Or maybe I should rephrase the title of this piece to the more positive: “How to live longer when born short”.
Before the reader continues, I should say a line or two of warning: I am warming up to write for a health blog in need of about 300 words weekly on wellness.
No one recruited me. I suspect only my sister believes I can get away with writing about exercise and stuff.
When she had a brainstorm this week at her train station, she called to say her friend, who’s married to the blogger, needs someone to cobble words to simplify the scientific breakthroughs in the Web to extend our common lot.
I read sci fi; I don’t touch science. I feel well because I don’t see any doctor who’ll give me a second opinion.
Yet, since I made my sister miss her train and used up 36 minutes of her international call allowance just thinking about reasons why I can’t chirp about wellness, I committed to “give it a try” before she clicked off.
Why not wellness?
Am I not Asian? Don’t a lot of Eastern beliefs say this life is overrated anyway and we should look beyond the present and its petty desires?
Well, I’m Third World, too, and need the income. I connected to the Internet and encountered, instead of Enlightenment, a study made by Finnish scientists, who found that “short people are 50 percent more likely than tall people to die prematurely of heart disease.”
The review of three million people was published in the European Heart Journal, according to smh.com.au. Next to advanced age, obesity and high cholesterol levels, short stature puts one at risk of a sudden coronary exit.
I immediately googled to convert my fully-stretched-out five feet into meters, and found out that, after multiplying by 0.3048, I am 1.524 meters. This definitely lumps me in the study’s categories of shortness: less than 1.53 meters for women, 1.65 meters for men.
Was that my old ticker skipping a beat? Feeling light-headed, I yearned for a sweaty can of chilled Coke but got instead a glass of water, distilled, no ice, as folk wisdom asserts a cold shock after a bad shock is too many shocks. I don’t want to jump from endangered to extinct before I can make good on my promise to my sister.
As a disciple of wellness, I must seek the silver lining behind this rude medical fact.
Scientists are debating one theory that holds that shorter people have smaller coronary arteries. Apparently, size matters when poor nutrition and other incidents clog arteries early in life.
So now I’m thrice oppressed: I’m born short, with weight issues, and living in Cebu, where eating well—make that feasting—is a daily accident. Perhaps in my next life, I will be born with a proboscis and a cast-iron resistance to “lechon,” “kinuposan,” “chicharon carajay,” “pinabutok,” “humba,” “lao-lao” and “tuslob-buwa”.
Acceptance is key. So I choked down the whining that was rising with my bile and concentrated on penetrating my inner confusion to find the bloody silver lining: “Short people should not be worried (as) height is only one factor… People… can control their weight (and) lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking and exercise,” pointed out the University of Helsinki researchers.
That’s fine: I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t exercise.
After I write this, I found my breakthrough. When my sister calls me next month, I’m going to chirp how I found my inner unwellness by trying to be a wellness blogger. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ mayettetabada.blogspot.com/ 0917-3226131)
* First published in Sun.Star Cebu’s Aug. 15, 2010 issue of “Matamata”