What’s Your Position on Positions?

Note: this post is NOT intended to elicit sympathy toward the author. If you notice any indications to the contrary, please feel free to slap her, remotely (there must be an emoji for that)–or just close the page.

These past couple of weeks I’ve been forced to think quite a bit about positions. Not political ones; I mean physical: lying down, sitting, and standing. Injuries acquired in the service of democracy* have me no longer taking these simple options for granted.

*turns out when you spend hours and hours and hours writing letters and making phone calls to voters, sitting at a table which is just SLIGHTLY the wrong height, your back takes its revenge.

Still worth it. I think.

Before my back started hurting, I was all about sitting. Like many jobs, working as a baker is about 98% bipedal, but I took every 2% chance I got to set my butt down, between rounds of butterhorns. (That doesn’t sound quite right, but you know what I mean.)

OK, these are not actually butterhorns…but gooey enough to be close. (photo courtesy Holly B’s Bakery)

Now? Sitting is the enemy. Even perching makes me pay a price. So what the heck. Let’s celebrate some of the gifts of the other positions, shall we?

LYING DOWN. Good for:

Sleeping–duh. And sex. And reading–like my latest recommendation, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. If you’re looking for short, lyrical pieces that fill you with the desire to go sit (or lie) in your favorite woods, and bring those woods to you if you’re stuck somewhere un-woodsy–this is your book. Get two copies, one for yourself and one for someone you care about.

Bad for:

Zoom. I really, really dislike seeing my future, double-chinned self staring back at me when I Zoom horizontally.

Not my favorite look.

STANDING. Good for:

When someone hands you a puppy.

Though in fairness, I would also have accepted this gift sitting down.

Appreciating sunsets.


Locomoting–which brings you to places where people might hand you a puppy, or to places of extra beauty. (It’s not impossible to locomote from a horizontal or sitting position–just harder.)

Pictured: place of extra beauty.

Bad for:

Knees. Also dizziness induced by drugs taken for back pain.

Which brings us back to…

SITTING. Good for:

Knees. (At least mine.)

All social situations where lying down isn’t quite appropriate (even if you wish it were).

Just sayin’–burgers while reclining could end…badly.

Bad for:

Me, right now. Which is why I’ve written this all on my back (not literally; now THAT would take some dexterity).

But–that fact, above? It’s actually a “good for,” because…well, look. What better time than a global pandemic to start appreciating things as basic as Sitting, Standing, and Lying Down?

Which is YOUR favorite? Tell me why.

Live Long and Prosper…With Puppies

Forget multivitamins or fish oil, or whatever’s billed as the secret to longevity these days. The REAL secret is not just to live long, but to live long HAPPILY. Right? And I know the secret to that: puppies.

It’s true; I have proof. The other day I called back home to North Carolina, expecting a nice long chat with my 80 year-old mom. My dad picked up, but instead of the usual, “Hi–let me get your mother,” he said, “Martha’s at a meeting.”

“Oh.” OK, this is going to be a short phone call. “Well, how are you? What’s been going on?”

Plenty, apparently. He started talking–mostly about the two new puppies he and my mom just brought home. They’ve been sending pictures, so this wasn’t news.

"We couldn't choose between them, so we got them both!"

“We couldn’t choose between them, so we got them both!”

What WAS news was how much OTHER news my dad had to share. We talked about his recent trip. My recent trip. The puppies. A book he loved. A book I loved. The puppies. My children/his grandchildren. My cousin. Puppies.

When I hung up, my phone informed me we’d been talking on the phone for FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES. For my practically phone-phobic, 85 year-old, serious scientist dad? That’s a world record by more than double.

At first I couldn’t figure out what had made him so chatty. Then it came to me: he’s happy! He’s practically giddy with joy. And why wouldn’t he be? He has these guys to play with:

Don't you just feel happier already?

Don’t you just feel happier already?

I KNOW, right?

I’m not really suggesting anyone give up vitamins or fish oil. But I do think it’s worth considering the power of something utterly charming to boost the latter years of a long life. I’m going to remember that when I’m 85.