At 37 I would most likely have been dead had I been born in the Middle Ages. At the very least my teeth would have rotted out, and I would have been immobile, smelling quite bad under a fur rug in a dark hovel I still shared with my wife, nine children, their children, eight dogs (all unfathomably called Lucy) and a sack of last autumn’s wheat. These days that was just the age at which I had my first child. I am told 37 is not unaccountably ancient to be spawning, but I am still sure that this relatively late age will either keep me young or make me very old, incredibly fast.
As a result I am now more aware of my health than at any point before. If my child is as tardy as I have been, I will have to make it to 74 just to see my grandson, and a near impossible 148 if I want to drool in the face of my great-great-grandson. Despite this, finding the inspiration to drop a few kilograms has been hard. Seventy-four seems so far away, and no one is saying I am not going to make it there if, instead of exercising, I sit on the couch and eat a loaf of bread in the dark.
There is one thing that could help though. When my son was born we put up a photo of him fresh from the womb, and probably feeling more than a little put out, onto Facebook where we told the world the date of his birth, his length and crucially his weight. Every year we celebrate the increasing years, and grandma’s doorway will eventually attest to his increasing height, but nowhere do we record ongoing weight for posterity. Why bother writing down the weight in the first place, if you have zero intention of mapping just how fat a person was each year, and most importantly at the moment of death?
As someone whose deeds are highly unlikely to go down in history, a gravestone that captured beginning and end weight would possibly provide the inspiration I need to let myself go a little less. Either that or give a hint as to why I died so young. And as with babies, relatives could gather around your freshly deceased, and naked corpse to capture pictures, gather likes on Facebook, and compare the state of you, with the ruin your other relatives made of themselves in life. Maybe if we did this it would galvanise us into looking after ourselves a little better, but more likely it would only make the indignity of a smelly, immobile death under a rug, in a dark hovel seem appealing. At least you could eat bread under there.