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In the simplest sense, my job is to stand in one spot and talk to people. So I do. As anyone in a similar job would agree, this can be great. When it’s great, I feel like I’m really helping people, like I’m doing a good job, and I’m doing good at my job. However, it can also be the absolute worst.

Recently, I was standing, AKA doing my job. And to be able to stand for 6 hours a day, I often have to shift around, switch my weight from one leg to the other, walk around in little circles, or do little stretches here and there. Well, I suppose one man took offense to my particular position. He got about one foot away from my face and asked, “Do you know why your back is sore?” (My back was not sore.) All I was able to say was, “Because the floors are uneven?” before he launched into a 5 minute lecture about my posture.

Lecture highlights:

  • I’m sticking my butt out too much.
  • I need to stand taller, as if there was a book balancing on the top of my head.
  • He’s not going to do it, but if he pinched the top of my butt, I would feel the way my spine is supposed to feel.
  • The uneven floors are not an excuse.
  • He used to march, so he knows what he’s talking about.
  • My weight should never be on one foot only; it should always be distributed between both feet and between the balls and heels of my feet.
  • That last point takes effort, but I should do it.

Huh? Hear that?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

The only three.

The only three who?

The only three people, alive or dead, who could ever say that to me. Here they are.


* after I scheduled an appointment for my back pain.

I won’t go into specifics here, since I don’t know if my doctor is cool with that. But my doctor, like all doctors, has a medical degree. She went to a shitload of schooling to do her job. She has multiple degrees as proof of her studies and works at a fancy medical group in New York City.

I’d take advice from any medical professional, but especially my medical professional. If my back was sore, it’d be great advice! Because I would have told my doctor about the pain, instead of having a random stranger assume such a thing and put himself in a position to tell me how wrong I am. In the extremely rare chance that my actual doctor is reading this, it’s OK to mention this at my next appointment. I know my posture isn’t great, and I could use some helpful tips. Thank you, see you soon.

But my general practitioner can only do so much. Which brings us to number two on the list.


* the first chiropractor.

Doesn’t sound familiar? Here’s a quick history lesson. D.D.P. moved from Canada to the United States in 1865, deeply interested in the prominent medical theories at the time, like magnetic healing. In this field, he developed the theory that properly aligned spines/joints would restore health. Hence, the birth of chiropractic.

Naturally, I would take posture advice from the guy who invented the care of the human spine. I would be stupid not to. So, if this guy ever comes back from the grave, in a ghost, zombie, or other form, I would allow and even encourage him to talk to me about all things spine. Daniel David Palmer, if you can hear me, this is my official invitation back into this world. Help a girl out.

Final person on the list is not a member of the medical community, but is an authority on manners, i.e., posture.


* still standing (properly and often), at 91 years young.

A figure we all know (and love.) Fun fact: before she was coronated and officially became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, she served her country in World War II in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she was a driver and a mechanic. And you know the thing about mechanics? They’re used to being on their feet all day, contorted in weird positions to fix up those engines or combusters or whatever makes cars go. She continued her practice of being on her feet all the damn time while being Queen. Can you even imagine how many people she has to stand and receive at any given royal function?

So yeah, if the Queen wants me to have better posture, I’ll listen. One, because she’s a literal royal. And two, because she’s been ruling and physically killing it, for almost 70 years. Please tell me more about your ways. She made it this far and shows no sign of slowing down. And has had excellent posture this whole time! I’d be foolish not to listen to her sage advice.


So these are the only people I would ever listen to about my body. So strangers, listen up: it is not your job to go knock, knocking into my personal space.

Shannon Vail

The number one authority on giant squids and can eat 6-14 boxes of pasta a day according to a recent Twitter poll.

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