LIFE IS A TRADE. RICH COUNTRIES TRADED PHYSICAL LABOR for desk jobs, and manly afflictions like gout and steel beams through the chest for dainty conditions like tender fingertips and screaming jolts of pain that shoot through your neck when you check your email. Yes, you are one of a select group of history's biggest pussies if sitting down and typing hurts, but this isn't the Bible. Guilt isn't going to fix this.

Allow me to suggest the standing desk. Donald Rumsfeld reportedly used one during his time as Dubya's defense secretary, presumably to relieve any back and shoulder stress incurred from sending thousands of kids to get their heads blown off. Neck pain prompted me to follow suit earlier this year until a month's worth of twelve-hour deskwork stints as a result of all-out war with my web hosting company GoDaddy forced me to bring the desk back down to earth temporarily. You can blow rent on a shmancy adjustable desk, or you can heighten your current desk by perching it atop some of the unused crap cluttering your home, which in my case is a few boxes full of CD copies of my two albums that haven't quite flown off the racks yet. My music may not support me yet, at least it supports my desk.

I traded neck problems for insomnia a few years ago. Turns out sleeping on your stomach with your head at a ninety-degree turn for several hours nightly wasn't much good for my neck, but it's the only way I get any sleep. Now I've traded carpal tunnel syndrome for achy feet. Fair trade? Who knows. But I'll bet most of us would make just as much money with construction jobs, and we wouldn't need the back therapy or gym membership.

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