” Armchair Eggplant”— A Mort Laitner Short Story

Armchair Eggplant


 By Mort Laitner


I just learned I have been infected with a new disease.

I’m sitting in front of my computer typing a story when public health nurse walks in and instantly diagnoses my horrifying malady.

He glares down at me and says, “Be careful, you’re developing a serious case of sitting disease.”

I inquire, “What the heck is sitting disease?”

The nurse responds in a tone meant only for children, “Desk bounders, like you, only walk 5,000 steps a day. Outdoor working folk average 15,000 steps a day.”

“You mean that I’m taking 10,000 less steps then those sanitarians out in the field?”

“Yup” he replies in a tone acknowledging my higher math skills.

“Where are you getting all this scientific knowledge from?” I ask.

“Some Doc at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He says you need to do more walking, standing and moving around while you’re working.”

Now the nurse tests me like he imagines I have a rare case of “thinking disease.”

“You must immediately increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis.”

“Say what?” I incredulously respond.

“You need to account for your daily movements and increase you caloric expenditures.”

“You’re not pulling my leg?”

“Nope, you heard of couch potatoes, haven’t you?


“Well you’re an armchair eggplant!”

“Has this Mayo doctor come up with any cures for sitting disease?” I wonder.

“Yup. Walk to lunch, have walk-and-talk meetings, pace while on the phone, stand when you talk to people, take the stairs. You can burn more calories each day. Make up for that 10,000 step deficiency. Just remember: YOU NEED TO MOVE MORE THOUGHOUT THE DAY.”

I lift my body off the chair, stand up, then I walk up to this nurse while extending my hand. We shake and I say, “Thanks buddy, this sounds like it’s going to be one fun activity. Let’s walk to lunch. I have a sudden urge for baba ganoush.”

Thanks to Heather VanNest, Tampa Bays10 for her story, Do you have “Sitting Disease?” and Dr. James Levine for his caring book, Move a Little, Lose a Lot

 The author recommends keeping this story on your desk as a reminder to get up and move around.








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