Friday, March 27, 2009

How To Recognize a Healthy Human

March 28, 2009 1:59 am

How To Recognize a Healthy Human

Washboard abs. Quads of steel. White Chiclet teeth. Itty bitty clothes. A tan so dark and glossy that Crayola weeps with jealousy. These are the symbols that magazines and advertisers use to sell us the picture of health. And yet, strangely, not only can these things be faked but even if they are legit, are often not indications of a healthy lifestyle at all. So today at the gym while struggling through the Monkey Bar Gym’s “Deck of Cards” workout (today’s special torture: divebomber, a.k.a. floor humper, push ups! In the middle of a crowded weight floor with no wall to turn our butts toward!) I was thinking of what are good indicators that someone works out and eats right.

Charlotte’s Field Guide to the Healthy Human
I came up with a list of things to look for when identifying healthy humans in the wild. While often considered an endangered species, I find that they occur far more frequently than one would expect. Especially once you stop focusing on bikinis and skinny jeans. Do not limit yourself to one location. While healthy humans are often found in gyms and on outdoor trails, they also frequent regular human hangouts like grocery stores, restaurants and even parties.

Bear in mind that you must be careful when approaching a healthy human as reactions to the outside world vary. Some are overeager, like puppies, and will jump all over you at the merest invitation to “talk split times.” Others have been burned by their interactions with folks and are hesitant to open up lest they are mocked for their “clean diets”. Like all lists of this nature, this list is not meant to be exclusive and not all traits will apply to all healthy humans. Also be aware of impostors. These faux healthy humans can be difficult to spot at first glance. Don’t be discouraged though. With these tips and a some common sense, you too can find your own healthy human.

Can you spot the faux healthy human?

1. Healthy Humans look younger than their chronological age. This is due to all the exercise and antioxidants in their diets. You can observe this effect in the wild by going to any gym and listening in when people talk about their ages. Guaranteed you will hear, “But, you can’t possibly be 48! You don’t look a day older than 30!” or some such. Most healthy humans respond well to this, the one exception being the youngest of the set. 18 year olds are often relegated to looking like baby faced pre-teens and will not appreciate you directing them to the junior locker room.

2. Healthy Humans stand at the ready. While not necessarily possessing ramrod-straight posture (unless they are of the ballerina subset), these humans naturally stand in an alert manner: head held high, shoulders back and with an air of a crouched leopard ready to spring at any passing prey.

3. Healthy Humans have a high pain threshold. Due to the grueling workouts these types do, they often posses greater than average tolerance for discomfort. This can be hard to see at a glance however, so it is encouraged to experiment. Carry a supply of small sharp objects (pins, tacks, etc.) and surreptitiously poke the subject until they yelp. Note how many times and how hard you poke them before they give a reaction. In deference to #2 on this list, you might want to rig the sharp objects with string in order to stay out of arm’s reach.

4. Healthy Humans are stronger than they look. The fastest way to test this assertion is to roll a car at a small human child and see who in the vicinity responds with a Herculean clean and jerk. (The child being kept clean and you being the jerk.) Unfortunately law enforcement does not share our love of research and so it is advisable to choose a less dramatic method of experimentation. A backpack full of books dropped on an old lady should do the trick.

5. Healthy Humans carry a lot of baggies. This habit occasionally gets them mistaken for drug dealers but once you examine the content of the baggies, you will discover an assortment of nuts, dried fruits, and jerky. If you do happen across some powder, give it a quick whiff - if it smells like “very speedy vanilla” or “double pump chocolate” then it is likely just protein powder. Gregarious healthy humans will usually try and share some of their baggies with you. Take them with a polite smile as The Sharing of the Trail-Mix Baggie is an important cultural ritual in their society. Do not offend.

After these top 5 indicators are met, you may wish to look for some second-tier attributes to strengthen your conclusions. These include bright skin, lustrous hair, a happy grin, the ability to sleep nine straight hours next to a jackhammer and the uncanny ability to name the bpm (beats per minute) of any pop song and do a coordinated one-two step up, step down, L-step, around-the-world to that rhythm. And yes, many of them do have Chiclet-esque teeth.

So what common attributes of healthy people have you noticed? What’s your favorite thing about being a healthy human?