The Schmidt/Fat Boy Big Wall Fitness and OCR Pain Index

Pain is tough to quantify. It doesn’t, after all, come in convenient gallons or pounds or seconds or centipawns. Instead, measuring pain relies upon more qualitative pain scales.

The best of these, almost undoubtedly, is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, developed by entomologist Justin Schmidt to rate the relative pain levels of insect stings.

What sets it apart from other ranking systems isn’t its method (although it does go from 1 to 4, instead of the more standard-number-of-finger-friendly 1 to 10), but its sense of style. In addition to simply rating the pain of various insect stings, he’s described them with the flowery prose of a connoisseur. The yellowjacket (2.0) is “Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” The bald-faced hornet—also 2.0—is “Rich, hearty, slightly crunch. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.” They’re all like that, and all delightful; you should go read them. Then come back, because:

We need that for the OCR world.

I mean, after a workout, my friends or the trainer will often ask how I’m feeling. How am I supposed to respond? I’m always in pain, but exactly how much did that race or workout hurt? With this index, I can finally tell you accurately.

In honor of Dr. Schmidt, it goes from 1 to 4, and also in honor of him, the descriptions are what make it worth having. And because I am desperate for fame, I’ve added myself to the title of the pain index.

1.0 Barely noticeable; possibly even pleasant, like the caress of a loved one. Like dropping an Atlas Stone on the foot of a relative you don’t like.

1.2 Trivial and laughable. A stranger at a race has told you that they don’t like your shoes, and you pretend to care, but it doesn’t work out.

1.6 Worthy. As if you’ve spent the day helping move your gym’s weights and equipment to a new location, but as a reward you now get to use the much bigger, brighter gym whenever you want.

Kim Kardashian's ass.

Like this, but completely non-functional. There’s a reason beds aren’t shaped like this.

2.0 Dull but persistent ache. As if you’ve slept for a night on a life-sized model of Kim Kardashian made of Corian.

2.4 Painful. Almost as if you’re in pain of some sort. This hurts, because it’s painful.

2.8 Burny and flesh-melty, as if you slid down a rope you just climbed but discovered on the way down that it had somehow been replaced by barbed wire.

3.0 Sharply intense, with a lingering sting. Imagine you have said something like “Pain is just weakness leaving the body,” while nodding sagaciously as if you’ve just said something wise. This is the level of pain your face will feel after I punch it.

3.3 Aggressively unpleasant. As if you’ve just watched the Adam Sandler movie That’s My Boy with Caligula, and as the end credits roll, he insists upon seeing it again. Sure, he’s not eating your testicles or killing your family with elephants, but it’s still not acceptable.

3.7 Splitting, much like your femur after trying to elegantly slide down a muddy, 1,400-foot hill but tripping over a tree root three steps in and then doing 674 somersaults on the way down and hitting no less than 87 rocks that are at least one foot in diameter.

4.0 Simultaneously crushing and throbbing. Like attempting to hold a coherent conversation about politics with Mike Tyson today while being beaten by Mike Tyson in 1988, after having eaten a breakfast of pancakes with napalm syrup and a side of twelve pounds of bacon.


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