I’m famous for often doing things before I take the time to really think about them beforehand, and then I inevitably end up regretting my decision.
The other night was no exception.
I was checking my email when this news item popped up about something called the SRT test. It said it was a simple test people age 50-80 could do at home to determine how long they would live, and it involved simply sitting and standing. Curious, I decided to check it out.
When I entered the website, it immediately began to run a video that demonstrated the test. A woman who looked like a fashion model (or someone desperately in need of decent meal) was shown standing with her legs crossed and her arms straight out in front of her.
“Now all you have to do,” she said, “is keep your body straight, and while bending only your knees, sit on the floor.”
One moment she was standing, and the next, in just one smooth motion, she was sitting cross-legged on the floor, her arms still straight out in front of her.
“If you can do this without having to use your hands or without stumbling, give yourself 5 points,” she said. “If you had to use your hand, arm or other body parts to brace yourself, minus a point for each part you used.”
She then went on to demonstrate the procedure to get up. Still sitting cross-legged with her arms straight out in front of her, she used the outer sides of her feet to push herself up to a standing position. Once again, she moved so smoothly, not even one lock of her perfectly coiffed hair fell out of place.
“If you are able to stand without using your hands to push you up,” she said, “give yourself another 5 points. And that’s all there is to the test! Simple! If you scored a perfect 10, you’re in optimal health. If you scored less than 3, however, statistics have shown you’ll probably be dead within 6 years.”
To be honest, I thought the whole thing seemed completely ridiculous, especially the part about dying within 6 years. I mean, I’d never even heard of the test before, so for all I knew, it could have been in existence for over 20 years. Therefore, if I had taken it 20 years ago and flunked it, I’d have been dead for at least 14 years already. And then there was the test itself. What was it supposed to prove? Someone with bad knees obviously wouldn’t be able to pass it, but that wouldn’t mean the poor guy was on death’s doorstop, would it?
So without pausing to think, as usual, I decided to try the test for myself, mainly because my curiosity was driving me crazy.
I stood on the rug (to cushion my fall in case I lost my balance) in the middle of the living room, then crossed my legs and held my arms straight out in front of me. Slowly, I bent my knees, lowering my body to the floor. When I was within a few inches of my goal, I started to lose my balance, so I had to use my hand to brace myself.
“Not too bad,” I thought. “I got 4 points.”
If there’s one thing I should know not to do in my house, it’s get down on the floor. In my dogs’ eyes, anything on the floor is something to play with…even if it’s human. Within seconds, I had two rottweilers pouncing on me and knocking me over backwards. I began to wonder if the test offered point adjustments for interference.
I shooed the dogs away and then concentrated on the next part of the test – standing without using my hands. I sat there in my cross-legged position, thrust my arms out in front of me, dug the sides of my feet into the rug and tried to stand. Nothing happened.
I leaned forward, stretching my arms farther out in front of me. Still nothing. My butt felt as if it weighed 300 pounds. I knew that unless a crane magically appeared, there was no way I was going to get up off the floor. Still, I continued to try. I grunted so much, I sounded like a hog at feeding time. I finally surrendered and used my hands, my knees, and even one of the dogs for leverage before I was able to stand again. By then, I think I owed points to the test.
Frustrated, I was determined to get a better score. Not wanting any four-legged interference this time, I locked myself in the bedroom and tried the test there.
Not only were my results even worse, when I tried to stand from the cross-legged position, I pulled a muscle in the back of my thigh and ended up with the world’s worst Charley horse. And my knees made sounds like someone in high heels walking across bubble wrap.
Two days later, I still was limping…and begging Charley to come get his horse.
But now I think I’m better able to understand why the video said if you flunk the test you probably should go shopping for a headstone.
Trying to pass the darned test is what kills you.
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