It started simple enough.
First, there was the Canadian study that called sitting “the new smoking.”
People dismissed it as hyperbole … until the second report, which said that even with exercise, those who spent most of their day sitting had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death.
Suddenly, people began regretting branding their office mates with standing desks weirdos. Dumps began filling up with chairs. The government eventually got involved, once they realized how much money was going into keeping these unhealthy sitters alive.
There were PSAs aimed at teaching kids that they didn’t have to sit to be cool. Parent’s groups branded sitting as a gateway to lying down, which of course was a gateway to premarital sex. Any kids seen sitting together were labeled troublemakers and miscreants.
Sitting was banned inside offices, restaurants and bars. For the holdouts who refused to give up sitting, designated areas were created outside of buildings. On rainy days, you’d see them huddled together on benches shivering, talking about how someday they were going to quit.
Then there were the lawsuits. La-Z-Boy was the first to face litigation, with a class action lawsuit alleging that they deliberately hid the risks of sitting. The jury scowled at the Lay-Z-Boy lawyers as they stood uncomfortably in the jury box for the entire trial. They deliberated in record time, awarding millions to the plaintiffs. Their plants shut down. It became impossible to purchase chairs for home use.
Car companies scrambled to make standing automobiles, but by the time the first one got out of prototype stage most people in major cities had already switched over to electric scooters. The major American automobile companies pleaded for another bailout as they once again began hemorrhaging money, but their cries fell on deaf ears.
Eventually there was some pushback. The public can be fickle. Once a new report claimed that high fructose corn syrup might actually be good for you, that became the new hot button issue. The sitting ban remained in place, but supporters became less vocal.
Organized crime seized on this. An underground supply of chairs surfaced, with shoddily-constructed wooden monstrosities going for thousands of dollars on the black market. “Siteasies” were formed in the basements of bars, with patrons using secret passwords to gain access to a dimly-lit room with stiff benches and bathtub gin.
At first, local police and the federal government were willing to look the other way. But then things got bloody. An underground shipment of barcaloungers coming out of Detroit was intercepted by a rival crime family, who stole the goods and torched the trailer … with the driver and his protectors still inside it.
The bloodshed spilled out into the streets. Secret factories were blown up. Men gunned down. The masses began to feel unsafe.
The President vowed to crack down on organized crime. The FBI made a show of executing a few high profile busts, making sure the TV cameras were there when they dragged the sofas and loveseats out of the storage facilities.
But then reports came out that members of Congress had their own secret chair supplies. Stories of lavish sitting parties where high-priced prostitutes sat on congressmen’s laps while they snorted coke off of the armrests came to light. The electorate was not amused.
The President did his best to change the narrative when a new report came out claiming that high fructose corn syrup was bad for you again. He vowed to outlaw it in hopes of rallying the people, but they had lost faith in the government.
Instead, embarrassed and defeated, congress repealed the ban on sitting. People still weren’t satisfied, so they legalized drugs too … even the hard ones. And gay marriage. And, late one night after a few adult beverages, cock fighting.
It took a while to find an equilibrium. But eventually people found a way to sit for a few hours without overindulging. As the research data continued to shift and reports of how much sitting was too much continued to change, people just adjusted to the new data without complaining. (It probably helped that most of the were high on legalized angel dust.)
After a fair amount of tinkering, scientists were able to lock down an exact path to living a healthy, prolonged life. And the life expectancy for humans skyrocketed up to an astonishing 267 years.
That is, until the robots took over.
But that, my friends, is a story for another day.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.