Thursday, March 3, 2011

We Are All Lab Rats

Consider the common labratory rat, also known as  Rattus Norvegicus*.

That's me, on the left.

Lab rats are not volunteers.  God or fate caused them to be born or placed into a particular lab, where they would undergo certain experiments on their bodies or behavior.   Not all rats in the Rattus Norvegicus species are alike.

Some are bred for obesity. 
Others for hypertension. 
Others for calm demeanor,
or hyperactivity,
or strength,
or size,
or intelligence.

Still with me? 

All of these rats, though they are of the same species, are bred for different purposes.  Before they are a day old, they already have preferences and limitations that separate them from the other rats.

You know what I'm talking about if you've ever been to a pet store.  Take a look at the rats.  Some of them are running on that spinning wheel, literally going nowhere (and probably loving it), while other rats are just laying there, watching the spazz-rat on the wheel. 

I am the spectator rat, watching that spinning spazz-rat...wondering WHY he is running on that stupid wheel.

My point is this:  I did not choose my breeding or my dna.  My ancestry is a mish-mash of Northern European countries but the most dominant heritage seems to be Norwegian.  Ever see a skinny Norwegian?  This is a country that is known for their pastries (because their entrees are no delicacy, trust me). 

I didn't choose my dna and neither did any of you.

I have friends who struggle with alcohol.  They can't have just one drink.  One drink turns into 6 or 12.    I don't happen to have that affliction with drink, but I have it with food.

Yet, I have other friends who eat garbage, never exercise and weigh about 165 (yes, Crazy Jim, I am talking about you).  As a lab rat, maybe they were bred for different experiments that are unknown to me. 

Other rats seem to be super-rats.  Be honest now...some of you lab-rats out there have a natural appetite for speed, healthy foods or activity.  Some of you have always LOVED running on that wheel, right?

As a rat, what is in my dna?  Decent intelligence, a sense of humor, above-average height and an appetite like Winnie-the-Pooh.  I like to be with my friends, eat sweets and exercise as little as possible (which is why I tend to look like Pooh bear). 

And yet, I know that my brain is much larger than a rat's brain and we, unlike the lab rats, are able to make choices of what we eat and how we move.  We have freedom...we can unlock the rat cage and make our own choices. 

So, what's the problem? 

Here it is:  Some of us rats forget that we have that power of choice.  We have short memories and we forget that we can get out of the cage.  So, we wake up each morning, see that we are still in our cage and get ready for a full day of overeating and a comfortable chair.  We just follow along with dna and overeat or overdrink, or live that no-exercise lifestyle.

I am a rat, who is slowly and ploddingly trying to overcome my dna.

Anyone out there feel me?

Big Clyde

 *  By the way, it is a weird coincidence that the common lab rat is called Rattus Norvegicus.  Me and lab rats, both seem to come from Norway. 


Kimberley said...

For me that power of choice was lost during a mind/body disconnect...they have reconnected and now I get it.

We all get it in our own time and in our own way. Sounds like you get it too!!!

J said...

I just wish I hadn't waited so long to choose this new lifestyle!

I, too, struggle with food (addiction?).

Deep thoughts, Big Clyde!

Hope you are feeling better.

Raegun said...

I'm having flashbacks to my university days....too many hours spent in the behavioural psych lab doing tests with rats just as you described!

It's true though. Funny thing is, I think I started out as the spazz-rat and learned the lazy guys had it easier or something. Ha!

PS: for the record, Rae has never harmed an animal! ;)

Megan said...

I feel ya. I sometimes read blogs of super fast, fit people and get jealous that it all comes so naturally to them. They were born "running the wheel." I remind myself to be proud of what I've accomplished, and focus on beating my PERSONAL records, not someone else's crazy times.

Michael said...

I feel you! Do you read my husband's blog? His post from yesterday kind of addresses this..check it out.

Warning - he's kind of one of those lab rates who's genetically destined for greatness :)

John Romeo Alpha said...

I feel you, although also being of stoic Nordic descent, I am reluctant to talk about feelings in general, although I am capable of growing misty-eyed about dried salted cod fish.

Jessica said...

Who you callin' a rat? :) Very thought provoking Clyde.