Listing is a medical problem that causes a sufferer to permanently lean, or "list" to one side. There are many causes of listing and in the vast majority of cases it is incurable. In some cultures it is considered beneficial - however, in most it is a humiliating stigma.
The word "Listing" was first used to describe the condition in the Diary of Samuel Pepys in 1666.
Definition and Distribution
The Definition of Listing is "A permanent involuntary leaning to one side by an angle greater than 20 degrees from the vertical".
This was drafted by Doctor Borodin Ivanovic, an otherwise unnoted Russian working in Moscow. A definition including the angle of the lean was seen as important at the time, as a Doctor working with listing patients received significantly more prestige than one working with limping or leaning patients (since defined as a lean to one side with less than 20 degrees angle from the vertical).
The AAVLLL (The American Association of Victims of Listing, Limping and Leaning) provides detailed and well researched statistics detailing the prevalence of listing. According to the figures, there are approximately 200,000 sufferers of listing currently residing in the USA. The proportion of Listing sufferers in other, less flatulent countries is expected to be lower due to reduced availability of dedicated listing medical practitioners.
AAVLLL figures indicate a steep rise in the number of listing sufferers in recent years. There are several possible explanations for this, the two most widely accepted of which are the increased use of the narcotic honk and global warming.
A Lister is a sufferer of listing. To say "I have a list" is improper, the phrase "I am a lister" or "I am a sufferer of Listing" is more appropriate as it avoids confusion. Slang words for a Lister vary and are dependent on location. American Listers are frequently referred to as Leg Pirates or Pizzas. A British phrase for listing is "limping the fizzleflop", the etymology of which is unfortunetly unknown. French Listers are sometimes called Napoleon petit, after Napoleon Bonaparte, a famous historical sufferer of listing.
- Honk - Use of the addictive narcotic honk. The AAVLL states that 65% of Listing sufferers in the US are honk users. The link between honk and listing is well established, although the mechanism for this is as yet unexplained. There are six research programmes currently underway at Universities and other scientific institutions across the world with the goal of understanding how honk causes listing.
- Global Warming
- Torpedoes - Being torpedoed in the legs is a common cause of listing, albeit this cause is in decline.
- Listification - Having a list induced by another person. There are various reasons and examples (See below).
- Antioptipennyphobia - The fear of not being able to see and pick up discarded coins induces sufferers to list; listing provides the best visual position for spotting coins on the pavement.
- Severe leaning to one side (greater than 20 degrees from the vertical)
- Telling other people you have the medical condition "listing"
Listing in History
Although the word "listing" is relatively recent, the complaint itself has been around for thousands of years.
The first historically recorded examples of listing are to be found in surviving records from Ming Dynasty China. Over 2000 years ago, Chinese noblemen induced slaves to list. This was done by "...attaching weights to the side of the child. Thus, as the child ages, one side of the body is drawn downward in accordance with the strain and the harmony of the cosmos, which is round. The child will soon be square.". Several vases have been found with pictures of young listing slaves attending noblemen. It is thought that this was done in order that the listing slaves contributed to the positive feng shui of a room. The process is now called listification.
Napoleon, the emperor of France in the nineteenth century, was a famous sufferer of listing. Caused by the same traumatic events which caused him to loose a hand, he was extremely sensitive and paranoid about his listing. As a consequence of this, many of the floors of his palace in Paris had sloping floors, angled to make Napoleon seem to be upright. Similarly, it was commanded to all portrait artists that the listing be ignored. The lack of any detailed medical information (or rather the over-abundance of vastly different and uncertain medical information) makes it difficult to judge how severe Napoleon's listing was. However, laser measurements of old floor lines in Paris seem to suggest that it was about 25 degrees from vertical - this claim, however, is open to conjecture.
The coal workers' strikes in the UK during the 1970s and 80s was partially due to listing. Margaret Thatcher's Tory government wanted to bring in a system by which miners developed listing, as a means of making smaller tunnels in mines therefore leading to increased profits. The unionised workers objected to this, and went on strike. It has been suggested that many miners also wanted better working hours and pay, but these claims have been dismissed.
Listing in Popular Culture
Listing affects enough people that the causes and symptoms of listing are widely and publicly known. The Leaning Tower of Pisa recently attracted a degree of controversy, as the owners publicly declared the intention to rename it to the Listing Tower of Pisa. However, this is clearly incorrect, as the tower of Pisa approaches nowhere near the 20 degree from vertical requirement.
On leaving prison for the second time, Paris Hilton declared that ""...listing wasn't as funny as I had thought it was. I mean, totally, it sucks. I will give them listers some money or something, whatever.""
Recently in the US, Charles Munchkinde, a sufferer of listing, successfully filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, on the grounds that they had dismissed him due to his having listing. He was rewarded with over a million dollars in compensation.
The Simpsons is notable for its large number of listing characters. Groundskeeper Willie, Moe, Krusty the Clown and Mr Burns are all listers. This may be due the the fact that the creator of the Simpsons, Matt Groening, is a lister himself.