Monday, March 17, 2014

Rich O 2.0- 1 Year Later (Or The End Of Rich O 2.0)

size 52 jacket circa 2012
About a year ago Rich O 2.0 was born. He was born out of necessity. He was born out of need. He was born out of a guy needing serious changes. About a year ago Rich O got the proverbial physical from hell. His blood sugar A1C was almost an 11 (not good...actually quite bad), blood pressure was 140/88, weighed in at 234 lbs and jean size 38. Rich 2.0 was born to make right the horrible effects of Rich O's negligence. Starting the 2nd week of March a strict routine of diet and exercise was put into
size 38 dress pants circa 2012
effect. The results? As of this writing the A1C is 5.3 (normal but still on meds), Blood pressure is 111/69, body weight is 180 (about 23.5 % body fat tho I find these measurements inexact) and jean size 32/33! Better results then could have been ever expected in a year. Having said all that it's time to retire Rich O 2.0. We've all had enough of him. Rich O 2.0 was no fun. Rich O 2.0 was too concerned about everything he ate and did. Rich O 2.0 looked withdrawn. Rich O 2.0 was, frankly, a drag. So
having accomplished everything he could it's time to say goodbye and good riddance to Rich O 2.0....and say hello to Rich O 2.1 (c'mon you didn't think it would be that easy, did you)!

from tree trunks to shredded
Rich O 2.1 was actually born about 8 months into the Rich O 2.0 era. Having lost all the weight I wanted to I now wanted to get my body back to a muscularity I was more used to as opposed to the kind of loose weight-loss look I had developed. I didn't want to abandon the good habits I'd developed but I wanted to step it up. So while I still tracked all my food on My Fitness Pal and still used my Fitbit religiously (and I will swear to this day you can 100% achieve your weight loss goals using just this method) some tweaks were needed. So I started eating more and eating more normal and less strictly. The trick was not getting back into foods that were counter intuitive to the blood sugar thing. I added lots of whole grains like quinoa to my diet. Lots of healthy veggies too like broccoli, asparagus, spinach  and carrots daily. I start every day with a mostly veggie smoothie before exercising. I also increased my activity level to a silly degree.  An hour plus of cardio to start every day and usually another 30 after work. Weights at the gym 3 times a week. TRX body weight workout on non-weight days. Old school calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc) every day. Core work (I didn't know what core work was a year ago) every day.  It's to the point on days where my activity exceeds my food intake I supplement with protein shakes which I haven't touched in decades. The results so far have been a much healthier, toned physique then I ever had even in my best shape in my 20's!

But, like most things, there's a downside. It takes time, discipline, and sacrifice. I've said it before and I'll say it again- someone married with kids would have a hard time with my method. This is an idea of my schedule during the work week-

6:15 am- alarm goes off
6:30/6:45- feet hit the floor. Have my morning green smoothie
6:45/7:00- Start morning exercise for 1-1.5 hours. Typically walking but often stationary bike
8:15- Take AM pills, start breakfast. Do calisthenics/body weight exercises (abs, push-ups, pull-ups, etc)
8:45- Eat breakfast
9:00- Shower and get ready for work
9:45- 7:00- Work (I get in a minimum of 7,000 steps (around 3.5 miles) at work)
7:15-8:45- The gym for weights and cardio
9:15- Start dinner, start prep for next day (make lunch, breakfast and smoothie prep to save time in the morning, clean up, dishes, etc)
9:45- Eat dinner
10:15- More calisthenics
10:45- Self physical therapy- Rehab bad elbow, ice bad shoulder, stretch out ridiculous calves
11:00- Relax

12:00/12:30 Go to bed

Days off work are less structured but just as active. Now this may seem absurd but it allows me to live a regular, non-diet lifestyle. to eat what I want if the occasion calls for it and to worry less about "cheating".  Plus I put it on myself for letting myself get so out of shape. Mentally and emotionally I still have trouble with the sheer power I've lost. This is hard to understand unless you've ever been where I was in the power department from age 17-37. My functional strength is far better then ever but the raw strength not so much. But I'm as happy with myself as I've ever been. I get a lot of reactions to how "skinny" I look. As a formerly skinny kid I have trouble accepting this as the compliment it's intended. I think I look fit. I also know the manner in which I dress (baggy) does not really "compliment" my streamlined look but I'll always be a fat guy at heart. That's one of the reasons I'm posting these one time only "after pictures". As a guy with body issues this wasn't easy to do but it feels like closure. I still have work to do like increasing my cardiovascular conditioning and toning up my pecs and lower abs (some bodily abuses can't be fixed over night). My goal now? On July 5th 2016 I want to be able to say "my name is Rich I'm 50 years old and I'm in the best shape of mt life".

This is likely the last ever blog on my fitness goals. I've adopted this as lifestyle for the foreseeable
future. I know friends, family, and coworkers are probably sick of hearing my talk to people about it BUT if there is any advice I can give on what's worked for me, please don't hesitate to ask! Below are links to some of the sites and products that have helped me along the way. Stay active my friends!

My Fitness Pal- My calorie tracker and safety blanket

Fitbit- 10,000 steps every day for life baby

Digifit- For tracking non-step cardio (stationary bike, elliptical, etc)

Polar H7 HRM- Heart Rate monitor to accurately track calorie burn during workouts

Every Move- A site that rewards activity with discounts and donations to charity

Runtastic Apps- Start a regiment of push-ups, pull-ups and free squats

Runtastic Six Pack Abs- Like the name implies

7 Minute Workout Challenge- Great in a pinch

Fitness Buddy- Replaces notebooks and charts for tacking gym workouts

MotionX24/7 sleep tracker- How much are you actually sleeping??

Steam Vita- Tasty, healthy steamed food

NutriBullet- Healthy "nutri-blasts"

Yonanas- Creamy desserts, no added sugar

Gorilla Gym- The ultimate doorway gym

Perfect Fitness- Home of Perfect Pushup and Ab Carver

Friday, January 31, 2014

Drive Me Crazy

I admit I consider myself a pretty good driver. If it wasn't for the state of New Hampshire I would have no driving citations other then one involving an accident 25 years ago. Not bad for being a licensed driver for 30 plus years now. In my recent rebirth as a constant pedestrian and as someone who lives and works in busy, thickly settled areas I've noticed overall driving skills and adherence to written and unwritten rules of the road have waned quite a bit over recent years. I'd say the #1 culprit is cellphones as it's impossible to pay attention 100% to the world around you while in conversation. Impossible. Other mitigating factors could be the number of drivers who learned the rules of the road in a city, state or even country different from Massachusetts, USA. Finally I think a lot of unwritten rules simply aren't passed on as much to newer drivers as they were when I was tutored by my mom and the drivers ed folk. These are just a few recent observations

- For many the concept of "pedestrian crossing" is less a law then a target to aim for

- In busy city blocks drivers and pedestrians often get the green light/walk signal simultaneous so cars turning left or right still need to give right of way to the pedestrian. So pay the f*#k attention and lay off your horn you ignorant tool!

- That many drivers no longer understand the etiquette of funeral processions. Twice recently I'm been in funeral processions only to have other drivers cutting in and out of the procession of blowing right through where the funeral director had traffic stopped to allow the funeral to pass. This is something my parents taught me was very important as it is the respectful thing to do if not an outright law

- That people are often so wrapped up in other things during inclement weather they drive through large puddles and slushy snow at full speed regardless of soaking pedestrians on the sidewalk, bus stops or standing in front of schools

- That people can drive cars that will save the environment and tattoo their cars with stickers telling us all the things they support from far off countries to animals rights yet still treat pedestrians in their own backyards like cannon fodder because of distractions or their hurry to get to where they are going

I've been guilty of some of these transgressions myself but have become a more attentive driver since becoming more of a pedestrian. I put most of the onus on talking on the phone while driving. You will never, ever convince me this should not be highly illegal. I don't and won't do it (I have done speaker phone and Bluetooth before but usually just wait until I've stopped) Multitasking while driving is a dumb concept as simply driving deserves you full attention. In my opinion any moving violation fine or accident caused by a person driving while on the phone the penalty would be doubled or more. All I'm really asking is pay attention people! My life may depend upon it

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sincere Gesture Or Pre-Programmed Auto Response?

I recently went about replacing my iPad 1 with a new model. I saw that MicroCenter was running a sale thru MLK weekend but as I was working pretty much every hour they were open I decided to go pay online and pick up in person to get the deal. It went reasonably well although I never got the confirmation email that my pickup was ready (they pride themselves on 18 minute pickup) but it wasn't a real concern as I couldn't get there that night either way. After a day of no confirmation I call over just to make sure and they are befuddled why I didn't get it but assured me the order was there awaiting pickup. Cool. So I finally get there and after a quick browse of the place I go to the pickup desk. The man working the desk gets my item and upon looking at it asks one of the other guys to page a manager for a "thank you". Sure enough on the package is written "give thank you". Huh. Maybe they feel bad about the confirmation thing and are going to offer me...something? Anyway a thin, pale young man, looking very uncomfortable in a suit and tie, introduces himself as one of the managers and says "thank you for buying your iPad here" and shakes my hand. I say "you're welcome" and then we all stand there awkwardly until I say "goodbye"

Now many of you know I've been in retail sales (well small business retail entails a lot more then sales but for brevity's sake...) for over 20 years so I treat fellow retail employees with nothing but patience and respect. However, I'm still debating to myself whether I should take this as a genuine gesture or a corporate ordained come on for people buying Apple products. I always finish my sales with a genuine "thank you" and proffer a handshake even if the sale was painful. This is because 1) I mean it and 2) In a small business every sale really makes a difference to the bottom line (even for those of us not on commission). So on the one hand had the "thank you" happened organically, as in he just happened to be nearby, or if the kid at the desk had just said "thank you" it would have felt genuine. Instead with the paging, note written on the work order and practiced speech it came off instead as disingenuous. I dunno

I'm struggling with whether my standards for retail are too high as I'm a lifer at it and (if I do say so myself) very good at what I do. Practiced thank yous, phone salutations and sales pitches are so foreign and phony to me they make me roll my eyes. But then again maybe I am just becoming more jaded and cynical as I get older. At the end of the day it didn't affect my thoughts on the experience and I will shop there again but something about the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way (and yes, this was going to be a Facebook post rather then a blog but , ya know...)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Hope I Die Before I Get Old (Or, More Accurately, Start Acting Old)

"Youth is wasted on the young"
George Bernard Shaw

"Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything"
Kurt Vonnegut

"Lighten up Francis"
Sargent Hulka (Warren Oates) Stripes

"And we wanna have a good time. And that's what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time..."
Heavenly Blues (Peter Fonda), Wild Angels

The Joker (Heath Ledger) The Dark Knight

 "I hope I die before I get old"
The Who

Remember when you were younger and carefree? You did stupid, immature, often regrettable things. But man, did you have fun! Why is there some universal law that says as you get older your level of propriety has to be so high that all the fun seems sucked out of you? Look, I understand as "adults" certain things are expected of us versus younger folk. But I also know getting older is not an excuse for not having fun. Now I'm not saying you have to be "The Dude" but you also don't have to be so tight-assed that your sphincter whistles when you pass gas! I truly believe that NOT acting your age 24/7, 365 keeps you younger. For some of us this is easy. For others it requires getting out of you comfort zone now and again. Whether it the same zone you've always had or a new one you've developed over time is an individual thing. Here's a few suggestions both broad and specific

***I want to be perfectly, crystal clear (and I will mention this several times more) that I am NOT recommending drinking to excess or doing anything illegal or dangerous. I know some people have issues with substances and obviously certain small parts of this diatribe mentions alcohol. I also want you to know what I am saying is not just the ravings of a guy with less responsibilities then many as I've had this same conversation with friends of mine who are married, have kids, parents to care for, jobs of renown, etc etc. Now on to the drivel***

1) Get loud- We worry so much about our noise levels that we're used to speaking in hushed tones when there are others about. Yes, in most setting this is polite and proper. However, if you're at a club, bar, or concert all bets are off. Tell loud, funny jokes. Laugh a bit louder then is appropriate. Sing matter it a band, jukebox or your mobile device., just because its fun. Find a nice, quiet, secluded spot and just...SCREAM at the top of you're lungs. You'd be surprised how liberating it is

2) Stay a little longer/later then you planned- So often we go out with a preconceived time limit on how long we'll stay. Or how late we'll stay out. I tend to go out with an open mind. If I'm not having fun I'll leave early. If I'm having more fun then anticipated I'll stay longer.  Now those with young kids do need these outs but often it's just a crutch. "I have to work tomorrow". "I need my sleep". So do we all! Once in a while staying out for 4 hours or more and getting 4 hours of sleep or less isn't gonna kill you (if it did I'd already be dead)

3) Loosen up- This one has a zillion caveats so stick with me. I'm not advocating drinking , smoking pot or anything else. Far from it. I'm also not advocating drinking to excess and putting yourself or others in danger either. But if you do like to go out for a drink now and then, and if someone else is driving or you can walk or take a cab, every once and a while get a little loosy-goosy. Letting go of you inhibitions is good for the soul now and then (plus it gives you stories to talk about and try to live down)

4) Do something crazy (for you)- Again, not advocating anything dangerous or illegal. But now and then it's good to do something you would "never do". Wear a stupid hat or loud clothing. Go to a dress up theme party and enjoy it. Do something personally terrifying, just for the adrenaline rush. Run around in your underwear or go skinny-dipping. Grow a stupid mustache for Movember. Paint your face or chest for a sporting event. Go to a drag show....I could go on and on here

5) Screw the weather- I'm starting to feel like I have a legal team looking over my shoulder...I'm not recommending stupidity during the most severe of weather. I'm recommending stupidity during plain old bad weather. Do something despite the weather rather then not doing something because of the weather. Go for a run or a walk in the rain, snow or searing heat. Dance in the rain. Jump in a puddle. Belly-flop through the mud. make a snow angel. Have a snowball fight.

6) Make a fool of yourself in front of strangers- Why we worry about what strangers think of us I'll never know. I'm also guilty of this. But why? We don't worry much about making a fool of ourselves in front of friends and family we see all the time so why worry about people we'll likely never see again. So go do Karaoke badly. Go to open mike night. Take part in a audience participation show. Put yourself out there because, well, who really cares?

7) Say "yes" now and then rather then "no"- Let's say you have a group that get's together now and again for cards, or board games, or book club, or whatever. And you're always invited but you never go because "I don't like..." whatever. Well in most cases whatever they're doing is more or less an excuse to hang out with friends more then for the stated reason. Now and then say "sure, I'll be there" and enjoy a good game of poker or Catch Phrase (or um, talk about Nicholas Sparks latest tear jerker)

8) Try something new- This is probably where I'm personally guilty most often but I'm getting better. Eat a cuisine you "don't like" because you've never tried (that was me with Indian food). Go listen to a band who plays music that "isn't really your thing". Play darts, go bowling, take a hike, go rollerblading, rent some skates and hit the ice, try snowshoeing, There are so many enjoyable things we've never tried because we think we won't (or don't) like them

Now some of you are saying well sure Rich, you're just a big kid. Thank you, that's a compliment. I've been accused of being a bon vivant before (and had to google it to see what it meant) and didn't totally disagree. But it's not like I'm not a responsible adult. I've been gainfully employed for 25 straight year missing less then a 1/3 of a day a year for reasons of sickness or whatever. I also manage a home, bills, investments, etc all by myself. I am a single man without kids but also a responsible adult who likes to let it "all hang out" now and then. Also everyone's definition of fun is different. There's about a a million things I like to do that don't fall into the above categories but they fall into the atypical "adult" category that frankly aren't much fun to talk about. Lastly, most of my friends are not like me from a lifestyle standpoint but most (tho not all) share my love for acting childish now and then. They are husbands, wives and parents. They are professionals and working stiffs, Some are younger, some older. They are lawyers, teachers, and corporate drones, Some are well off and some just scraping by. Many on the surface would seem an odd match as friends of mine but we share in the joy of FUN!

Anyway I don't judge and how people live their lives is their business. That said how I live mine is my business and shouldn't be judged either. I hope I never start acting my age. My dad never did. Up until he got sick he was still the life of the party. Even tho he'd been sober for decades he went to every retirement party, neighborhood or high school reunion. He was the first to dance at any occasion. He told corny (often off-color) jokes to anyone that would listen. He yelled and whistled and made a fool of himself during exercise other words he had FUN! I can't imagine a better role model then you pop!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rich O 2.0- Almost 8 Months Later

So 5 months ago I said I was taking a break from talking about my new healthier lifestyle here (tho I've bored people aplenty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and I was good to my word. Recently I felt compelled to check in again as I get a lot of people asking how it's going and even more people asking how I'm doing it. I'm technically about 7 3/4 months since I started this crazy lifestyle change on March 1, 2013 and feel like I've got a solid plan in place to keep it going for the foreseeable future
A1C Risk Chart

To refresh memories I started on this path (ugh, I almost said journey...barf) after a horrible physical where my blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure were all way up. My primary goal was to reduce my hemoglobin A1C (kind of a look at blood sugar levels over a 90 day period. See chart to the right to see the dangers of a high A1C) from a 11 to a 6 with my lesser goals being to lose 35 pounds and to regulate my blood pressure. As of October 8th my A1C was 5.85 (which is the edge of pre-diabetes), I went from 234 lbs to 187 lbs (I sit around 190 as of this writing and I'm happy about that (to be explained a bit later)) for a grand total of 47 lbs lost and my blood pressure of 140/88 to an average of 115/75! On a more aesthetic level I dropped from a 38 to 34 waist in pants, XXL to XL or L in shirts and L in gym shorts and bathing suits. I've put in over 300 cardio workouts, walked over 1,500 miles and totally changed my eating habits! Mission accomplished? Mission just getting started!!

One of the odd side effects of this has been people 1) commenting on how "good" I look and 2) asking for advice. The former is hard on me as if you know me you know I'm far more comfortable poking fun at myself then taking compliments. The latter I Always start with "well, here's what I did but that may or may not work for you". My method took discipline, regiment, and sacrifice to a level I didn't know I was capable of. For me the hardest sacrifices were those of spare time, my beloved junk food, and a lot of my vaunted strength. I've slowly worked all these things back into my life in various quantities and am happy with the results. I finally feel like I've packed some lean muscle back on which makes me happy. But every situation is different so below are some generalities I'd recommend for anyone looking to change up their health and wellness routine

1) Dieting Doesn't Work- Dieting by its very nature is a change in eating for a specific amount of time to reach a specific goal and then ends. If you've gone this route you know how hard it is to maintain once your goal is reached A mix of eating smarter and exercise which you can maintain forever is a better idea

2) Do What Works Best For Your Situation- You need to know how you can work exercise and better eating into your particular circumstance. For me running was out because of bad knees so I walk. My job affords me being able to stay active so I do. My singleness allows me to eat what and when I want so I take advantage of that. Trying to do someone else's routine usually doesn't work

3) Get Up And Move- I cannot stress enough that this was the #1 mitigating factor in my well being. Go grab a Fitbit or download Argus or even just grab a pedometer and get moving! 10,000 steps a day is the minimum you should be looking for (I average about 15,000) and you can get there through every day chores as well as straight up exercise. If you do nothing else, do this. It will help, I promise

4) Stop Wishing, Start Doing- Don't get mad, jealous, etc at someone's success and your struggles. Whether it's easier or harder for someone else the odds are their success is linked to hard work and discipline. You can do it too!

5) Take Your Time- I used My Fitness Pal to set a goal weight and a time to get there. I figured on losing 1/2 pound to a pound a week. I knew this was healthy and attainable and I could do it without "starving". Trust me, you'll end up losing weight more quickly then a 1/2 pound a week

6) Be Consistent- Use the same scale to weigh yourself. Weigh yourself once a week (max) the same time of day and in the same state of dress. Weighing yourself too often our with many different scales will most likely have a negative effect on you mentally

7) Count Your Calories- I've mentioned it before but the formula for losing weight is calories in less calories burned thru activity. At the beginning worry only about total calories eaten, not kind of calories eaten (well, there are exceptions, see #8). Carbs have gotten a bad rap and are an essential part of a balanced diet to don't skip them

8) Check With Your Doctor First- I know that sounds like a line from an infomercial but it's true. If you have a condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, celiak, or anything else then the rules for your food plan will likely be different from the norm

9) Knowledge Is Power- It is important to know exactly how much you're eating and how much you're burning to be successful. Packaged food comes with tons of caloric information on it but generic foods are harder to nail down, not to mention restaurant meals. I strongly recommend a combination of My Fitness Pal (caloric data base), Digifit (cardio tracker) and Fitbit (activity tracker) to most accurately track calories in versus out

10) No Days Off- Live the lifestyle! Enjoy life but know it comes with trade offs. If you know you have a big meal ahead exercise more and eat less earlier that day. Make sure you work at least 30 minutes of activity into every day, no excuses. I walked 5 miles in a 4 hour layover at an airport recently, will get up and exercise on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I won't kill myself but by getting my work in I can relax and enjoy the day without worry.

And Lastly 11) Don't Get Discouraged- Nothing can foil plans of a healthier lifestyle then getting discouraged because a) you're not being as successful as you want or b) because you were "bad" for a day. Simply hike up your pants, lace up your boots and get right back at it the next day

So, yes, that's the advice I can give. I'm NOT an expert. I DON'T have years of success. I CAN'T guarantee I won't regain everything I've lost. But I BELIEVE following these guidelines I will continue to have success. If you take nothing else out of this just remember that you need to find what works best for you and your situation. Everything else should fall into place from there

Thursday, August 22, 2013

(Not So) Easy Peasy

"If anyone told you life was going to be easy they lied"

Rich O'Rourke, date unknown

The quote above is attributed to me as I don't recall hearing anywhere specifically (tho variations surely exist) and I've adopted as my own. I say it a lot when I hear people who are down on their lives (the FML crowd). I've always been a realist and with a few exceptions never one to fall into "woe is me mode". There was a short period in my life when I actually had people seek out my counseling or advice for what they interpreted as their crappy life. I'd always open with "do you want the truth or do you want me to make you feel good" and upon the truth selection I'd say "If anyone told you life was going to be easy they lied". Tough love for sure. The plain truth is life is incredibly hard.Just living life and all it's pitfalls and the like is the hardest thing we do. But you know what? If it was easy anyone could do it

Life starts difficult and gets more so as we move along in life. Let's face it the process of being born is likely an unpleasant experience, just one we (thankfully) don't remember. Learning to crawl, walk and speak are hard. Being a kid is no simple task. High, can anything be more difficult then navigating your teen years as a high school student? College is a lot of work and stress. Your job can be all consuming. Relationships are really hard. Maintaining a relationship is even harder. Being a parent is maybe the hardest job anyone will ever have. Being a GOOD parent even harder. Getting old...well, that just plain sucks. My point? Life, from the day we're born to the day we drop, is not easy

So why is it so difficult? Because being a person, a human being, if a very complicated deal. The older we get the more we're responsible for and the more we're expected to know about how to handle these things. The problem is there is no real instruction manual for life! We fumble and stumble through most things thinking we know how we're going to do only to realize we know nothing! As much as they pump it into your head, what you learn in college rarely prepares you for your actual job. Getting married, cohabiting with someone for the rest of your life, isn't as simple as it might seem. No advice, no book, no online course or video series can possibly prepare us for parenting. Nope, life is all about trial and error, on the job training and learning experiences. And no, it's never easy

So why do we get out of bed in the morning when life is so hard? Well because life is so awesome it's worth all the pain and aggravation! The pride of winning that game, graduating from school, that first paycheck or promotion, watching your child's first step, or attending your grand kid's wedding. They make it all worthwhile. Human beings are quick to learn from their mistakes and are very forgiving so tho we may stumble we tend to get another chance to make right. And another. Annnnnd another. In most cases we have parents, teachers, friends, mentors and other role models to emulate and to guide us along the right path. Even when we fail completely life always offers us opportunity to try, try again. And THAT is what makes life worth living

So, yeah, life ain't easy and sometimes it downright sucks. But don't get down as we're all in the same boat and we'll get through this together. Keep your chin up, stay even keeled, keep your eyes on the prize and any other bullshit cliche you can come up with. The rewards for all our stress, heartache, pain, and crying far out weight the risks. Ask questions, read books, pray, cry, see a therapist, make mistakes, make adjustments, make corrections, get it right. Rinse and repeat.

So, no, life isn't easy. If it was anyone could do it...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Ah, mankind! The highest form of intelligence on planet Earth. The Alpha species if you will. Yup, top of the food chain we are. Well I've got news for ya. We ain't all that smart. Oh sure we've come up with some amazing things. The internal combustion engine, splitting the atom, and even space travel. But just take a look at your television and tell me the minds that came up with those life changing ideas are from the same gene pool as those featured on America's Funniest Home Videos, Ridiculousness, or any reality show. Hard to fathom, no? Not only are we stupid but we're treated stupidly apparently for our own good. This is notable  in the signs, labels and warnings we see every day. So some of you are saying "But Rich, you've mentioned this before". Yes, yes I have! This however is more of my master list of stupid, pointless signs, labels and warning I literally see almost every day. So...

1) The drinking fountain a the gym has a sign that reads "No spitting in drinking fountain" then amended to say "no spitting gum in drinking fountain". Either action is so obviously something a child shouldn't do let alone a gym full of "adults" that a sign should not be necessary. Last night at the gym there was a giant wad of green gum in the drinking fountain

2) Same gym at least 10 signs which state "No Cell Phone Use" while the machines, cardio equipment and locker rooms are chock full of guessed it, on their phones

3) On the lawn of a church near my house the sign reads "Please Don't Curb Your Dog On Our Lawn". I'd think for most normal folk that would be obvious

4) Conversely the park I sometimes walk around has dozens and dozens of signs imploring dog owners to pick up their dogs feces. Since half the dogs are nowhere near their owners, and large piles of shit remain on the path, I'm sure it was someone else s dog's shit

5) The always busy on-ramp on my way to work with the sign that says "No Turns". Honestly, anyone stupid enough to try and take a 180 degree turn to drive the wrong way on that ramp deserves what they get. (on a side not that ramp also features a sign that reads "Yield" that as far as I can recall no one has ever heeded)

6) The plastic bags that nearly everything comes packed in has to read "This Is Not A Toy" for fear of a child suffocating. Fine except the fact the most likely victims of this would be children too young to read the warning. Any parent who encourages it as a toy should be suffocated

Our coffee cups tell us the liquid is hot, water bottles list water as an ingredient, drain cleaner warns us not to drink it,  we have signs on the highway telling us it's illegal to text and drive and we can't enter an establishment that serves food without being reminded that consuming undercooked meat is bad (and overcooked meat a crime) and to inform our server if we have any food allergies. It's a wonder we ever made it this far without this explicit set of instructions since man walked upright

My old boss prescribed to the theory you have to spell everything out to people explicitly or they are bound to not understand (or try and twist ambiguous language to their advantage). I feel the opposite. I still think people should be able to think things out for themselves but prefer not to think at all. Think about it...

Mama says, "Stupid is as stupid does." Forrest Gump