoise moderates to fit its own needs, or so one assumes.

So there you go, young meme-maker. Neglect your diet and exercise all you want, but don’t dream that the animal kingdom has your back. They’re too busy looking out for their own.

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