Once upon there were these two turtles. They had been friends since they started walking to school together. Most people don’t know that turtles only are allowed to take the bus until they get to the second grade. Then they have to walk. I think it has something to do with their shells and some sort of international bus transportation code regarding moving shells across the ocean floor. Not that they were necessarily sea turtles, because turtle bureaucracy is not very advanced, so when they create one law, it applies to turtles everywhere.
So these two turtles were walking home from school, where they liked to stop and play a few rounds of video games at their favorite ice cream shop. Another thing people don’t know about turtles is that they love ice cream. If you don’t believe me, you can go out and find a turtle, if you don’t already have one, and feed it some ice cream. But you must be careful though, you don’t want to give it a head freeze from eating ice cream too fast. One of the disadvantages of being a turtle is that they can’t reach up and grab their heads when they get a brain freeze from eating ice cream too fast. And although grabbing your head doesn’t actually do anything to decrease the length and severity of a brain freeze, it does give you the illusion of control, as if massaging your temples will cool down your brain temperatures back into the normal range. You’d be surprised at the amount of things that people do that don’t have any real effect, but we do them anyways because we think it gives us some sort of psychological advantage.
The other day I was talking to my friend about this. We were watching this couple walk by, and they were obviously exercising. We could tell they were exercising by the way they were walking. Instead of just letting their arms swing normally, like you do when you walk, they had them held up at a ninety degree angle and were pumping them as they were walking. Our discussion kind of spiraled in two different directions.
The first direction was when my friend said they were doing that, and not really getting any benefit out of it. Maybe had they been wearing weighted armbands or something. I haven’t read any studies where they compared how many calories you burned while purposely swinging your arms versus letting them swing naturally, so I wasn’t convinced either that there was any real benefit to walking like that.
Then my friend suggested that they weren’t exercising strictly for the calorie burn. Many people have discovered that exercising gives a solid boost to your self-esteem. And perhaps the boost in self-esteem is not really related to the actual amount of calories that you burned, but the perceived effort. I thought that made some sense, until my friend suggested a third reason for their apparent simple actions.
He suggested that they were actually trying to achieve an improved image in the eyes of the society at large. He said he had seen them before, and one of the reasons he remembered them was because of the way they were swinging their arms so much. So perhaps they were looking for some kind of recognition of sorts. Perhaps they wanted to be known locally as the couple that exercises together. That in itself might suggest yet another reason for the arm swinging. Perhaps if they created an image of themselves as the couple that exercised together, it would strengthen their marriage (if that indeed is what they shared).
Perhaps they were swinging their arms for altogether different reasons. Maybe they saw somebody on TV doing it, and thought it looked cool. Perhaps they are some kind of a mix of all the things together, and more that they have yet to discover. It’s really amazing when you really dig deep into the meaning that you see in the world.
You see this, and you think it means something, but the more you decide to wonder about this, the more you can realize there are so many different meanings to choose from, you can choose this to mean anything you like. And nobody will be the wiser. (Except for you, of course.)
So the turtles finished playing their video game. They had their parent’s permission of course, as long as they didn’t spend more than a dollar each on the game, and that the dollar had to come out of their allowance. They had learned earlier that they had to save their resources to spend how they liked, because everybody knows that when you are out of resources, you need to find a way to get more. Of course, sometimes finding more resources is more fun than actually spending them. Which is exactly what those two turtles did.