Friday, June 27, 2014

Standing Up for Authors

I'm typing this blog while standing up. I spend a lot more time standing these days because I've taken to heart (or at least to hindquarters) the research that shows that sitting is killing us.

Unfortunately there are only so many positions the human body can type in--I've tried a sumo wrestler squat for example, but when my thighs are screaming with pain, my brain tends to shut down. Downward dog is no better, with my fingers preoccupied with keeping my body from falling over and my actual canines piling squeak toys under me. And forget typing on an electronic device in the hammock in the back yard. Apparently the only thing the human body can do while swinging to-and-fro is drink a pitcher of Margaritas. That may help Jimmy Buffet write, but it only inspires me to nap.

So last year for my birthday, I purchased a sit-to-stand desk top. My computer, keyboard and mouse sit on top of it and I can change positions several times during the day. On Wednesday, I started off as "administrative assistant" and I ended as "CEO." It was a good day.

When we picture someone who writes, whether for a living or from a deep-seated desire to put words to paper, we usually picture her or him hunched over a desk with a computer, typewriter, notepad, or Etch-a-Sketch.

As a result, writers often spend their royalties or their tips from their other job on chiropractors and physical therapists.

I've never gotten my best ideas with my butt in a chair. Usually I'm in the shower, walking the dogs, or standing in line somewhere. On Monday I was at my neighborhood grocery/clothing/hardware/home goods/paint/pharmacy/electronics store when a dour guy in his late 40s or early 50s purchased $238 worth of men's clothing, including underwear and a belt. He stuffed them all into a bag, paid cash and left the store angrily. I mentally wrote three stories while waiting my turn: one involved his ex-wife burning all his clothing in a bonfire on the front lawn, one had him running from the law, and one involved a bet he lost over a soccer match.

If you sit for hours at a time, the oxygen your brain needs to be creative eventually ends up pooling in your backside. I often refer to the bonus fat around my hip area not as middle-aged spread, but "excess oxygen reserves." Remember: It's Newton's LAW of gravity, not GUIDELINES of gravity. When you stand up, your oxygen also heads south, but I've found that I tend to fidget and shift around a lot more with my feet planted on the ground. And when I take YouTube breaks, I often break out into a full-body dance. There's nothing that moves the blood back into your brain like a quick hula at your desk.

I'm thinking of keeping a grass skirt and coconut skirt on my desk next to my pitcher of Margaritas.

My sit-to-stand desk top only cost $275 + shipping and handling. I highly recommend it as an investment to everyone who spends a lot of time at a computer or whatever. It's a pretty inexpensive purchase, especially considering how much you'll save not getting your neck adjusted or back aligned. There may even enough money left over for hula lessons.

Leigh Anne Jasheway writes funny stuff and stuff about funny. Her latest book is 101 Comedy Games for Children and Grown-Ups. She's also a stand-up comic, comedy professor, and the humor columnist for the Register Guard in Eugene, Oregon.


Sue Coletta said...

Does the sit-to-stand desk go high enough to keep your neck straight and not angled downward? I might skip the hula skirt. I'd probably break something. :-0

Leigh Anne Jasheway said...

Mine does. It all depends on whether you're using a laptop or a real monitor. Mine is the latter and I have it perched on three thick books.