Pictured: One exhausting hike in the mountains, according to my fucking phone.

We live in a world of technological wonder, or at least we think we do. Five years from now, of course, we’ll wonder what we did back in the stone ages when we didn’t have high-def porn streamed directly into our brains (answer: get shit done), but for right now we feel like we are on the cutting edge of a brave, new world, one in which our phones are advanced enough to tell us that we’re all a bunch of lard-asses.

I, like many people, have an exercise app installed on my smartphone. It allows me to track my physical activity throughout the day, count the calories burned, while making me feel intense guilt on those days when the most strenuous thing I do is lift a taco to my mouth. But, in a clever ploy dreamt up by computer programmers that eat bean dip in bulk, my exercise app gives me an incentive to be physical: Levels.

Allow me to explain how this works. When I first started using the application, I was a slovenly Level One bag of stationary genetic material, no more likely to do something that involved actual motion than a wad of gum on the underside of a table. But, gritty and determined, I managed to perform athletic feats so astounding that I rose to Level Two: I walked a mile. Now, of course, Level Three beckoned, but it would not be as easily attained as Level Two. Oh, no. Each level becomes progressively harder to hit, forcing you to continually push yourself until you are at peak physical fitness, or you give up and eat an entire box of Mallomars in the dark while weeping.

Amazingly, I find that this system works for me, which is totally batshit insane if you think about it.

Doctor: Greg, if you exercise regularly, you’ll look and feel better, be better able to ward of disease and depression, and you’ll live a longer and more satisfying life.

Me: Meh.

Exercitement for the iPhone:  If you walk ten miles this week, I’ll show you a picture of a medal with the words “Level Three!” on it.

Me: Woo-hoo!

A new level, oh boy!

A new level, oh boy!

So I find myself staying active and using these handy apps to keep track of my progress. Or at least I do until they piss me off. I used to have an app that would display the numbers of calories that I’d burn along with a food equivalent. It sounds like a good idea, but it turned out to be terribly depressing.

For instance (and this really happened, mind you), one weekend I went on a very strenuous hike in the Superstition Mountains, and used my app to track my progress. I hiked 12.5 miles in heavy mountains while wearing a 25 pound pack. Every step involved climbing up, or climbing down. It was an exhausting affair, and when I looked down at my app at the end of it, I noted with satisfaction that I’d burned an incredible amount of calories.

“You’ve burned off the equivalent of four avocados!” my phone informed me. This enraged me. Four fucking avocados? After all that work? Look, I know avocados have a lot of calories in them, but after busting your ass in the mountains with a heavy pack all day, you want a much more substantial food equivalent.

“You’ve burned off an extra large plate of spaghetti and Charleston Chew bars, covered with whipped cream, and chased down with six gallons of soda.” This is what I expected. Four fucking avocados? Bullshit! That app had to go. It had already pissed me off by telling me once that I’d burned off a plum (OOH! A whole plum?), but this was too much. Any thoughts I might have had about keeping the app vanished when I got home and weighed myself, only to discover that I had gained a pound. This was clearly the app’s fault, and I deleted it with extreme prejudice (I deleted it, then had a beer). Now I only use applications that know what’s good for them and award me virtual trophies while keeping their fucking avocados to themselves.

Hey, how many avocados did I burn off doing that? Huh?

Hey, how many avocados did I burn off doing that? Huh?

You know what would work a lot better? If the human body did away with the whole gradual weight loss bullshit. Look, if I sit down and eat six pounds of fudge, I gain six pounds instantly, right? Why doesn’t it work the other way around? If I’m busting my ass in the mountains and I’ve burned off a pound, that pound should just fucking fall right off of me, right then and there. If you actually saw the progress, that would be way more of an incentive than your phone showing you photos of a medal.

Oh, sure, it’d be kind of gross. Jogging trails would be covered in blobs of discarded fat. It’d be like walking through Oprah’s personal lipo clinic, although to be fair I don’t think Oprah leaves that shit lying around. I heard she uses it to insulate her house. But it would be a small price to pay for the ultimate in instant feedback. Even better, your body could change color in strategic areas to tell you what impact further exercise would have. Red areas would go away, and green areas would grow larger with muscle mass.

This, quite frankly, is a wonderful idea, and if ObamaCare doesn’t provide this for us, I don’t know why the fuck anyone voted for him.

Ok, I have to go. My phone has just informed me that I still have 700 points to go to reach Level 22, so I’m going to go for a run. Right after I eat these four avocados.