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Dear readers, it may seem to you that all humans are more or less the same shape, but on closer inspection with the aid of a suitable probe, you will notice marked differences, and if you check the catalogues compiled by the Earth Liaison Unit, you’ll see that there are many ways of classifying humans according to their morphology.

This is possibly why many humans are obsessed by their own shapes, but it’s hard to understand why the emphasis is often on the negative side, e.g. humans tend to claim that they are too tall or not tall enough, too broad around the abdomen or too thin in that region, and so on. This dissatisfaction prompts humans to get in shape, a phrase that actually means, attain a different shape.

The human body seems relatively pliable, and human musculature can be developed through vigorous physical activity. This can be achieved through physical labour, but on Earth, the physical challenges undertaken are usually arbitrary and fulfil no useful function. For instance, weights are repeatedly lifted up, only to be put down again. Individuals and groups will go outside and run in a circle, arriving back at their starting point with, believe it or not, a glowing sense of achievement. You may recall that in the early days of our presence on the planet, the crowds of brightly clothed runners charging through the trees were mistaken for armed units of resistance. In those cases, running was certainly not good for the health of the participants, and let it suffice to say that the potential threats were eliminated. The mistake was only realised much later, and by then, in areas such as Central Park, the fires had almost completely gone out and craters were already filling up with water, so it was a case of least said, soonest erased from history.

There is one very promising aspect to the way that earthlings tackle the challenge of body modification. In order to achieve the desired outcomes, the exercise rituals are often organised using rigorous schedules, detailed progress charts, strict monitoring regimes, and colour coded graphs. Yes, I hear you squeal with delight. The process is almost Gloabon-like in its efficiency, and if only humans could stick to their plans, who knows what heights they might reach?

Unfortunately, the human who compiles a set of goals in the first month of the solar year has usually abandoned it by the second. And of those that make it beyond that point, very few are capable of sustaining the effort.

Some do though. These humans are classified as in shape, and they are the envy of all. Sadly, the human frame seems to require much more maintenance than ours. In order to stay in shape, constant exercise is needed, and so the getting in shape routine becomes a never-ending task.

On Gloabon, the government kindly provides physical exercise on the swamp clearance program for anyone who clearly needs a workout, but humans prefer to arrange their own activities, and certainly, when our integration personnel tried to organise the populace into working parties, our government’s efforts were not well received, despite the generous rewards on offer. There was never any question of enforcement since all forms of slavery are abhorrent to us, but the humans were determined to misconstrue our motives, and so the initiative was abandoned.

So if, during your visit to Earth, you see groups of people striking strange poses, dashing around aimlessly, or pedalling a two-wheeled vehicle furiously but with no apparent destination in mind, do not be alarmed or confused. They are not a threat. They are simply trying to modify their morphology, and they cannot be persuaded to spend their time more usefully. Instead, simply observe them. I find that with their bright clothing and their endless movement, they are a soothing sight. I believe that humans experience the same sensation when watching small fish swimming in a glass tank or similar vessel, and as I gaze at a herd of lumbering joggers meandering between the craters, occasionally falling over or crying out for something called a defibrillator, I take a deep breath and become calm.

Try watching them for a while. Relax. But for pity’s sake, please don’t try and join in because it will undoubtedly lead to a misunderstanding, and believe me, a stampede of joggers is not a pretty sight.

Peace, fellow Gloabons



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