A Day in the Life at UNMC

My ‘Hercules Hypothesis’ will bring fame, funding to UNMC

And, on top of that, he got to hang out with Xena, Warrior Princess.

And, on top of that, he got to hang out with Xena, Warrior Princess.

Every so often, UNMC Today editor John Keenan will poke his head around the corner and ask, “Do you have any story ideas for Wellness Wednesday?”

Dude, you just caught me “shotgunning” a Diet Coke. Do I LOOK like I have any story ideas for Wellness Wednesday?

But now it occurs to me that I do have an idea for a fitness activity. It comes from a story that I heard as a kid, about Hercules, the superhero of Greek mythology. It seems that Hercules became so incredibly strong because when he was a boy, he had a pet calf. Every day he would lift this calf. Every day, the calf would grow, imperceptibly. Day to day, you’d never notice stuff like that. That’s why time-lapse photography is so mind-blowing. But by the time he was a teenager he was lifting a huge bull over his head. Next thing you know, he was the world’s strongest man.

And, on top of that, he got to hang out with Xena, Warrior Princess.
Also, he got to hang out with Xena, Warrior Princess.

This is my kind of workout plan. You never notice the weight getting any heavier, yet you get into good enough shape to fight lions and slay nine-headed hydras. Take that, 24-hour Fitness!

Then it hit me: I have young kids.* They’re always asking me to carry them. And they grow, every day – but you never notice it until you see a picture of them from six months ago.

* (Don’t worry. I’m not going to turn this blog into an excuse for showing you pictures of my kids. Although, trust me — they’re pretty cute.)

So, that’s it. Instead of stopping carrying them when they reach a certain age, like I usually do, I’ll just keep going. It will be my research project. Everyone at UNMC has a research project, why can’t I have one? I’ll lift my kids every day, they’ll keep growing, I’ll never notice, and by the time they turn 18 I’ll be built like The Incredible Hulk. It’s perfect!

Bruce (David?) Banner. Totally underrated scientist. He took Dr. Jekyll’s work to the next level. His problem was, he never understood the importance of taking your discoveries to the marketplace. Those stretchable pants he developed would have really sold.
Bruce (or was it David?) Banner. Totally underrated scientist. He took Dr. Jekyll’s work to the next level. His problem was, he never understood the importance of bringing your discoveries to the marketplace. Those stretchable pants he developed would have been a huge boon to mankind.

Of course, my kids may develop a complex about being carried around by their father, through their high school graduations, but that’s their problem. I’m trying to “feel the burn” here.

I was so excited about what great shape I’m going to be in, I told my wife. Her response was, “When they are 18 you’ll be old.”

OK, fine. This is what I will look like, when my youngest is 18.
OK, fine. I admit it. This is what I will look like, when my youngest turns 18.

That’s my bride.*

* (Again, no pictures. But, also cute.)

Still, she has a good point.

But that’s OK. This makes it even more scientific. Every day they are growing a little bigger without realizing it, but I am also getting a little older without realizing it. So, when do those lines intersect? At what point do I pick them up and then go, “Ooooooooooooh,” and keel over?

Now THAT’S a research project. It’s perfect. Now all I need is a grant. Like, a $1 million grant. For research. And, uh, office supplies.

(I figure something like this goes through lots of paper clips.)

This is going to be awesome. But I know how important peer review is, in science. So as principal investigator of this project, I sent out my proposal to a handful of UNMC’s top researchers, you know, just to see if they had any ideas on how to handle the tsunami of NIH funding I’m about to pull in. Their feedback follows below:

“When I first read it, I didn’t understand what the idea was. … I would say that research generally requires a hypothesis. Is your hypothesis that you would turn into the Incredible Hulk, or that it would be a subtle way of building muscle if you did it every day? Or you have a hypothesis that if you grew muscle slowly, you would never see the time that you could no longer physically pick them up? That part seems unlikely.” – Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research

“Kalani, I’ve read your proposal, and I feel we should sit down and talk. Speaking of which, would you like to be a part of my research study?” – Howard Liu, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry

“This is not NIH grant material. However, I suggest you take this to the P90X folks — you may be able to secure some funding through infomercials.” – Michael Huckabee, Ph.D., director of physician assistant education

“I like the fact that you are interested in determining the best approach to improving your fitness level. Unfortunately, your design is problematic. Further consultation with experts in the field is needed prior to submission.” – Gib Willett, Ph.D., associate professor of physical therapy education

“Note to self: Re-set Spam filter.” – Shawn Gibbs, Ph.D., associate dean, professor of environmental, agricultural and occupational health, College of Public Health

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