top of page



Compared with advances in the medical field, wellness breakthroughs have been slow in coming. Not until about the time of the Renaissance were physicians able to rely on science and not exclusively on healing methods derived from ancient Greek, Chinese, Indian and other systems.

When will wellness promoters emerge from the joyless era of prevention to be acclaimed for future epidemics of well-being, veritable plagues of wonderfulness and mass contagions of optimal functioning?


Surely the dimensions and lifestyle principles embodied in the philosophy, skill areas and mental disciplines associated with REAL wellness will produce programs, mindsets, paradigms, and the like worthy of celebration. Who will one day be acclaimed as the Edisons, Fords, Mozarts, Molieres, Einsteins, DaVincis, Franklins, Fermis, Swifts, Pepys, Jeffersons, Maughams, Beethovens, Pasteurs or Newtons of wellbeing? Where is the Shohei Ohtani who will be recognized as having led the way to watershed advances in human functioning?


Well, I suppose candidates for such will emerge soon enough. Let it soon commence and grow strong with more pretty neat ideas.


Wellness breakthroughs, like new theories, paradigms and constructs, are not fashioned anew out of whole cloth, but are built on the insights and advances of those who came before, on the shoulders of pioneers in modest but vital ways. The art of making art is putting it together, bit by bit and little by little, over time. 


Thus it is with pretty neat REAL wellness ideas. Decades ago, I had what could prove to be such an idea. Mine was inspired by the creative genius of Gary Larson, the cartoonist who gave us 4,347 editions of “The Far Side.” My pretty neat idea, is based on a Far Side cartoon. I refer, of course, to the concept of the “DBRU equivalent.”


The particular “Far Side” cartoon that gave birth to the “DBRU equivalent” was Larson’s depiction of an immense deceased rhino covered by buzzards with more arrivals filling the sky, anxious to partake of the feast. You can view this masterpiece, which appeared on December 20, 1986, here.


As you will know if you viewed the link, the caption of one buzzard speaking to his friend Frank is as follows: 


“Just think, here we are, the afternoon sun 

beating down on us, a dead bloated rhino 

underfoot and good friends flying in from all

over. I tell you, Frank, this is the best of times.”


I looked at that picture, thought of those words and asked myself what, exactly, ARE “the best of times,” in my life? Ever since, I’ve been asking audiences this question after showing the cartoon: “Are you getting enough DBRUs? That is, are you getting enough “dead bloated rhino underfoot” equivalents?


That’s my neat idea, my contribution to the advancement of REAL wellness and the coming advance of global wellbeing. 


What are the best of times for you? Put the question to yourself on a regular basis. Ask yourself if you are getting enough DBRU equivalents. What are YOUR “best of times?” Are these experiences occurring with sufficient frequency to make your life wonderful? 


If not, take action to rectify the situation.


A few years ago, I did one of my famous double-blind, crossover trials of a longitudinal, horizontal and dignified nature and discovered we all need a minimum daily requirement of twenty-three DBRU equivalents. They need not be spectacular DBRU equivalents. Little pleasures, simple reflections of gratitude, kindness and conscious appreciations of wonder will do nicely. When you wake, be grateful you are still alive, living in a free country with plenty to eat, that your kids are not in jail (assuming they’re not), that the sun is still up there, and that we continue to revolve on planet Earth, not too fast and not too slow. There – you already would have six DBRU equivalents – and you’re not even out of bed yet! 


In other words, DBRU equivalents need not be epic and triumphant events, like recovery from a grave illness, hitting the lottery, winning the Super Bowl, climbing Mt. Everest, swimming from Cuba to the Keys and so on. Little pleasures throughout the day will do the trick. Tune in to these little delights, bring them into your conscious awareness, celebrate them, and pause often to honor your good fortune! By the end of the day, you may have pondered hundreds of these wonders, let alone the minimum twenty-three – and you will be mentally richer (and healthier) for it!


I hope this puts you in a good and inquisitive mood for the day and fires up your commitment to take charge of your life and develop a strong interest in REAL wellness. Maybe it’s time to go out there and celebrate life more than you already do. Maybe it’s time to seek DBRU equivalents by exploring new ways to get fitter, to have more fun and more play, richer relationships, more emotional intelligence, and to be a more critical thinker. Maybe it’s time to discover added meanings of and purposes for living, in your unique fashion.


As my then high school-age daughter once said to me on one of my many birthdays, "Dad, may all your dead rhinos be, like, totally bloated."


It’s a pity the FDA has not set an RDA standard for DBRU equivalents, but as with other worthwhile initiatives, you don’t want to wait for the government to get around to doing the right thing. Seize the day – go out there, identify and enjoy as many DBRU equivalents as possible.


And please consider one more thing. Try to remember that the DBRU concept was not invented, composed, built, or created by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart–-or any of those brilliant folks listed earlier. When the time comes to carve another image on Mount Rushmore, please remember who gave the world the DBRU concept. Remember who is responsible for the fact that the world knows about and enjoys DBRU equivalents—and gives Gary Larson his due. His visage belongs on Mt. Rushmore.


Be well. Look on the bright side of life.




Don Ardell wrote the best-seller "High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease (Rodale Press) in 1977, which sparked the wellness movement. He has since published 14 other books on the REAL wellness® philosophy and lifestyle themes of reason, exuberance, athleticism and liberty, or personal freedoms that increase chances to realize and sustain wellbeing, as long as possible. Since the first edition in 1984, he has also 861 produced 861 REAL Wellness Reports. A sample copy can be obtained on request to Don at


Thanks and best wishes.


Donald B. Ardell, Ph.D. 

bottom of page