The days of sitting down after a long day may soon be over. In response to a CNN report claiming that sitting for hours can shave years off lives, a residence-challenged man in Miami is calling for the abolition of chairs.
"They're a hateful contraption," Jerome Walker said Monday afternoon in front of a hot dog stand, after commending the hot dog stand owner on his lack of seating arrangements for patrons. "I've been standing for years now-ever since the divorce and that thing in Albuquerque-and I can't imagine what my life would be like if I'd been sitting around all this time. Chairs should be banished for good. They're ruining this country."
Jerome Walker acquiring signatures next to an unidentified man.
Mr. Walker, who currently spends his time on the corner of 136th street and US-1, is one of many individuals responding to the scientific discovery that sitting in a chair for six or more hours a day is, in fact, unhealthy.
"It's outrageous," says forty-two year old Kailee Wheeling, a furious citizen. "I've been a receptionist since '99, working forty hour weeks, most of it sitting at that front desk and answering phone calls. And sure, we get breaks-five minutes here or there. But most of the time I'm just sitting, killing myself slowly. My job's been endangering my life for well over a decade now. You better believe they'll be hearing from my attorney."
Ms. Wheeling's former employer, a local law firm, declined comment.
Others are even more disturbed by the findings that sitting is not just harmful, but addictive.
"It's scary, bro," says James "Jimmy" Silla, a landscaper who spends most of his time on his feet. "Don't even want to let my kid out the house now. You know how many chairs they got in them classrooms at his school? Gotta be like-at least a dozen, bro. That's a lot of sitting around, right under our [expletive deleted] noses. Sitting here talking 'bout wars on drugs and terror, weapons of mass destruction and all that. Need to be a war on chairer [sic]."
Experts caution against lashing out:
"Not the chairs fault."
Certain experts warn against excessive retaliation, claiming that sitting itself is not the problem. Rather, the amount of sitting being done is what's caused the epidemic.
"Sitting is not bad for you in moderation, but in excess it is addictive and harmful," Dr. James Levine writes of his findings in the November issue of the journal Diabetes. "Of concern is that for most people in the developed world, chair-living is the norm."
What has resulted is an outbreak of what experts are deeming "chair-pressure."
Not, however, if Mr. Walker has anything to say about it. The Miami native-dubbed Old Man Walker by the locals-has fashioned a petition calling for the abolition of all chairs and chair-related activities. He uses his street corner next to the Falls Shopping Center as a platform to acquire signatures, as well as to solicit donations to help fund promotion of the cause. He claims that five hundred signatures and five thousand dollars in donations should be enough to create a ripple in the system.
"Every signature counts," says Mr. Walker. "Every dollar makes a difference. We have to do something about this before it gets even worse."