Seriously Reader’s Digest?

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.

RD test 1

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.

Well, crud.

I ripped the article out of the magazine because of the concluding paragraph.

RD test 2

“…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.

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2 thoughts on “Seriously Reader’s Digest?

  1. Ugh, that sounds horrible! What a strange thing for Reader Digest to publish. My parents used to get that magazine too, but I don’t remember anything strange like that in there. Sounds like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for article ideas! 😉

  2. I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe I overreacted a bit (which is so unlike me ;)) I just know my dad couldn’t pass that test right now. And I’m sure not many of their faithful readers can either.
    Like you said, a strange thing to include!

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