The Vapor Menace

by William Bedford

I’m surprised that the green guardians of the universe have not wised up to the most dangerous pollutant of all. This deadly threat to our well-being is (are you ready?) caused by the fitness industry and the millions of exercise nuts who support it. While fitness industry tycoons are working overtime trying to persuade everyone to shape up, no one is sounding the alarm that these same business owners are pushing a product every bit as dangerous to our health as secondhand smoke, chocolate chip cookies, and trans-fats. Lethium vaporium is the scientific name for the perspiration that’s being spread far and wide by exercise freaks who succumb to their addiction without any concern for the health of their fellow citizens.

Every thinking person is, of course, concerned with the pollution problem. Whether it's the fear of PCBs in our drinking water or of nuclear waste leaking into our lakes and rivers, pollution and its destructive effects are endlessly debated. Environmentalists constantly warn us to change our contaminating habits before we render the planet uninhabitable. But even the tree-huggers never mention the joggers and cyclists crowding our highways and byways all summer long, or the charlatans who promote exercise of every kind in order to fill their gyms and sell us their infernal exercise equipment, all of them quietly contributing to the biggest pollution problem of them all.

The fitness industry, paying no attention to the wise words of Mark Twain, “Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it goes away,” continuously bombards us with dire warnings about remaining overweight. Being slim and trim, these destroyers of the environment tell us, is the only path to good health, and being svelte, they assure us, also makes us more attractive to the opposite sex. But while we worry about such pollutants as auto exhaust fumes and acid rain, the perspiration shed by exercisers is slowly poisoning us all. (Have you ever stood next to a marathoner at the end of his race? Just thinking about it nauseates me.) Scientists are well aware of this deadly vapor but are afraid to release their data on it for fear of causing widespread panic.

So, what exactly is this Lethal Vapor? In a word: sweat. Although everyone perspires to a certain extent, it’s the millions of fitness fanatics—jogging, jumping, stretching, and straining in a never-ending battle to shed the lead—who are causing the deadly pollution problem. These health freaks likely never give a moment's thought to where all of their discarded blubber goes. They probably assume that their excess avoirdupois just vanishes into thin air. Well, they'd be half right. Body fat converted to sweat goes into the air all right, but it doesn't vanish, not by a long shot! These mountains of fat, exercised away day in and day out, mix with all the other pollutants in the air to create a deadly witch's brew that surely kills us, a little bit at a time, whenever we draw a breath.

So much for the bad news. The good news is that we can eliminate this Lethal Vapor if we have the political will. We must pressure our legislators immediately to do the following:
1) Outlaw all gyms and fitness clubs.
2) Ban all sports, both professional and amateur.
3) Make it a criminal offense for people to exercise for the sole purpose of losing weight.
4) Legislate the widespread use of “Perspiration Detectors” and jail anyone who is caught sweating more than is deemed necessary.

These measures will no doubt sound draconian to some. But before they work up a sweat about it, so to speak, they should consider the consequences of ignoring this deadly problem. The fact is, if we don't eradicate the Vapor Menace, and soon, we are all destined to perish from inhaling each other. Pogo wasn't kidding, you know, when he said: "I have met the enemy, and he is us."

Canadian Free Press “Poet in Residence” William Bedford was born in Dublin, Ireland, but he has lived in Toronto for most of his life. His poems and articles have appeared in many Canadian journals and in some American publications as well. He’s a pro at empty nesting—he has a daughter, three grandchildren (all engineers), and twin great-grandsons. William can be reached at:

home :: about :: features :: departments :: submissions :: archives :: subscribe :: contact

Empty Nest: A Magazine for Mature Families

© 2011 Spring Mount Communications

Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost.