Friday, September 17, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears Part II

Alright everyone. Time for installment two. I would use this cool trick to link to the first post in the series... but if you scroll down you'll find it without my help. I am slightly disappointed that my cool trick is worthless in this situation. I guess I need more cool tricks.

Anyway, we've (or rather, me've) analyzed blood, now it's time for sweat. Again, feel free to post your own thoughts.


Once again, I shall turn to my faithful friend, Wiki. Wiki says that Perspiration (sweating, transpiration, or diaphoresis) is the production of a fluid consisting primarily of water as well as various dissolved solids (chiefly chlorides), that is excreted by the sweat glands in the skin of mammals.

Though I understand like... 5% of this, sweat also apparently contains the chemicals or odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol), as well as a small amount of urea.

Hmm... what the...? Hopefully you got something out of that, because it flew way up over my head. Yes, I was, am and probably ever shall be hopeless in all matters pertaining to biology.

Moving on to simpler things (before my brain explodes and makes a disgusting mess on the keyboard), we all know why we sweat. Recapping, though not as an insult to your intelligence, we sweat to cool down. That fluid evaporates and boom! You're a little bit cooler.

Thus, sweat is essential. We need it. Can't move and groove without it. Yet most of us find sweat all together unpleasant. It stinks. Literally. And as a general rule, stinking is a rather negative and highly unattractive thing. Not to mention the lovely sensation of being sticky and smelly at the same time. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. You weren't born yesterday and we all sweat.

Going back to the theme of blood, sweat and tears being human offerings, I think about when we sweat. When you are active, you sweat, yes? So let's think about human activity. We do things for two main reasons: work and pleasure. Work to support our existence and maintain our lives and pleasure to recover from that work. Perhaps this is the reason we dislike sweat? Because we dislike work? Because we are lazy? That's not a very complimentary thought. It would also be grossly overgeneralising. But I dare say many people are lazy. I know I am.


Now, me being me, an Allan Jackson song comes to mind. It's called Hard Hat and A Hammer. Funny thing is that the song has no mention of sweat, which is truly a testament to the way my brain works. But sweat is implied, in my opinion. The song is about working, and working hard. The end of the refrain is: God bless the working man. He calls this man the "kind of glue that sticks this world together" and the "cradle of the promised land". I would have to agree with Mr. Jackson.

Working hard, or sweating, is what we need to do to stay alive, and it's a noble thing to do. It's the 'right' thing to do, which is why we find satisfaction in a job well done. We are 'wired' to work, as it were. Not to compare humanity to an electrical device, but I think you know what I'm trying to convey here.

I like this song because it represents work and working as hard as you can as a noble thing, but a simple thing. So many of as aspire for higher things. So many of us distain work. So many of us want to get to the top with the least effort possible. And why? Why do we think we can get there without hard work?

Because we are lazy, and we don't want to sweat.


If you are paying any attention to the state of affairs in this country today, you know that obesity is a major problem. You know how many people are put at risk for all sort of health problems and diseases because of their weight. You also know how hard many people find it to exercise, for all sorts of reasons. For some of us, we are too busy. For others, our physical state restricts us to the point where it is painful or impossible. For others still, we are lazy.

I find it both intriguing and disgusting that people are dying of both starvation and obesity at the same time. How on earth do we let this happen? I suppose the "earth" and those of us upon it would be the answer.

I am not trying to oversimplify complicated things. Because I know that not every obese person is lazy, nor does every obese person overeat. I also know that one person feels helpless in the face of these problems. I'm not saying there is a simple solution the rest of the world is ignoring and I am this great genius who figured it all out. If I was, I'd be on TV fixing all your problems instead of writing this generally worthless blog. I'm just thinking out loud.

I know that when I exercise, I feel so much better. It relieves tension, improves circulation (blood...) and releases those delightful endorphins we all like so much. I feel satified and "right".

We need to move. We need to work hard. Modern life does not afford us the difficulties it did 70 years ago when we lived and worked off the land to stay alive. No, now we drive to the store and log on the the Internet to stay alive. Seeing a little difference?


Did you catch that interesting connection between blood and sweat. Blood pumps more when you move, yes? Warms you up, causing you to sweat, yes? (I do dearly love connections, no matter how vague they may be.)

Imagine again, you heart pumping. Only now, you are running, the wind whistling you your ears.

PUMP...PUMP...PUMP, goes your heart

SLAP...SLAP...SLAP, your feet on the ground.

And soon, you start to feel it burning a little bit. In your legs, arms, and in your chest. Then you're getting a little warmer and you reach up to push back a strand of hair when you feel it. Warm and wet on your hand. Sweat. Keep it up and soon it'll be on your back and torso, sliding down your forehead and beading on your lip. Sticky and salty. When finally stop, you gasp for air. You're heart feels like a galloping horse in your chest, trying to slow down. If you've been running, hard and hot, you my friend, are covered in sweat.

How does it feel...? Satisfying? Relieving? Good?



It seems to me that it has become abundantly clear that we have a love/hate relationship with sweat. It's good for us, but we don't like it. We can find pleasure in it, but it also hurts us. You know what I call that? I call that life. That's the way it is. It's unfair, it's hard and it's bitter. But it's also beautiful, good and sweet. You can't have one without the other. Perhaps acceptance is the key to taking the bitter with the sweet. Or maybe even embracing those things. If you want to love life, what do you love? All of it or some of it?

Maybe we need to develop a tasty for salty water.

1 comment:

  1. Salty water.. sweat being glue gross!
    Seriously though very thoughtful and thought provoking, I cant wait for the next part!!