Robert Mankoff is Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker
Mr. Mankoff is, in our opinion, one of America’s greatest cartoonists. He has recently published an article on Running from a his personal runner-cartoonist perspective. He expresses a lot of what we secreted in our internal dialogue back when we were runners. “Don’t all human endeavors have a degree of absurdity? Even the most Ancient Greece-y ones? Our time on earth is finite, so why waste it running errands, let alone a marathon? The distance itself—26.2 miles—is only slightly less cockamamie than pi. What does it measure in the grand scheme of things? Why wake up at 5:30 A.M. to pull on those smelly old sneakers, stumble outdoors into the frigid autumn air, and jog down the same empty streets over and over and over again?”
As scientists, we know why we do CrossFit, try to eat well and try, generally, to stay sane. We will enjoy life more if we do. Maintaining muscle mass, bone strength, coordination and balance is good in the long run no matter how you look at it. And sure, it helps us avoid our fears of aging and vulnerability. It only takes about 20 minutes, compared to a Marathon’s hours. Still, there is plenty of bitter sweet humor, humanity and absurdity in CrossFit.
Does humor extend life and protect health?
Unfortunately no one knows the answer to this question yet. But it tends to make us feel better and that’s good on its own. We would love to see Mr. Mankoff tackle CrossFit. Even if he made us look silly. He would probably make us look human. Like ourselves. It might do a lot to tamp some of CrossFit’s image as the Kingdom of Megalomania.
Here’s a few references for anyone interested in humor research.
Dyck, Kyle T.H. (2013-07–1) Understanding humor styles and well-being: The importance of social relationships and gender. , 55(1), 53-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.01.023
Pressman SD, & Cohen S (2012). Positive emotion word use and longevity in famous deceased psychologists. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 31 (3), 297-305 PMID: 21928902