There is a little monthly publication my parents have subscribed to for years. A little golden nugget that has been revered as the end all of answers. It was referenced and quoted in my household since before I can remember. The little book? The Reader’s Digest. The source of many a quirky solution to a plethora of problems. I do have a crude nickname for it but I’ll refrain from sharing it. For now.
So, one day I’m flipping through the pages and I see this article. It’s a longevity test to see how long a person will live.
It asks, “Can you pass the longevity test?”
Basically what you do is sit on the floor without losing your balance or using your limbs. You sit straight down and get 5 points. Then you have to stand straight up without using your limbs. If you succeed, you get 5 more points. But if you lose your balance, you lose a half-a-point. If you have to use a limb you lose one point – per limb.
I ripped the article out of the magazine because of the concluding paragraph.
“…People who scored fewer than eight points on the test were twice as likely to die within the next six years compared with those who wound up scoring higher; those who scored three or fewer points were more than five times as likely to die within the same period.” (Reader’s Digest April 2014, pp 66-67, emphasis added).
Seriously, what the heck Reader’s Digest? Who wants to know such things? Yeah, I ripped it out. I ripped it out before my father (a typical representation of the magazine’s most popular demographic) saw it.
But I didn’t throw it away. I waited until I was alone and then I attempted the test. What can I say? I had to. I was curious. Am I going to die within the next six years? This might be useful information to know.
Good news – I passed with a 9 (I kinda leaned on my shin to get up).
Bad news – I couldn’t duplicate the results the next day when I demonstrated it at work. But I did get nearly every person in my department to attempt the test. There was one hold-out that refused to join us. The rest of us though, sat on the floor and attempted to stand. There were a couple of show-offs who stood up demonstrating an annoying amount of agility. Good for you!
As for the rest, I expressed my condolences. In the words of Jonathan to his sister Evy in The Mummy (1999), “Bad luck, old mum.”
I still say this test was in poor taste. For shame, Reader’s Digest, for shame.