thank you, mr. standing desk.


In the winter, we keep warm by burning little bits of Canada.

What you see there are five tons of wood pellets, stacked in our garage on wooden pallets. I had to restack every single bag by hand because the delivery truck’s crane doesn’t reach into our garage, and a dolly won’t pull a ton and a quarter of pellets over the soft ground in front of the garage door. So I had the delivery guys put the pallets in front of the garage door, and then I had to open each pallet separately and restack all the bags in the garage. That’s thirty 40-pound bags per pallet, so it’s a fair bit of lifting and carrying.

Now, as a feat of physical labor, it’s a pretty modest achievement. For someone who only a year and a half ago spent an entire month flat on his back and zonked out on pain pills because of crippling sciatica, it’s not bad at all. I have not had any back trouble of any kind since I moved to a standing desk setup.

I don’t do stupid things with my spine, I’ve learned to always lift with the legs and not with the back…but most importantly, I don’t sit slumped over in an office chair all day anymore. It took a week to adjust and a month to really get comfortable with the standing setup, but now that I’m used to it, I can’t tolerate sitting at a desk for long periods of time anymore. For those of you with back issues, I highly recommend trying out a standing desk. In the beginning, your brain will be all like, “What are you DOING? Sit the fuck DOWN already! You can’t work like this!”, but don’t listen. Just stick with it for a little while and see what kind of difference it makes.


So ergonomic it’ll fix your spine just looking at it.

Most of us writing folk work sitting down, but it appears that our bodies aren’t really optimized for being parked in a chair all day long. I paid the price for neglecting the old meat taxi and ignoring the warning signs, and it wasn’t fun at all, unless your idea of fun is popping Dilaudid and washing it down with liquor for a month straight while lying on your side and needing an orderly for the fifteen-minute journey to the bathroom. (And if it is, I’M NOT JUDGING.) This setup is a little against the grain, but it really made a difference. I can lift things again and stuff.


11 thoughts on “thank you, mr. standing desk.

  1. Kaerius says:

    Lying down works also works. My feet hurt if I stand up too long, and my lower back complains too.

    I got my computer at my couch, I can sit up or lie down while typing, it’s not truly optimal to type lying sideways(laptop on the bed is better), but hey.

    At the museum here a while back, they had an awesome computer chair, it let you lie back, had a comfy headrest, and had a tray for the keyboard and mouse, and an elevated monitor. Something along these lines:

    Though it’s not in exactly the right position, and the one in the museum had a much simpler monitor elevation(this was over a decade ago, they had an iMac, which was on a shelf supported by a metal pole, attached to the structure of the chair, putting it at eye level when reclining in the chair). The backrest also sloped a bit more. It was the comfiest computer chair I’ve ever sat in.

  2. Gerry N. says:

    Lord knows I’d love to be able, once again, to lift things and stuff. But old age and decrepitude mandate that I sit most of the time. I have a back condition that I can’t pronounce even if my now faulty brain cell could remember it. G-d Bless you, Marko, you’re my hero! Lift things, carry them, and write about it that I may enjoy the ability if only vicariously through you.

    Feeble ol’ Gerry N.

    ( Whose back hurts quite badly if he stands up long enough to make a pot of oatmeal, and does it anyway.)

  3. TechieMomster says:

    Good to know that you smell good while you are working at your standing desk 🙂

  4. Ward Wheeler says:

    Marko (and anyone else having back issues),

    I had some lower back trouble a while back. I thought it was merely old age sneaking a peak at me earlier than usual, but decided that this (along with a few other signs) indicated that it was time to begin using my gym membership on a serious basis. I started with some light (for me) weights and began working up from there using a technique called static contraction training (you only lift in the strong part of your range in any particular lift).

    The results have been amazing in both physical ability and strength. Two years in, and I now look something close to 15 years younger and move like a young man again. I can do things now that I hadn’t been able to do for several years before I started. Resistance training is far more important than most people know.

    Please, if you haven’t done so already, look into a set of free weights and a power rack (required to limit range for dead lifts, bench press and squats, and immensely improves solo workout safety), and as with any new workout routine, consult your doctor and spend some time with some truly knowledgeable people (don’t buy into the whole “extreme” or “boot camp” things – my sports medicine doc says he sees more people from those than from all other sporting activities combined).


  5. Kristopher says:

    Hmmm … not sure if pouring a small concrete driveway pad is a do it your selfer or not.

  6. Fred2 says:

    As god is my witness I read that as “In winter we keep warm burning little bits of canadians”

    Does it say bad things about me that I saw the pallets and thought, putting the green in solyent green?

  7. Ritchie says:

    If you’re going to put in a driveway pad you might as well just put in the rest of the airstrip.

    I find it peculiar that we seem to be the only species that felt the need to create prosthetics for sitting and sleeping at the earliest opportunity.

  8. Will says:

    If you don’t want to pour some concrete, two alternatives come to mind. One would be to put in an I-beam overhead, to sling the pallets from the drop site to inside. The other has more versatility. Look for a small garden tractor with a front-end loader option mounted on it. You could then sling the pallets from the bucket, mount a fork lift attachment, or just scoop the bags directly.

    My dad was collecting a small vintage tractor that looked like a 1/2 (1/4?) scale farmers tractor. Single cyl, about 12 hp, 3spd, and one of them had the loader option. (Drawing a blank on the name at the moment) Something like that would be useful around your place. Kids just adored them.

  9. J.R. Shirley says:

    Huh. Well, it is true that sitting is not great for your back.

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