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APRIL 2015

35 Things
HOMEOWNERS
Need to Know
From THE FAMILY HANDYMAN ... 66

Miracles That Stunned Doctors


5 ORIGINAL TRUE STORIES ... 98

Quotable Clint Eastwood


FROM TIME, ESQUIRE, AND MORE ... 26

Geniuses Who Procrastinate


AN RD ORIGINAL ... 142

What Living in Paradise Taught Me


FROM HUFFINGTONPOST.COM ... 40

Man Punches Alligator


AN RD ORIGINAL ... 8

My Mother’s Simple Birthday Wish


FROM MEDIUM.COM ... 88

Happiness: Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be


FROM THE ATLANTIC ... 35

Give the Earth an Inch


FROM SMITHSONIAN ... 18

Teen Locked in a Collar Bomb!


AN RD ORIGINAL ... 80

Yes, You Really Chose the Slowest Line


FROM WIRED.COM ... 144

First Aid Mistakes


FROM THE DOCTORS ... 54

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Contents APRIL 2015

Cover Story Book Bonus


66 35 THINGS EVERY HOME- 110 A FURIOUS CLIMB
OWNER MUST KNOW With braces on his legs,
FROM THE FAMILY HANDYMAN BOOK 100 Bonner Paddock fueled his way
THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW
up Mount Kilimanjaro with fire
Drama in Real Life in his heart. W I T H N E A L B AS CO M B
80 COLLARED! F R O M T H E B O O K O N E M O R E ST E P

Click. An extortionist puts My Most Unforgettable


a bomb around a teen’s Character
neck … S I M O N B O U DA 116 ARI & THE CELLO CHAIR
Personal Essay A chance encounter with a music
88 MY MOTHER’S SIMPLE teacher filled me with passion
and purpose. A R I G O L D M A N
BIRTHDAY WISH
We were shocked by what she National Interest
really wanted. K E L LY CO R R I G A N 120 CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS
F R O M M E D I U M .CO M Why are kids under 18 working
Health on tobacco farms? They say
DAVI D P LUTH/NATI ONA L GEOGRAP HIC CREATIVE

98 MIRACLES THAT the hazards are worth the risk


STUNNED DOCTORS to support their families.
ROBERT ANDREW POWELL
Experts can’t explain how these
five folks survived. Here are their History
stories. G R E TC H E N VO S S 130 THE DAY THE
First Person ELEPHANTS DANCED
106 A TABLE SET WITH When a bridge is threatened, two
KINDNESS tuskers do something amazing.
V IC KI CON STANTI NE CR O K E
In a theater basement, I learned a
lesson in generosity that I’ll never
forget. E M I LY W I N S LOW
F R O M Q U E ST FO R
KINDNESS
P. | 110
Volume 185 | Issue 1109
APRIL 2015

4 Editor’s Note 6 Letters Everyday Heroes


8 Man Punches Alligator,
Saves Son
M E E R A JAGANNATH AN

11 She Lifted a Car Off


Her Dad A LYS SA J U N G

VOICES & VIEWS

Department of Wit
12 Keeping the Magic Alive
One man’s attempt to spice up
his marriage. T I M D OW L I N G F R O M
T H E B O O K H OW TO B E A H U S B A N D

Words of Lasting Interest


P. | 12 18 Give the Earth an Inch …
Germaine Greer takes hope
READER FAVORITES from our planet’s amazing
ability to renew.
16 Life in These United States FROM SMITHSONIAN
21 Faces of America
Finish This Sentence
24 100-Word True Stories
32 Points to Ponder 22 What Was I Thinking
50 All in a Day’s Work When …
ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE WACKSM AN

58 News from the Choice Words


World of Medicine
26 Clint Eastwood
78 Laughter, the Best Medicine
A selection of quotes from the
96 Photo of Lasting Interest
actor-director.
128 Laugh Lines
134 That’s Outrageous! You Be the Judge
140 Look Twice 29 The Case of the
146 RD.com Unfriendly Skies
147 Word Power Who’s to blame when
151 Humor in Uniform an obese passenger dies?
152 Quotable Quotes V IC KI GLE M B O CK I

2 | 04•2015 | rd.com ADDITIONAL MEDIA IN OUR TABLET VERSIONS


WHO KNEW?

136 13 Things Ancestry


Trackers Won’t Tell You
M IC HE LLE CR O U CH
P. | 52 138 Art Where You’d Least
Expect It
BR A N D ON S P E CKTO R

ART OF LIVING
142 5 Geniuses with Serious
Procrastination Problems
35 Happiness: It’s Not All BR A N D ON S P E CKTO R
It’s Cracked Up to Be
EMILY ESFAHANI SMI T H 144 Yes, You Really Did
FROM THE ATLANTIC
Choose the Slowest Line
Travel A DA M M A NN FROM WIRED.COM

40 What Living in Paradise PHOTOGRAPH BY


Taught Me ADAM VOORHES.
PROP STYLIST:
A M ANDA WALKINS ROBIN FINLAY
FROM HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

41 Cookies at Gate A-4


N AOMI S HIH AB NYE
FROM THE BOOK HONEYBEE

Family
42 Walking Misty
JILL SMOLOWE FROM THEBARK.COM

Food
44 Put Some Super in
Your Food
P HOTOGRA PHS BY NICK FERRA RI

MANDY OAKLANDER
FROM PREVENTION

Health
52 Sniff to Heal
KELSEY KLOSS
P. | 35
54 7 Dangerous
First Aid Mistakes
THE PH YS ICIANS OF THE DOCTOR S

rd.com | 04•2015 | 3
Editor’s Note
Tales of a Handy Husband
“GOTTA CALL THE PLUMBER,” I say absently. The water keeps running
after the toilet flushes. “Don’t worry,” says Steve. “I’ll fix it myself.”
My better half has many talents—parenting, photography, making
pancakes in the shapes of animals. But handyman? I look at him. My mouth

P HOTOGRAPH BY STE VE VACCARIE L LO;


smiles, but my eyes dim with doubt, worry, mild fear.

WARDROBE STYL IST: E LYSHA L E NK IN


For a few weeks, repairs appear to be happening. The lid to the commode
remains askew, as if a worker has just stepped away for a coffee break. But at
night, I hear it: water flowing ceaselessly. “Let’s just call,” I say.
“A plumber’s gonna charge us $250 to replace a $10 part!”
“Yes, but he’ll know which part to replace.”
Steve looks hurt. “I got this, love.”
If I don’t believe in him, who will? I nod encouragingly.
Summer fades to fall. He fiddles, tries this and that. “Hey,” I say, “do you
know how many people have to walk miles for water of any kind? And we’re
letting perfectly good water run down our drain? It’s time to call in an expert.
Let’s do it for the planet.”
Instead, Steve teaches me to shut off the water source
completely by turning a knob on the wall. We reach around,
behind, and under the pedestal between flushes for months.
Then, new year, new strategy. Steve calls the manufac-
turer, and the representative suggests an often-needed
replacement part. He runs to Home Depot.
“Fifteen bucks!” He is victorious, waving a bag.
“Right part, wrong size,” he mumbles a few minutes
later, running back out the door.
An hour later, we’re high-fiving. He calls the children
in to ooh and aah. I effuse.
“That toilet may have won some battles,” says my
husband. “But I won the war.”

I invite you to e-mail me at liz@rd.com and


follow me at facebook.com/lizvaccariello
and @LizVacc on Twitter.
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Letters
COMMENTS ON THE FEBRUARY ISSUE

Dear America: Our Troops


Have Something to Say
The personal stories of our military
men and women made me proud to
be one of them. It took courage to
write about some of these events.
FORMER AIR FORCE SGT. HORST ARMBRUST,
P u e b l o, C o l o ra d o

My eyes keep going back to the


photo of Army Sgt. First Class
Sheila White’s family. The strength,
the need, the love. It’s all there.
JULIE THOMAS, Ha m p t o n C o v e , A l a b a m a

Regarding serviceman Michael Marine. Before retiring as a Navy


Langley: The Marine Corps doesn’t corpsman, he had been assigned to
have a senior chief hospital corps- the Marine Corps.
man. The Navy has a senior chief
hospital corpsman [that it provides Why I Wear Two
to the Marines]. I’m sure that the Wedding Bands
Marines would be proud to have him I was drawn to this article because
in its ranks. But I’m also sure that I, too, have worn two wedding rings
Chief Langley would like to be identi- since 1984—mine and my mom’s.
fied with his military service. When she died, I wanted a physical
RET. MARINE COL. J. E. VESELY, way to be reminded of her every day,
Mo r r i s t o w n , Te n n e s s e e so I placed her gold band on my right
hand. Touching her ring reminds me
CORRECTION: Michael Langley that she is with me in spirit.
was mistakenly identified as a retired VALERIE GOLEMBIEWSKI, Tu c s o n , Ar i z o n a

6 | 04•2015 | rd.com
Dad Has Something to Say reincarnation—like me, a Buddhist—
I laughed until I cried. My call was see it as a hard spiritual evolution, a
from Mom when I was at work in required cycle to grow and internalize
a grocery-store deli. She needed to life lessons we didn’t learn this time
know right then whether I cared if around. LYNETTE COMBS, N o r f o l k , Vi r g i n i a
she and Dad traded in their burial
plot for a space in a mausoleum. 3 Survival Tools Hiding
CAROLINE DUXBURY, in Your House
Ne w Ke n s i n g t o n , P e n n s y l v a n i a Burning a candle in a closed-up
automobile can use up oxygen very
For the Love of a Horse quickly, possibly causing suffocation.
Thank you for this wonderful story Always have a window open a bit.
about Jo Anne Normile’s efforts to BRAD BIGELOW, R o c kp o r t , Ma s s a c h u s e t t s
raise awareness and rescue horses
from abuse and slaughter. There are SHARE YOUR STORIES
positive and respectful alternatives to OF KINDNESS WRIT
slaughter. Those who profit from this E
June King of Norwalk, US!
unnecessary cruelty must be stopped. Connecticut, was having
BONNIE NICKLE, We s t C h e s t e r, P e n n s y l v a n i a trouble parking at a farmers’
market until, she told us in a letter,
The Children Who’ve “a gentleman who was driving by
stopped and offered to park my car
Lived Before for me. He then got out my walker
I believe in reincarnation and that and helped me shop. Afterward, he
déjà vu is linked to it. How many escorted me back to my car, made
times have you met someone, only sure I was safely inside, and then
to feel like you’ve known him or her left. Apparently, the only reason he
before? M. S., v i a e - m a i l had stopped was to help me.”
Have you seen an act of kind-
I was left shaking my head at the idea ness? Was it heartfelt, surprising,
funny? Tell us, and we’ll pay you
that “reincarnation’s appeal has to do
$100 if we publish your story in
with its hopeful underlying promise” the magazine. Go to rd.com/
and that “the universe takes on kindness for details.
a merciful hue.” Most believers in

Send letters to letters@rd.com or Letters, Reader’s Digest, PO Box 6100, Harlan, Iowa 51593-1600. Include your full name,
address, e-mail, and daytime phone number. We may edit letters and use them in all print and electronic media. Contribute Send
us your 100-word true stories, jokes, and funny quotes, and if we publish one in a print edition of Reader’s Digest, we’ll pay you
$100. To submit your 100-word stories, visit rd.com/stories. To submit humor items, visit rd.com/submit, or write to us at Jokes,
Box 6226, Harlan, Iowa 51593-1726. Please include your full name and address in your entry. We regret that we cannot acknowl-
edge or return unsolicited work. Do Business Subscriptions, renewals, gifts, address changes, payments, account information,
and inquiries: Visit rd.com/help, call 877-732-4438, or write to us at Reader’s Digest, PO Box 6095, Harlan, Iowa 51593-1595.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 7
EVERYDAY
HEROES
With fearless determination, Joe Welch
warded off a vicious reptile

BY M E ERA JAGANNATH AN

ON AN OVERCAST spring day researched what to do if they


in 2013, Joe Welch, a commercial encountered one—just in case.
photographer, and his son, Joey, (Bang a paddle against the boat
were polishing off sandwiches at to scare them off, he’d read.)
a wildlife refuge in Florida’s Ever- Welch slathered his son with sun-
glades. Joey, who was six at the screen and turned to scan the canoe
time, had the day off from school, rental waiver at the concession-stand
and Joe, 50, planned for the two of counter, less than 20 feet from the
them to spend the day canoeing in water’s edge. Seconds later, he heard
the huge swamp, a 45-minute drive a splash and a scream.
from their Pompano Beach home. Joey had slipped on snake-grass
Joe had never before ventured at the edge of the water and fallen in
into the muddy waters, which were face-first. When Joe whipped around,
famous for alligators. He had he saw his son’s right arm in the ➸

8 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFFERY SALTER


“The gator could
have crushed my
son’s arm,” says
Joe Welch, with
Joey, now seven.
E V E R Y D AY H E R O E S

jaws of an alligator he estimated to scrapes from his shoulder blade to


be at least eight feet long and close his wrist—surprisingly there were no
to 200 pounds. puncture wounds. Joe thanked the
Time seemed to stop as Joe ran stranger and sped home. Doctors at
toward his son and into the water, a nearby hospital determined that
which was almost three feet deep. Joey was OK, though Joe had mildly
As Joey thrashed and screamed, Joe sprained his hand.
wrapped his left arm across the boy’s Meanwhile, the alligator was
chest and began pulling him back captured in the swamp and killed,
toward the bank. With his right hand, in accordance with Florida Fish &
Joe struck the alligator’s snout as Wildlife Conservation Commission
hard as he could. But it was like regulations.
punching bricks. “It didn’t even Joe has tried to locate the Good
flinch,” he says. Samaritan who helped save his son,
A young man in line at the conces- but he has learned through inquiries
sion stand ran over, screaming at Joe at the wildlife refuge and the U.S.
to pull his son out of the water. But Fish and Wildlife Service only that
Joe feared what would happen to the man was a kickboxer from Spain
Joey’s arm if he pulled too hard. “I who had been in the country visiting
didn’t want to get in a tug-of-war with family. “He’s like an angel,” Joe says.
an alligator,” he says. He guided Joey His son’s resilience has amazed
up the embankment, dragging the Joe. A week after the accident, the
gator along with him. child went with his class on a field
While Joe dealt blows to the trip to a wildlife sanctuary. His
beast’s head, the other man kicked teacher, who watched him closely at
its belly. After three or four kicks, the the alligator exhibit, told Joe his son
gator released its grip on Joey and acted like any other little boy.
slithered back into the water. Joe “Because of my dad, I feel less
picked up his son and found that and less afraid of alligators,” says
he’d suffered only a few cuts and Joey. “He’s like my bodyguard.”

DER A STRANGER’S COMPASSION


REA RO
HE Thousands of people poured out of the gates after a night of music
at Milwaukee’s Summerfest last year, and I was struggling to navigate
the throngs in my wheelchair. A young man noticed my distress and left
his group of friends to help me. He created a human shield and led me to
safety. His thoughtfulness floored me. SARAH MUELLER, Nashville, Tenness e e

To nominate your hero, e-mail the details and your name and location to heroes@rd.com.

10 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

She Lifted a Car Off Her Dad


BY A LYSSA JU N G

NEARLY TWO YEARS ago,


Lauren Kornacki, a recent college
graduate, walked outside her family’s
home in Glen Allen, Virginia, to ask
her dad if she could borrow his car.
As she rounded the corner from the
front yard into the garage, Lauren,
then 23, saw her father, Alec, lying
unconscious, pinned on his back
beneath the 1995 BMW. The car
had fallen off the jack while he was
changing the brake pads on the
right rear tire.
Lauren yelled inside to her
mother to call 911, then ran to
the car. “I thought, I’m going
to lose my dad,” she says. Unsure
of what to do, she spontaneously
stuck both hands under the
wheel hub where Alec had
removed the tire and pulled up
with all her strength. To her surprise, “My dad means
she lifted the car. Then she held it everything to me,”
up with one arm and, with the other, says Lauren Kornacki.
pulled her father out from under the
car by his pants leg. Doctors treated Alec for five
COURTESY LAUREN KORN ACKI

Alec wasn’t breathing, so Lauren, fractured ribs, a fractured sternum,


a lifeguard certified in CPR, began and fractured vertebrae, but he was
performing chest compressions. able to return to his job as an IT
Within seconds, Alec took a breath professional two months later.
and opened his eyes. Lauren, now a computer engineer,
“Stay with me,” Lauren whispered says she didn’t stop to think. “Every-
as they waited for the ambulance. one has a basic instinct to help the
“Just keep breathing.” ones they love,” she says.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 11
VOICES VIEWS

Department of Wit

BY TI M D OW L I N G
F ROM HOW TO B E A HUSBAND

MY WIFE AND I do not say “I love you” to each other


every day or even once a month. I don’t begrudge couples
who do, but I personally believe there are lots of ways to
express one’s feelings that don’t rely on those three words
uttered in that exact order on a regular basis. It’s perfectly
possible to replicate the gist of a commonplace exchange
like “I love you” and “I love you too” using slightly different
TIM DOWLING language. In our house, for example, we prefer “You’ll be
is an American sorry when I’m dead” and “I know.”
journalist for Unfortunately, nothing I have read about maintaining
the British a happy, healthy relationship supports my position. All the
newspaper
the Guardian.
tips I’ve absorbed over the years have stressed the importance
of making an effort, of saying the actual words out loud
and forcing oneself beyond the embarrassment that comes
with doing anything out of the ordinary for the first time.

12 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE WACKSMAN


It’s invariably presented as difficult “No one said this was going to
and time‐consuming work. be easy,” I say.
But I want love to be easy, and for When it comes time for hug four,
that reason, I am susceptible to any she is nowhere to be found. I know
method that sounds as if it might she’s home—the car is out front—but
constitute a shortcut. This was what eventually I give up looking.
first attracted me to a newspaper A week or so later, I read about
article suggesting that four hugs something called whisper therapy.
a day is the secret to a Apparently it involves
happy marriage. a lot of eye contact and
“Four hugs a day,” the regular whispering
I say as my wife tries to Whisper therapy of certain positive
squirm her way out of sounds very sentiments to each
hug one. “I think it’s other. It sounds incred-
the way forward.” irksome, and for ibly irksome, and for
My approach for hug that reason, that reason, I can’t wait
two, just before lunch, is to try it.
from the front—moving
I can’t wait Things get off to a
in slowly, arms low, to try it. bad start. When I steal
palms showing, approx- up behind my wife
imately the technique and whisper, “You are
you would use to take a picnic basket special,” in her ear, she hits me
away from a bear. over the head with the hairbrush
“Thank you,” says my wife, she is holding.
petrifying under my touch. She Over the next few days, she grows
doesn’t seem to be responding eerily patient with my habit of lean-
positively to the treatment, but that’s ing in at odd moments to whisper
ILLUSTRATION BY JOE MCKENDRY (DOWLI NG)

OK. One of my favorite aspects of things like “Nice shoes,” “You’re


the quick‐fix prescription is the total magic,” and “Kind to animals.”
lack of nuance, subtlety, or follow‐ I think she is in denial about the
up. The newspaper article doesn’t therapy’s awesome power to annoy.
suggest alterations to the technique When it’s apparent that this is
in the event of a poor outcome. It going nowhere, my wife and I enter
just says “four hugs.” I find I’m even a phase where we periodically jab
beginning to enjoy her irritation a each other in the neck with two
little. It doesn’t matter whether she fingers, accompanying each strike
likes it or not. I win either way. with a short, sharp hiss. We learned
“Already?” she says when I move the technique from watching Dog
in for hug three at about sunset. Whisperer, and it began as an efficient,

rd.com | 04•2015 | 13
D E PA R T M E N T O F W I T

no‐nonsense way to clear people do.” I know that’s not terribly good,
from your personal space or get but it’s actually my first go at being
their attention if they seemed not amorous.
to be listening. More recently, I came across a
But over time, it became a mildly range of intimacy exercises so power-
painful form of affection, and then, ful, they are said to be able to make
thankfully, it got old. strangers fall in love.
At the peak of the publicity sur- Once again, I zero in on the easiest
rounding the 5:2 Diet—the one of the lot: a few minutes spent facing
where you fast for two days a week your partner, with your flat, extended
and do what you like the other palms as close together as possible
five—we try the same on‐again, off‐ without touching each other. The
again formula within our marriage. power of this exercise is undeniable—
My wife, a devotee of the 5:2 Diet, my wife can stand it for only a few
is intrigued by the prospect of being seconds without shuddering with
married to me only two days out of something that looks, to the un-
seven, until I explain that it’s not trained eye, like revulsion. Such is its
how it works—for two days a week, power to annoy that for two weeks,
we will be extra‐married. On those I insist on having a go every time we
two days a week, in between texts cross paths.
that read “Pick up booze” and If marriage teaches you anything,
“What printer cartridge do I need?” it’s that there is value in the occa-
I would slip in a few romantic notes, sional lame gesture and half‐assed
like “I appreciate everything you experiment. It shows you’re trying.
HOW TO BE A HUSBAND BY TIM DOWLING, COPYRIGHT © 2015 BY TIM DOWLING, IS PUBLISHED BY BLUE RIDER PRESS,
A MEMBER OF PENGUIN GROUP (USA) LLC, PENGUIN.COM.

ZEN KOANS FOR THE INTERNET AGE

Q If an anonymous comment goes unread, is it still irritating?

Q What is the sound of no hands texting?

Q If nobody likes your selfie, what is the value of the self?

Q To see a man’s true face, look to the


photos he hasn’t posted.
BRANDON SPECKTOR

14 | 04•2015 | rd.com
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Life
IN THESE UNITED STATES

HANGING UP with my 90-year-old Easter when her six-year-old woke


mother, I sighed, then said to up to all the booty and shouted,
my 96-year-old uncle, “She’s so “This is the best Christmas ever!”
stubborn.” CHRIS MCDONOUGH, W i l m i n g t o n , D e l a w a r e
He shook his head sympathetically
and warned, “You’re going to have AFTER FINISHING our Chinese food,
trouble with her when she gets old.” my husband and I cracked open our
ANGIE KIEM, Ir w i n , Io w a fortune cookies. Mine read, “Be quiet
for a little while.” His read, “Talk
A FRIEND KNEW that she’d over- while you have a chance.”
done it with the gifts and candy last CAROL BURKS, P r o v i d e n c e , R h o d e Is l a n d

16 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY JOE DICHIARRO


MY TEN-MONTH-OLD was sitting in AS IF THE declining health of my
her high chair, twisting and moving grandmother weren’t enough, my
all over the place. My wife said to parents suddenly had to contend
me, “Straighten her up.” with an ant infestation. So I was glad
I looked at my daughter and said, to get a text from Mom updating me:
“What are you doing with your life? “Exterminator was here; thinks she
Do you want to be this way forever? got the nest behind the microwave.
It’s time to grow up.” She sprayed, and hundreds came
My wife hasn’t asked me to do out—dead and woozy. Grandma
anything since. Marie the same.”
@TRMILLER1326, from reddit.com JENNIFER SHAFER, D u r h a m , N o r t h C a r o l i n a
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014 BY AURUM PRESS LIMITED, COPYRIGHT © 2014 TELEGRAPH MEDIA GROUP

MAPQUEST really needs to start its MY FIANCÉ AND I went to a coun-


directions on number five. Pretty sure selor to work on our communication
I know how to get out of my neigh- issues. Using herself as an example,
borhood. AARON KARO, from ruminations.com the counselor crossed her legs and her
arms and exhaled loudly. I was about
SCENE: My cousin Matt and his to say she was showing signs of frus-
daughter at Chick-fil-A. tration, but my fiancé beat me to it,
Matt: Can I please get a four-piece yelling, “I’ve got it! You’re constipated!”
kids’ meal with white milk. [Pause] TRACY VANCE, O c a l a , F l o r i d a
Oh, and gimme an extra white milk.
Clerk: Um … We only have one kind Have you spotted a funny classified ad
of milk, and it’s pretty white. or news blooper? It could be worth $100.
PAUL SILVERMAN, Mo h e g a n L a k e , Ne w Yo r k Go to rd.com/submit for details.

I’LL MEET YOU AT BURGER QUEEN


Good news! Thanks to these cheap knockoffs, you can travel overseas and still
enjoy a slice of Americana. From The Mad World of Sign Language (Aurum Press)

rd.com | 04•2015 | 17
WORDS OF LASTING INTEREST

Germaine Greer considers all manner of life and


takes hope from its amazing ability to renew

FR O M S MI T H SON IA N

ONCE GREAT WRONGS ARE DONE, it’s rarely possible


to undo them. Earth, the most exuberant planet known to
exist in any galaxy, carries great wounds upon its lovely face:
denuded hills; fertile farmlands being washed into the sea or
turned to dust; treasure-houses of biodiversity annihilated;
air, land, and water poisoned. It seems that nobody knows
how to reverse any of it.
GERMAINE And yet, in the cracks between the pavement of the expand-
GREER is an ing cities, seedlings of long-gone forest giants continue to
academic, a emerge. Earth keeps on trying to renew itself, after radioactive
theorist, and
leak, after nuclear explosion, after earthquake and eruption,
a journalist.
Her 2013 book after flood and tsunami. The planet’s powers of recuperation
White Beech and restoration are almost unbelievable. Give it an inch, and
is an account it will give you a mile.
ILLUSTRATION BY JOE MCKENDRY

of her work to Field flowers no longer grow amid the crops in England’s
rehabilitate fields, but once the backhoes are withdrawn from roadwork
a piece of
Australia’s
sites, poppies spring from the disturbed ground. The seed
rain forest. they have grown from blew off the fields maybe a generation
ago and has lain in the soil ever since, waiting for someone or
something to break the sod. Year after year, the poppies keep
turning up, every time bringing their promise of resurrection.
The dead hedgehog on the road cannot be brought back
to life, but creating habitats for hedgehogs will give other

18 | 04•2015 | rd.com
hedgehogs a better chance of breed- barn where they had built their mud
ing successfully so that numbers can nests so many years before. I stopped
build up again. In suburban gardens scanning the sky for them. I was
across England, people are making working in the greenhouse one day
tunnels under their fences so that when I heard their call and ran out
hedgehogs can travel without having to see. They were flying in and out of
to cross roads so often. It doesn’t the little entrance I had cut out of the
take much and costs nothing, but it barn door for them, for all the world
puts the householder on the side of as if they had never been away. And
Earth, which is the hedgehogs’ home they have come back every year
as much as it is ours. since. They, too, tell me that every-
The swallows that have nested at thing is not lost.
my place in Essex ever since I have The lower orders, as we unjustly
didn’t turn up one year. Or the next. call them, have enormous potential
Ten springs passed, and I thought for replenishment because they
they couldn’t possibly remember the reproduce in huge numbers. A

PHOTOGRAPH BY RUSS AND REYN rd.com | 04•2015 | 19


WORDS OF LASTING INTEREST

butterfly that this year seems extinct been logged, burned, cleared,
may turn up in clouds next year, plowed, grazed, and sprayed with
given a different weather pattern. Agent Orange. Yet when I saw it,
This is a massive reversal of fortunes, I knew that it could rebuild itself.
but the butterfly is born to it. All I had to do was to remove the
Insects are the virtuosos of reversal obstacles that prevented its coming
because metamorphosis is their back into its own: the cattle and
specialty. They begin as earthbound the invasive weeds, most of them
larvae that do nothing garden escapees, and
but eat and are as likely deliberately introduced
to end up as winged pasture grasses.
creatures that seldom The further down There was enough
eat. Even the humble we go, the more seed in the canopy to
cockroach can have revegetate much more
several nymphal stages; transformational than a mere 150 acres;
rain forest cockroach the powers most of it carried lar-
nymphs can be spectac-
ular. Even our exhausted
of the creatures val infestation, which
meant that the pollina-
honeybees might be we meet. tors the trees required
capable of coming back would be regenerated
from the brink if we along with them. No
improved their genetic diversity. sooner did the numbers of fruiting
The further down we go, the more trees build up than the bats turned
transformational the powers of the up, a dozen species of them. The bird
creatures we meet, until we arrive species multiplied, including some
at the viruses that can change them- thought to be on the verge of extinc-
selves faster than we can find ways tion. And the invertebrate population
of dealing with them. We imagine exploded.
ourselves to be at war with such The reversal of the forest’s devasta-
creatures, when they are our cousins tion may seem slow; it’s taken 14 years
and we need them on our side. If we so far, but for at least five of those,
colonize Mars, we will need to take my wonderful workforce and I were
some of them with us. learning what to do (and what not
In 2001, I went back to my birth- to do). It has now gathered speed,
place, Australia, to find a piece of land and soon there will be nothing but
that I could fix. In the past hundred maintenance left to do. The whole
years, a patch of subtropical rain process has taken less than an instant
forest in southeast Queensland had of evolutionary time.
COPYRIGHT © 2014 BY GERMAINE GREER. SMITHSONIAN (MAY 2014), SI.EDU.

20 | 04•2015 | rd.com
FACES
OF AMERICA

BY GLEN N GLASSER

Laurie Macha
SUPERVISOR OF
PENGUINS AND PINNIPEDS,
M YST I C AQ UA R I U M
M YST I C , CO N N E C T I C U T
“I like to start some of our
talks with kids by asking,
‘How many penguins does
a polar bear eat in a single
day?’ You get, ‘Fifty!’ ‘A
hundred!’ And sometimes
you get really smart kids
who know that polar bears
are found in the north, while
penguins are in the south.”

rd.com | 04•2015 | 21
FINISH THIS SENTENCE

…I decided
…I ate the whole to stay in
Portland,
fruitcake. Minnesota,
OR LES JACKSON with its negative-degree
days and no working
furnace.
MARY O’CONNOR EGGERT

…I
Yuba City, CA
permed …I got this tattoo
my hair on my leg.
PAMELA GODSIL
in the ’80s.
GLYNIS BUSCHMANN

…I thought I had to be

Las Vegas, NV normal.


LAUREN BYINGTON

…I moved

back to
Las Vegas. …I left a
KELLIE RIPPLEY MURPHY hamburger in
the car
for two days during the summer.
Yuck!
CINDY FORISH

 Go to facebook.com/
readersdigest for the chance
to finish the next sentence.

22 | 04•2015 | rd.com
…I thought
I could eat

all the
desserts …I married
…I I’ve been making
and not gain
a birder.
Freeport,
MN
posted 30 pounds.
CATHY HURTT
So. Much. Birding.
REBECCA MILLEN
that on
Facebook.
DANIEL STUART
Pittsburgh, PA
Lancaster, PA

Galesburg, IL Chillicothe, OH

…I promised my husband
Rolla, MO
Corydon, IN
no more cats.
I wish I could help them all.
JULIE SCOTT

…I bought
my son this Centre, AL

drum set. …I decided

AMY CARROLL BENNETT Atlanta, GA to run


for the bus
Red Oak, TX in four-inch-high stilettos.
Did I think the cobblestone
street would be kind?
JESSICA YADAV
…I quit my
well-paying Tampa, FL

government job
because I was miserable
instead of grateful.
MAUREEN WILSON
rd.com | 04•2015 | 23
Your True Stories
IN 100 WORDS

FIRST IN FLIGHT rewoven it, but this

T he little Cessna
had just cleared
the pattern in its
time off the path in
the bushes. How
humbling to realize
climb to 1,500 feet that the spider and
when my father said, I had learned the
“OK, we can land exact same lesson
now.” With my newly in the same amount
minted private pilot’s of time.
license in hand, I had JERROLD SCHWARTZ,
wanted him to be my first Pompano Beach, Florida

non-instructor passenger. I’d


planned to circle the Michigan State CROSSING OVER
University campus and come back
to the university-owned airport. I
reminded him of this, and I’ll never
G eriatric intensive care unit—
heart failure. I watch my mother’s
labored breathing as she holds on,
forget what Dad said, more than mouth grim, trapped in a lifetime
40 years ago: “I’m not fond of small of memories. I wait, knowing the
planes. I just wanted you to know cycle is near completion. “Go in
that I have confidence in you.” peace,” I say. In another hospital
KAY LOCKRIDGE, S a n t a Fe , Ne w Me x i c o ward, a new phase of my life awaits.
Neonatal intensive care unit—
MIND THE WEB meconium aspiration. I welcome

O ne morning, I walked down the


path to my car and right into
a huge spiderweb that had appeared
the sight of the mechanical ventilator,
knowing it’s easing the newborn’s
distress. Soon, my granddaughter’s
overnight. I felt foolish for not having bad start will be a mere memory.
seen it, rid myself of the web tendrils, “Welcome, little Olivia,” I whisper.
and went on my way. The next BELINDA NICOLL, We s t e r v i l l e , O h i o
morning, the very same scenario
occurred, and I felt even more foolish. To read more 100-word stories and to
submit your own, go to rd.com/stories.
On the third day, I was careful to If your story is selected for publication in
look for the web—the spider had the magazine, we’ll pay you $100.

24 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY KAGAN MCLEOD


CHOICE WORDS

od
A selection of quotes from the actor and director

W e drove around in an old


Pontiac … towing a one-
wheel trailer. We weren’t itinerant:
It wasn’t The Grapes of Wrath, but
it wasn’t uptown either. It gives you
a sort of conservative background,
being raised in an era when every-
thing was scarce. Source: Rolling Stone

T he whole romance of [Dirty


Harry] is the fact that he’s a guy
who hates bureaucracy. Well, who
doesn’t hate bureaucracy? … You
go to the [DMV and] fill out form
after form … That’s part of the
bureaucratic nightmare that man-
kind has made. Source: Psychology Today

I was telling stories on the piano


long before I ever directed a
movie … I like the image of the
piano player: The piano player
sits down, plays, tells his story,
and then gets up and leaves,
letting the music speak for itself.
Source: snappermusic.com

T his picture [American Sniper]


was interesting because I’m seeing
it from the point of a person who was

26 | 04•2015 | rd.com
I’m Joe Citizen. I’m a moviemaker, but
I have the same feelings as the average guy out there.
Source: Carmel Pinecone

sort of an American hero … His short years of World War II … But


family and his beliefs were very that’s kind of a sad statement on
strong … You have to embrace his mankind. Source: Wall Street Journal

philosophy if you’re going to tell a


story about him. Source: Toronto Star

M y father died very suddenly at


63 … For a long time afterward,

T here’s a rebel lying deep in my


soul. Anytime anybody tells me
the trend is such and such, I go the
I’d ask myself, Why didn’t I ask him
to play golf more? Why didn’t I spend
more time with him? ... There’s
opposite direction. I hate the idea nothing you can do about it. So you
of trends. I hate imitation; I have just forge on. Source: Esquire

a reverence for individuality.


Source: Wild Open Spaces

I t’s too late for vanity. If I was 30,


maybe, I’d say, “Hey, that’s not

W hen [my old films are on


TV] … I slide slowly under
the table in embarrassment. I cringe
a good angle.” But there is no good
angle now. Source: the Guardian (U.K.)
SOURCE P HOTO: GILBERT CARRASQUI LLO/GETTY IM AGES

at having these huge heads of hair,


big sideburns, and wearing some
terrible bell-bottom pants.
T he stronger the participation of
the female characters, the better
the movie. They knew that in the old
Source: Woman and Home days, when women stars were equally
as important as men. Hepburn,

E xtremism is so easy. You’ve got


your position, and that’s it. It
doesn’t take much thought. And
Davis, Colbert: They had great faces
and great voices. Source: rogerebert.com

when you go far enough to the right,


you meet the same idiots coming
around from the left. Source: Time
I ’ve always felt that if I examine
myself too much, I’ll find out what
I know and don’t know, and I’ll burst
the bubble. I’ve gotten so lucky rely-

M an becomes his most creative


during war. Look at the amount
of weaponry that was made in four
ing on my animal instincts, I’d rather
keep a little bit of the animal alive.
Source: Esquire

ILLUSTRATION BY TRACY TURNBULL rd.com | 04•2015 | 27


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YOU BE THE JUDGE

Who’s to blame when


an obese passenger dies
after she tries to fly?

The Case
Of the
Unfriendly
Skies
BY VIC KI GLEMB OCKI

ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2012, seats in Vilma’s row were broken,


Bronx, New York, couple Janos and and she couldn’t maneuver into her
Vilma Soltesz flew from New York spot. Employees did not offer differ-
City to Budapest, Hungary, where ent seats but instead spoke to the
they spent the next several weeks at captain, who told the Solteszes
their vacation home in Veszprém. that they had to get off the plane.
It wasn’t easy for Vilma to travel— The couple waited in the airport
she weighed more than 400 pounds, for five hours. The delay was worri-
and her left leg had been amputated some to them—Vilma had been
above the knee. She’d purchased feeling ill since October 2, and her
two seats for herself and informed physician in New York wanted to
the airline, Lufthansa, of her condi- examine her as soon as they returned.
tion in advance, since she required Finally, the airline informed them
a special lift to get into the cabin. that they’d be flying out on Delta,
When the couple, both in their KLM’s partner, the following day from
mid-50s, boarded their return flight Prague, in the Czech Republic, a
via KLM airlines on October 15, they four-hour drive away. KLM assured
discovered that the backs of two Janos that Delta had been made ➸

ILLUSTRATION BY NOMA BAR rd.com | 04•2015 | 29


YO U B E T H E J U D G E

aware of the assistance that Vilma In January 2013, Janos sued the
would need to board the plane there. three airlines for $6 million, claiming
The next day, the couple drove to “wrongful death.” Lufthansa’s attor-
the Prague airport, but when they ney, Michael Holland, sent a letter to
tried to board the plane, they realized the New York district court judge in
that Delta didn’t have an adequate February, asking to dismiss the case,
wheelchair or lift to aid Vilma. The since it didn’t qualify as an accident
couple drove four hours back to their under the Montreal Convention, a
vacation home and called their travel 1999 international treaty that governs
agent, who booked three seats on a airline liability. According to the
Lufthansa flight from Prague to New treaty, which has been clarified by
York on October 22. With help from the Supreme Court, a passenger can
Lufthansa medics and local firefight- recover damages only if the injuries
ers, Vilma was nearly seated on the were caused by “an unexpected or
plane when the captain emerged from unusual event … external to the pas-
the cockpit and told the couple to senger.” Holland claimed that the ac-
disembark, claiming that Vilma was cident wasn’t “external,” because the
delaying other passengers. It took “[d]ecedent’s own health condition
30 minutes to get Vilma off the plane. rendered her unable to travel safely.”
The Solteszes returned again to their
vacation home. Two days later, Janos Were the airlines liable for the death
found his wife dead in her bed. of Vilma Soltesz? You be the judge.

THE VERDICT

In a March 2013 letter to the judge, Janos’s attorney, Holly Ostrov Ronai,
disagreed with Holland, arguing that despite being informed in advance
of Vilma’s condition, the airlines not only failed to have the proper equip-
ment available but also “caused Ms. Soltesz to repeatedly board [and]
disembark, travel from airline to airline, travel to another airport, and even
travel to another country, which caused her medical condition to worsen.”
The judge agreed, and the case never made it to court. In August 2013,
the airlines settled for an undisclosed amount. “It’s quite sad,” says Ronai.
“They wanted to get home. They just wanted to get home.”

Agree? Disagree? Sound off at rd.com/judge.

30 | 04•2015 | rd.com
Memorable Moments
“SERVICE WITH A SMILE”

We posted this photo of an old-time service station on Facebook, and


it inspired a trove of fond recollections from readers.

MY FIRST CAR was a ’57 Chevy four-


door. I bought it myself for $100.
The very first time I went to get gas,
I couldn’t find the tank. The service-
man came out and showed me that it
was in the fin! That was 1973 for you.
CAROLANN ELLMORE

THE MAN IN this photo reminds me


of Rudy Freid at the Union 76 station
in our very small town of Solon
Springs, Wisconsin. He lived in the
back of his station behind a curtain.
I still remember the smell of oil when
going inside, the wood floors, the
old wooden captain’s chairs for those
who wanted to sit and visit awhile. and ironed his uniforms, but by
Everyone loved Rudy. JEAN BRADFORD the end of the day, they were stained,
and he smelled of grease and dirt.
H. A RMSTRONG ROBERTS/GETTY I MAGES

MY DAD OWNED a Mobil station In those days, hard work was the
back in the early ’50s. He took great norm. Many couldn’t pay, and times
pride in caring for his customers. He were hard. Daddy would just let
washed windshields, checked tires them “put it on their bill” till they
and oil, and always wore a smile on could pay him back.
his face. My mother washed, starched, SUE MOORE CARPENTER

Produced with our sister publication Reminisce, a nostalgia magazine


packed with readers’ true stories from the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
To join the conversation or subscribe, go to reminisce.com. Want to share
your Memorable Moment? Send photos to submissions@reminisce.com.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 31
Points to Ponder
I ENJOY and am enjoying the good WE SHOULD TRY to encourage
things that come along with [aging] … a movement where you have two
Nobody can buy experience. Nobody hands [showing] in all photos …
can buy wisdom. Nobody can buy called “Keeping America Honest.”
a shared history with others that you You throw up two peace signs or two
get by being relevant and engaged thumbs-ups, and it means you’re
year upon year upon year. not doing a selfie; you actually have
a friend. Or a tripod.
ROB LOWE,
a c t o r, on esquire.com CHELSEA PERETTI,
comedian, on her podcast Call Chelsea Peretti

THE PRICE OF GREATNESS is more


than you want to pay. The world’s PERHAPS EVEN MORE often than
most legendary athletes are usually exchanging pleasantries, we also
the ones most wildly out of balance. exchange dissatisfactions … Two
Michael Jordan had to crush you, strangers complaining on a subway
whether you were an opponent or platform can end up cracking a smile
a teammate … Enjoy your heroes, or laughing, and though it would
but don’t envy them. hardly be considered the beginning
of a lifelong friendship, it is still
RICK REILLY, neighborly.
s p o r t s w r i t e r, on espn.com

MARIANA ALESSANDRI, PHD,


p r o f e s s o r o f p h i l o s o p hy , in the New York Times
EUGENE GOLOGURSKY/GETTY I MAGES

I wish America would spend


even half as much time
complaining about plastics
in our oceans as we do about
actresses’ plastic surgery.
BETTE MIDLER, a c t r e s s a n d p h i l a n t h r o p i s t , on Twitter

 Sign up for a daily Points to Ponder e-mail at rd.com/ptp.


The use of torture
compromises that which
most distinguishes us from
our enemies: our belief that
all people, even … enemies,
possess basic human rights.
JOHN MCCAIN, U. S . s e n a t o r, in a statement to the Senate

THE THINGS WE DO outlast our WE ALWAYS LOOK at our children’s


mortality … They’re like the pyramids futures with equal parts unjustified
that the Egyptians built to honor the hope and unjustified alarm—both
pharaohs. Only instead of being utopia and dystopia. We look at our
made of stone, they’re made out of own past with wistful nostalgia.
the memories people have of you.
FROM TOP: KEVI N WINTER/GETTY I MAGES . DOUGLAS GORENSTEIN/N BC/G E TTY IMAG E S

ALISON GOPNIK, PHD,


R. J. PALACIO, professor of psychology, in the Wall Street Journal

a u t h o r, in her young-adult novel Wonder

THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN job


IN MOST SOCIETIES, we [recognize] destruction because of automation
the right of people to keep secrets. and technological progress. The
But really, there’s only one purpose important thing to keep in mind is
for keeping secrets: Secrets exist to that there has also always been job
prevent other people from acting as creation because of the same forces.
they would if they had complete
information. ANDREW MCAFEE, PHD,
research scientist, in New Scientist

NOAH DYER,
t ra n s p a r e n c y a d v o c a t e , in the Atlantic

I’m absolutely ready for a


woman president. I’m ready for
a woman nighttime-talk-show
host, to tell you the truth.
I wonder which will be first.
CHRIS ROCK, c o m e d i a n , in New York
Sweet raisins and tart cranberries.

Together at last.
I love redheads Stop, I’m blushing

New Kellogg’s Raisin Bran® with Cranberries.


The tongue-teasing taste of tart and sweet, plus an
excellent source of fiber and Antioxidant Vitamin E.
ART of LIVING

It’s Not All It’s


Cracked Up to Be
BY E M I LY ES FAH ANI S M ITH FR O M T H E ATL A N TIC

PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK FERRARI, LETTERING BY JOEL HOLLAND rd.com | 04•2015 | 35


H A P P I N E SS : I T ’ S N OT A L L I T ’ S C R AC K E D U P TO B E

IN SEPTEMBER 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and


neurologist in Vienna, was arrested and transported to a Nazi concentration
camp with his wife and parents. Three years later, when his camp was
liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant wife, had perished—
but he, prisoner number 119104, had lived. In his bestselling 1946 book,
Man’s Search for Meaning, which he wrote in nine days about his experiences
in the camps, Frankl concluded that the difference between those who lived
and those who died came down to one thing: meaning.

Frankl worked as a therapist in be able to bear almost any ‘how,’ ”


the camps, and in his book, he gave Frankl wrote.
the example of two suicidal inmates Now Frankl’s timeless message
he encountered there. Like many seems to be at odds with our culture,
others, these men felt hopeless. “In which is more interested in the
both cases,” Frankl wrote, “it was a pursuit of individual happiness than
question of getting them to realize in the search for meaning. In 2012,
that life was still expecting something the happiness levels of Americans hit
from them.” For one man, it was his a four-year high, according to Gallup.
young child, who was then living However, about four in ten Americans
in a foreign country. For the other, have not discovered a satisfying
a scientist, it was a series of books life purpose, regardless of how well
he needed to finish. “Everything can their immediate needs are being
be taken from a man but one thing: met, according to the Centers for
the last of human freedoms—to Disease Control and Prevention.

P ROP STYLIST: M EGUM I EMOTO FOR AN DERSON HOP KINS


choose one’s attitude in any given
set of circumstances, to choose
one’s own way,” Frankl wrote in
Man’s Search for Meaning. As he
R ESEARCH HAS SHOWN that hav-
ing purpose and meaning in life
increases overall well-being and life
saw in the camps, those who found satisfaction, improves mental and
meaning in even the most horren- physical health, enhances resiliency,
dous circumstances were far more builds self-esteem, and decreases the
resilient to suffering than those chances of depression. And ironically,
who did not. “A man who becomes the single-minded pursuit of happi-
conscious of the responsibility he ness is leaving people less happy,
bears toward a human being who according to recent research. “It is
affectionately waits for him, or to the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl
an unfinished work, will never be wrote, “that thwarts happiness.” It
able to throw away his life. He knows is why some researchers caution
the ‘why’ for his existence and will against a goal of merely being happy.

36 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

In a study published in the Journal according to Roy Baumeister, the


of Positive Psychology, psychological study’s lead researcher.
scientists asked nearly 400 Americans The study participants derived
whether they thought their lives meaning from giving a part of them-
were meaningful and/or happy. The selves away to others. In the words
researchers found that happy people of Martin E. P. Seligman, one of the
get joy from receiving; people lead- leading psychological scientists
ing meaningful lives get joy from alive today, in the meaningful life,
giving to others. “Happiness without “you use your highest strengths
meaning characterizes a relatively and talents to belong to and serve
shallow, self-absorbed, or even something you believe is larger than
selfish life, in which things go the self.” For instance, having more
well, needs and desire are easily meaning in one’s life was associated
satisfied, and difficult or taxing with activities like buying presents
entanglements are avoided,” the
authors wrote.
Specifically, the researchers
discovered that people who
are happy tend to think that
life is easy, are in good
physical health, and are
able to buy the things
that they want and
need. The happy life
is defined by a lack
of stress or worry.
Humans, then, are
not the only ones
who can feel happy.
Animals also feel
happy when their
needs and drives are
satisfied, the research-
ers pointed out. What
sets human beings apart
from animals is not the
pursuit of happiness
but the pursuit
of meaning,

rd.com | 04•2015 | 37
H A P P I N E SS : I T ’ S N OT A L L I T ’ S C R AC K E D U P TO B E

for others, taking care of kids, and less happy interacting with their
arguing. People whose lives have children than they are exercising,
high levels of meaning often actively eating, and watching television.
seek out meaning even when they
know it will come at the expense
of happiness. Having children, for
example, is associated with the
M EANING IS also about tran-
scending the present moment.
While happiness is an emotion felt in
meaningful life and requires self- the here and now, it ultimately fades
sacrifice, but it has been famously away, as all emotions do. Feelings
associated with low happiness of pleasure are fleeting. Meaning,
among parents, including the ones on the other hand, is enduring. In
in this study. In fact, according to the study, people who thought more
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, about the present were happier, but
research shows that parents are people who spent more time think-
ing about the future or about past
struggles or suffering felt more
meaning. Another study from
2011 confirmed this: People
who have meaning in their
lives, in the form of a
clearly defined purpose,
rated their satisfaction
with life higher—even
when they were feeling
bad—than those who
did not have a clearly
defined purpose.
Which brings us
back to Frankl’s life
and, specifically, a
decisive experience
he had before he was
sent to the concentra-
tion camps. In his early
adulthood, Frankl had
established himself as
one of the leading psychia-
trists in Vienna. By
1941, his theories had

38 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

received international attention, out for St. Stephen’s Cathedral in


and he was working as the chief of Vienna to clear his head. He was
neurology at Vienna’s Rothschild looking for a “hint from heaven.”
Hospital, where he risked his life When he returned home, he found
and career by making false diagno- it—in a piece of marble lying on the
ses of mentally ill patients so that table. It was from the rubble of one
they would not, per Nazi orders, of the nearby synagogues that the
be euthanized. Nazis had destroyed, his father
With his career on the rise and explained. It contained a fragment
the threat of the Nazis looming, of one of the Ten Commandments—
Frankl had applied for a visa to the one about honoring your father
America, which he was granted in and your mother. Frankl stayed.
1941. By then, the Nazis had already The wisdom that Frankl derived
started taking Jews to concentration from his experiences in the camps, in
camps, focusing on the elderly first. the middle of unimaginable human
Frankl knew that it would be only suffering, is just as relevant now as
a matter of time before the Nazis it was then: “Being human always
came for his parents. Once they did, points, and is directed, to something
he felt he had a responsibility to or someone other than oneself.
help them through the trauma of The more one forgets himself—by
adjusting to camp life. On the other giving himself to a cause to serve or
hand, as a newly married man with another person to love—the more
his visa in hand, he was tempted human he is.” By devoting our lives
to flee to safety in America, where to “giving” rather than “taking,” we
he could distinguish himself even also acknowledge that there is more
further in his field. to the good life than the pursuit of
At a loss for what to do, Frankl set simple happiness.
THE ATLANTIC (MARCH 2014), COPYRIGHT © 2014 THE ATLANTIC MEDIA CO., THEATLANTIC.COM.

RIDDLE ME THIS

QUESTION: I never was, am always to be;


no one has seen me, nor will they see.
Close to sun’s set, and far from sunrise; I will live on,
till time’s own demise. What am I?
ANSWER: Tomorrow.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 39
TRAVEL

What Living in Paradise


Taught Me BY AMANDA WALKINS FROM HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

EVER SINCE I quit my job at a NEEDS ARE DIFFERENT


legal association in Washington, DC, 3 FROM WANTS. I might want
for a life of warm weather and ad- new clothes, but unless my current
venture in Roatán, Honduras, my ones are falling apart, I don’t need
whole outlook has changed. Anyone, them. Stains and holes happen. It’s
anywhere, can cultivate the calm liberating to realize that I don’t notice
that vacationers and expats like me what anyone is wearing, what type
famously find in the tropics. of phone a person has, or whether or
not someone owns a vehicle.
ELECTRICITY IS OVER-
1 RATED. Power outages TIME SHOULDN’T
are fairly common here during 4 DICTATE LIFE. It’s fun
rainy seasons, and I’m not to watch tourists learn to
living off the grid—I have relax while they’re here.
a laptop, an iPhone, and a Scheduling every minute

P ROP STYLIST: M EGUM I EMOTO FOR AN DERSON HOP KINS


Kindle. But when I’m faced makes you ask where the years
with no electricity, I remember went. When the sun rises,
to breathe, reflect, and listen a new day begins. When
to the waves and the wind. it sets, a new night begins.
It’s that simple.
MAKE DO—IT’S
2 FUN! Sometimes TRUST THESE
I go to the supermarket, 5 WORDS: Author
and there is no chicken or Karen Blixen once wrote:
bread or milk or tomatoes “I know the cure for every-
or whatever I intended to thing: Salt water … in one
buy. I’ve learned to get form or another. Sweat,
creative. Thinking of new tears, or the salt sea.”
culinary concoctions is There’s nothing that one
a favorite pastime. or all of those can’t fix.

40 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK FERRARI


Cookies
At Gate A-4
BY N AO M I SH I H A B N Y E
F ROM THE B OOK H O N EYBE E

I WAS WANDERING around the


Albuquerque airport. My flight had
been delayed, and I heard an an- She talked with him. Then we called
nouncement: “If anyone near Gate her other sons just for fun. Then we
A-4 understands Arabic, please come called my dad, and they spoke for
to the gate immediately.” Gate A-4 a while in Arabic and found out that
was my own gate. I went there. they had ten shared friends. After
An older woman was crumpled on that, I called some Palestinian poets
the floor, wailing. In her traditional I know and let them chat with her.
Palestinian embroidered dress, she She was laughing a lot by then,
reminded me of my grandmother. patting my knee, answering ques-
“Talk to her,” urged the flight agent. tions. She pulled a sack of homemade
“We told her the flight was going to mamool cookies—little crumbly
FOOD STYLIST: ED GABRIELS FOR HA LLEY RESOURC ES

be late, and she did this.” mounds stuffed with dates and nuts
I stooped to put my arm around and topped with sugar—from her bag
the woman and spoke haltingly. and offered them to the women at
“Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? the gate. To my amazement, no one
Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit- declined. It was like a sacrament.
se-wee?” She stopped crying. She The traveler from Argentina, the mom
thought the flight had been canceled. from California, the lovely woman
She needed to be in El Paso for a from Laredo—we were all smiling,
medical treatment the next day. I covered with the same sugar.
said, “You’ll get there, just late. Who I looked around that gate and
is picking you up? Let’s call him.” thought, This is the world I want to
We called her son. In English, I live in. One with no apprehension.
told him that I would stay with his This can still happen anywhere,
mother until we got on the plane. I thought. Not everything is lost.
HONEYBEE, BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, COPYRIGHT © 2006 BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE, IS PUBLISHED
BY HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS, HARPERCOLLINS.COM.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 41
FAMILY

Walking Misty
BY J I L L S M O LOW E F R OM T H E BA R K.CO M

IN 2004, when my daughter appointments, to feed and groom


Becky was ten, she and my husband, her, Misty knew this on day one. As
Joe, were united in their desire for she peered up at the three new hu-
a dog. As for me, I shared none of mans in her life (small, medium, and
their canine lust. large), she calculated, “The medium
But why, they pleaded. “Because one is the sucker in the pack.”
I don’t have time to take care of a Quickly, she and I developed
dog.” But we’ll do it. “Really? You’re something akin to a Vulcan mind
going to walk the dog? Feed the dog? meld. She’d look at me with those
Bathe the dog?” Yes, yes, and yes. “I doleful brown eyes of hers, beam
don’t believe you.” We will. We swear. her need, and then wait, trusting I
They didn’t. From day two (every- would understand—which, bizarrely,
one wanted to walk the cute Cavalier I almost always did. In no time, she
King Charles spaniel puppy that became my fifth appendage, snoring
first day), neither thought to walk on my home-office couch as I
the dog. While I was slow to accept worked, cradling against my feet
that I would be the one to keep track as I read, and splaying across my
of her shots, to schedule her vet stomach as I watched television.

42 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER SILAS NEAL


Even so, part of me continued to drama unfolded. The evening walk
resent walking duty. Joe and Becky was a time to shake off the day’s
had sworn. They’d promised. Not upsets and let the worry tracks in
fair, I’d balk silently as she and I my head go to white noise.
walked. “Not fair,” I’d loudly remind When dire illness visits your
anyone within earshot upon our household, it’s not just your daily
return home. routine and your assumptions about
Then one day—January 1, 2007, to the future that are no longer familiar.
be exact—my husband’s hematologist Pretty much everyone you know acts
uttered an unthinkable word: differently.
leukemia. With that, my walk-and- Not Misty. Take her for a walk,
balk tirades evaporated, my head too and she had no interest in Joe’s
filled with worry to leave room for blood counts, chemo concoctions,
petty resentments. I spent eight to ten or bone marrow test results. On the
hours a day with Joe in the hospital, street or in the park, she had only one
doing anything and everything I thing on her mind: squirrels! If we
could to ease his discomfort as he crossed paths with another pooch,
withstood chemo, surgery, and then she had a different agenda: Sniff that
a stem cell transplant. During those dog’s butt! She was so joyous that
six months of hospitalizations, Becky, even on the worst days, she could
12 at the time, adjusted to other make me smile. On a daily basis, she
adults being in the house when reminded me that life goes on.
she returned from school. My work After Joe died in 2009, Misty slept
colleagues adjusted to my taking off on his pillow.
at a moment’s notice for medical When a new human named Bob
emergencies. Every part of my life entered the picture, she quickly
shifted; no part of my old routine trained him to take her on walks.
remained. I’m grateful—to a point. The truth
Save one: Misty still needed walk- is, after years of balking, I’ve come
ing. Initially, when friends offered to savor my walks with Misty. As
to take her through her paces, I I watch her chase after a squirrel,
declined because I knew they had throwing her whole being into the
their own households to deal with. here-and-now of an exercise that has
As the months went by, I began to never once ended in victory, she
realize that I actually wanted to walk reminds me, too, that no matter how
Misty. The walk in the morning before harsh the present or unpredictable
I headed to the hospital was a quiet, the future, there’s almost always
peaceful time to gather my thoughts some measure of joy to be extracted
or to just be before the day’s medical from the moment.
COPYRIGHT © 2014 BY JILL SMOLOWE. THE BARK (SUMMER 2014), THEBARK.COM

rd.com | 04•2015 | 43
FOOD

Put Some Super


In Your Food BY M ANDY OAK LA N DER
FR O M PR E V E NT I O N

VEGGIES CONTAIN antioxidants PURPLE POTATOES


that are fat soluble (meaning your How: Season with turmeric or
body absorbs them better when curry powder and bake.
they’re paired with a fat) and water Why: Boiling purple potatoes releases
soluble (nutrients will leach out if the hard-won anthocyanins into the
food is prepared in water). Maximize water; baking retains them. Adding
the health benefits of superfoods in a phytochemical-rich seasoning
with this cheat sheet courtesy of food like turmeric gives you a double
scientist Bradley Bolling, PhD. dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.

44 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK FERRARI


KALE fat soluble, so you won’t lose them
How: Sauté with a bit of olive oil. by boiling or steaming, but roasting
Why: Kale is rife with water-soluble these veggies makes them taste best.
polyphenols, so if you steam or boil
it, they’ll escape into the water. PARSLEY
Sautéing kale with an oil preserves How: Make tabbouleh.
them and helps you absorb the Why: Parsley is rich in flavonoids—
plant’s fat-soluble carotenoids too. especially the potential cancer-
fighter apigenin—and tabbouleh
ONIONS is rich in parsley. “People typically
FOOD STY LIST: ED GABRIE L S FOR HAL L E Y RE SOU RCE S

How: Chop into wedges, let sit for use parsley as a garnish, but in
15 minutes, then roast at 375°F to tabbouleh, you can eat more than
400°F for 20 minutes. just a little,” says Bolling.
Why: When a cut onion is allowed
to rest, an enzyme forms that creates CORN
health-promoting sulfur compounds How: Roast ears, then cut kernels
throughout the entire onion. Roast- off cob and pop them into vegetable
ing it preserves the phytochemicals— broth with fresh herbs like thyme and
and provides the bonus of a sweet, basil to make a fresh corn chowder.
caramelized flavor. Why: Roasting corn first heightens
the flavor. Cooking and serving it in
CARROTS broth will extract and retain corn’s
How: Peel carefully, coat in oil, water-soluble phytochemicals.
and roast.
Why: The healthy polyacetylene com- PEPPERS
pounds found in carrots are concen- How: Coat with oil and grill.
trated near the surface; peel too Why: Grilling maximizes phytochem-
aggressively and you risk icals by breaking down the plant-cell
losing them. Poly- walls. Add a little oil for flavor and
acetylenes are to help your body absorb those
valuable carotenoids.
PREVENTION
(DECEMBER 2014),
COPYRIGHT © 2014
BY RODALE INC.,
PREVENTION.COM.

NOTE: Ads were removed from this edition. Please continue to page 50.
ALL IN

A Day’s Work

“Have you tried opening the back and emptying the pencil shavings?”

WHEN MY HUSBAND, James Rowles, with us the Reverend James Biscuits.”


was in the seminary, he was invited to RUTH ROWLES, Ha l i f a x , Vi r g i n i a
preach at a small rural church. How-
ever, the man who was to introduce A LAST-MINUTE FILER walked into
him to the congregation had trouble our state income tax office and
pronouncing his name. So James handed me his returns. Just as he
offered this verbal clue: “Remember did, a peal of laughter could be heard
rolls, like hot buttered rolls.” in another room. Glaring at me, he
It worked. When it came time grumbled, “What are they doing back
for the introduction, the man an- there, counting the money?”
nounced, “We are pleased to have WILLIAM UMBERSON, S a n D i e g o, C a l i f o r n i a

50 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN CALDWELL


MY BOSS was watching a video of IF YOU WERE an auto insurer,
his son. I heard a voice in the back- would you have paid these actual
ground and asked if it was Elmo. claims?
It was his wife. Source: fmylife.com ■ “In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove
into a telephone pole.”
A FRIEND OF MINE works at a tattoo ■ “I didn’t think the speed limit
shop. A client walked in and got a applied after midnight.”
sentence tattooed on his back. A few ■ “The car in front hit the pedestrian,
hours later, the customer called, but he got up so I hit him again.”
demanding a refund. Source: businessball.com

Client: You did my tattoo backward!


Tattoo artist: It’s backward?
Client: Yes! I’m looking at it in the
mirror right now! Source: clientsfromhell.net
SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK
WHILE TEACHING at a veterinary
college, I ordered a few books for our
Student: I don’t understand why
library. One was George Orwell’s
my grade was so low. How did
Animal Farm. When I went to take it I do on my research paper?
out, I discovered that the librarian
had placed the book in the section Teacher: Actually, you didn’t
turn in a research paper. You
for dairy and poultry.
turned in a random assemblage
JACOB CHEERAN, T h r i s s u r, In d i a
of sentences. In fact, the
sentences you apparently
MY HUSBAND was at a dinner with kidnapped in the dead of night
colleagues, and one of them had too and forced into this violent and
much to drink. Feeling drowsy, the arbitrary plan of yours clearly
poor man sank back into his chair seemed to be placed on the
and said, “I don’t feel good. I’m pages against their will. Reading
your paper was like watching
going into screen saver mode.”
unfamiliar, uncomfortable people
L. Y., v i a In t e r n e t
interacting at a cocktail party
that no one wanted to attend in
DURING MY THIRD-GRADE music the first place. You didn’t submit
class, my question, “Does anyone a research paper. You submitted
know what a polka is?” was met with a hostage situation.
blank stares. So, prompting them, I
asked, “Polka is a type of what?” Anything funny happen to you at work
One student answered, “Dot.” lately? It could be worth $100. See page 7
TAMARA MICHAL, L i v e O a k , F l o r i d a for details or go to rd.com/submit.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 51
HEALTH

Sniff to Heal
BY KELSEY KLOSS

ALMONDS RELIEVE PAIN Eastern Psychological Association


Getting a bit nutty when you’re Conference in 2011, researchers
in pain might help you. Canadian analyzed 20 people as they slept in
researchers asked 20 men rooms scented with jasmine, laven-
and 20 women to immerse der, or nothing. Participants moved
their hands in painfully the least during sleep and rated their
hot water (a common anxiety levels lowest after smelling
pain-tolerance test) jasmine. They also performed better
for as long as possible on cognitive tests, which researchers
while exposed to say could be especially helpful for
different odors. When students or athletes who have trouble
the women smelled sleeping before a big test or game.
pleasant scents like
almond extract, they re- LEMON BEATS THE BLUES
ported 38 percent less pain; they had A whiff of citrus could boost your
higher pain levels with stringent scents mood. In a Japanese study, research-
like vinegar. The odors had no effect ers exposed 12 patients diagnosed
on the men’s pain, but both sexes re- with depression to a fragrant blend
ported better moods when exposed to of citrus—consisting mostly of
enjoyable smells. Experts say specific lemon oil—by circulating it in a
scents could be used to make post- room where they spent most of their
operative patients more comfortable, time. The aroma regulated hormone
P ROP STYLIST: M EGUM I EMOTO

but more research is needed. levels, boosted immune func-


FOR A NDERSON HOPKINS

tion, and markedly lowered


JASMINE HELPS YOU the dosages of antidepres-
SLEEP BETTER sants the patients
If you still feel tired come needed. For a natural
morning, try snoozing to pick-me-up, dab
the scent of jasmine. In lemon balm on the
a study presented at the inside of your wrist.

52 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK FERRARI


BLACK PEPPER ing stimulates the central
HELPS YOU QUIT nervous system, enhancing
SMOKING performance and motivation.
In a 2013 study
published in the Journal BANANAS CURB CRAVINGS
of Alternative and Complementary Consider a fruity trick to stop over-
Medicine, nicotine users took a whiff eating: In a study led by Dr. Hirsch,
of either black pepper oil or angelica more than 3,000 overweight people
oil. Both essential oils reduced crav- sniffed scents like banana and
ings: Participants who inhaled black green apple when they
pepper reported a slight burning felt hungry. On average,
feeling in the throat, mimicking a they lost five pounds
sensation they enjoyed when smoking, monthly throughout
while the angelica group reported the six-month study
relaxation similar to that induced by (without dieting!).
the act of smoking. Researchers sug- Certain odors trigger
gest smokers smell a drop of the oils the release of hor-
on a cotton ball (either separately or mones that give the
together) when a craving hits. perception of feeling full.

CINNAMON IMPROVES ROSES GIVE YOU SWEET DREAMS


BALANCE Prone to nightmares? Place a potted
When neurologist rosebush or a rose bouquet near
Alan Hirsch, MD, your bed. In a German study, women
of the Smell & Taste who slept in a rose-scented room
Treatment and reported experiencing pleasant
Research Foundation, dreams, while those exposed to a
gave 11 blindfolded rotten-egg smell were more likely to
participants a stability have negative ones. Experts say smell
test, ten had significantly improved can affect the brain’s emotional
balance when smelling a baked responses, and since
FOOD STYLIST: ED GABRIELS

cinnamon bun aroma compared with pleasant smells


FOR HALLEY RES OURCES

other scents. The spice can improve like roses are


other motor skills too: Researchers at often linked to
Wheeling Jesuit University discovered happy memo-
that cinnamon decreased fatigue and ries, they
road rage and increased alertness can promote
among drivers (so opt for a cinnamon- more agreeable
scented car freshener!). The season- dreams.
HEALTH

Doctors’ Orders

7 Dangerous First Aid


Mistakes
TREATING AN INJURY promptly
BY TH E P H YS IC IANS OF T H E DOCTOR S

TILTING YOUR HEAD BACK


and properly can have a huge effect 2 DURING A NOSEBLEED
on recovery. But we still see many This can cause the blood to drain into
patients handling common wounds the back of your throat, which can
the wrong way—due partly to old make you gag or cough, potentially
wives’ tales that won’t die and partly obstructing breathing. Instead, apply
to new science around emergency direct pressure by pinching your
care. We asked our colleagues— nose, but keep your head in a ➸
some of the nation’s top emergency-
care providers—to debunk common
misperceptions.

NOT TREATING A BURN


1 LONG ENOUGH
Forget butter or ice—the best way
to soothe burned skin is to run it
under cool water. But a few sec-
onds or minutes isn’t enough;
you need to do it for at least
ten to 20 minutes, says Jeffrey
Pellegrino, PhD, of the Amer-
ican Red Cross. “The heat
from a burn travels deep into
your skin, where it can continue
to destroy tissue even if you’ve
cooled the surface,” he says. Cohost Cohost
Jim Rachael
“You need the cold to soak in Ross, MD
Sears, MD
to prevent further damage.”

54 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBYN TWOMEY


Bring Them Back
to the Dinner Table
Try our NEW Online Classes
TOHCookingSchool.com

Now you can learn from the experts at the


Taste of Home Cooking School right in your own home!

FREE Try it FREE!


Check it out at
TOHCookingSchool.com
H E A LT H

neutral position with your chin paral- can remove them and make the
lel to the ground. Sit and stay relaxed. wound start bleeding all over again.
If that happens, apply pressure to the
PUTTING HEAT ON A SPRAIN cut until the bleeding stops, then rinse
3 OR FRACTURE the wound out (to prevent infection),
“Always apply cold initially,” says apply an antibiotic ointment (if not
William Gluckman, DO, spokesman allergic), and rewrap with a bandage.
for the Urgent Care Association of
America. Ice helps decrease swelling, NOT SEEKING CARE
whereas heat boosts blood flow, 6 AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
which can make swelling worse. If you have severe car damage, get
Save heat for issues like back spasms. checked out at the hospital, even
if you feel fine. “Your adrenaline-
TRYING TO REMOVE DEBRIS fueled, fight-or-flight response can
4 FROM AN INJURED EYE mask pain initially,” says Cebollero.
Fishing around for the irritant can “It can be ten minutes or two hours
worsen the wound and even lead to after the accident before you feel
permanent damage. Instead, protect something.” Responders at the scene
the eye—secure a paper cup over it can’t necessarily rule out brain
with tape so nothing else can get bleeds or broken bones.
in—and seek immediate care. The
only exception is if you get a chemi- MAKING IT HARD FOR THE
cal in your eye; in that case, flush it 7 EMT TO FIND YOU
out with water for about 15 minutes. Say you’re stung by a bee in your
backyard and are having a serious
REMOVING GAUZE FROM allergic reaction. First have someone
5 A BLEEDING WOUND call 911. Then head to the driveway.
If the pad soaks through, don’t pick Choking in a restaurant? Don’t run
it up and replace it—just add a fresh to the bathroom. “People die in
piece of gauze on top, says Chris bathrooms from choking because
Cebollero, chief of EMS for Christian they don’t want to disturb other
Hospital in St. Louis. Clotting factors diners. They collapse, and nobody
in the blood surface to help stop the knows why,” says Pellegrino. Stay
bleeding; picking up the old gauze where people can help you.

YOUR DAILY DOSE The health teams at The Doctors and


Reader’s Digest partner monthly to prescribe feel-great
advice. Check local listings to watch the hit show every day.

56 | 04•2015 | rd.com
TAKING CONTROL OF

DIABETES
TAKES AN EXTRA HAND
®

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around the corner with the support you need. Our pharmacists are available 24/7 with expert
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Get your free private consultation with a trained Walgreens pharmacist today.
Or visit Walgreens.com/Diabetes-help.

*For details, visit www.walgreens.com/healthychoices.


NEWS FROM THE

World of Medicine
BY KELSEY KLOSS

Why Hospitals Are needed to determine this. Total dairy


Embracing Copper consumption was not associated with
Hospital-bed railings can transmit diabetes risk, and the study didn’t
infection-causing bacteria to patients, differentiate between yogurt types.
but in a trial at three U.S. hospitals,
introducing handrails made with Health Risk in Your E-mail
copper—which naturally kills bacte- Here’s a simple way to feel less
ria, yeasts, and viruses—lowered stressed: Sign out of e-mail. For
infection rates by 58 percent. The two weeks, Canadian researchers
trial hospitals and others are consid- assigned more than 120 adults to
ering switching more surfaces to either check their inboxes only three
copper. An Iowa hospital, for exam- times a day or to check as often as
ple, has already installed everything possible (about the same number
from copper light-switch plates to of times they normally would). After
toilet flushers. the first week, participants switched
scenarios. For most people, checking
More Yogurt, Less Diabetes e-mail less frequently significantly
One additional serving of lowered overall daily
yogurt a day is linked stress levels.
with an 18 percent
lower risk of type 2
diabetes, according
to a large Harvard
study. Research-
ers hypothesize
that yogurt’s pro-
biotics may help
improve insulin
sensitivity and
reduce inflammation,
but more clini-
cal trials are

58 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPH BY CLAIRE BENOIST


“Hunter’s text is a smart, well-written read that would
make excellent material for science classes. It attempts to
personalize our relationship with our planet and will no
doubt raise readers’ care and concern.”
ForeWord Reviews

“A rewarding science read”


BlueInk Review

HOW ARE YOU,

MOTHER EARTH?
We’re Taking You to the Doctor!
BY GORDON HUNTER

Gordon Hunter is an award-winning professor of biology with 42 years of


experience in the field of science. Beautifully illustrated by Marvin Alonso,
this playful yet instructional children’s book introduces young readers to the
science behind environmentalism, in a fun and entertaining way.

Trafford Publishing | 1663 Liberty Drive


Bloomington, IN 47403 | 888.232.4444 | www.trafford.com
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF MEDICINE

A Drug Cure for Hepatitis C Put the pill on your tongue, take a sip
A newly FDA-approved treatment, of water, and tilt your head forward
Viekira Pak, could be a game changer as you swallow. Capsules (but not
for patients with hepatitis C, the most tablets) are lighter than water, so they
common cause of liver cancer and naturally float toward your throat
transplantation. According to new when you lean forward. Still, an ear-
research in the New England Journal lier study showed that only 2 percent
of Medicine, an oral combination of participants knew to bend forward.
drug regimen cured hepatitis C in
97 percent of the 30 liver transplant When Chest Pain Isn’t an
patients studied. The new treatment Asthma Symptom
is taken by patients for 24 weeks or In a new study of nearly 7,000 asthma
less and has a higher success rate and patients (average age: 62), those with
a lower risk of organ rejection than cases severe enough to require daily
other classic treatments. medication were 60 percent more
likely to have a heart attack, stroke,
Silent Signs of Cancer or related condition within ten
More than half of 1,700 participants years than those without asthma.
in a recent British study reported Researchers don’t know the exact
signs of a malignancy, such as unex- link (they plan to study the effect of
plained coughing or bleeding, but daily asthma medication and chronic
only 2 percent of them thought can- inflammation). Experts urge asthma
cer was a possibility. Patients ignored patients to seek prompt medical care
not only subtle signs like changed if they experience any chest pain,
urination habits (a bladder cancer as it is a common symptom of both
symptom) but also more obvious asthma and heart disease.
signs like lumps. Researchers say this
shows that opportunities for early Foods Making You Forgetful
diagnosis are being missed and that A known heart threat, trans fat—
patients need to see their doctors found in foods like margarine and
sooner when something is abnormal. cookies—may also mess with mem-
ory. In a recent study presented at an
Swallowing Capsules, American Heart Association meet-
Now Made Simple ing, researchers evaluated the trans
Spoonful of sugar won’t help the fat consumption of about 1,000
medicine go down? In a recent healthy men and gave them memory
German study, a different approach tests. Each additional gram of
helped 90 percent of patients with trans fat eaten per day was linked
difficulty swallowing large capsules: to poorer performance on the test.

60 | 04•2015 | rd.com
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Is your BLADDER
CALLING THE
SHOTS?

Myrbetriq® (mirabegron) is approved by the


FDA to treat overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms
of urgency, frequency and leakage:

Urgency Frequency Leakage

In clinical trials, those taking Myrbetriq made fewer trips to the bathroom
and had fewer leaks than those not taking Myrbetriq. Your results may vary.

Talk to Your Doctor!


Tear out this ad with some discussion topics below and bring
it to your doctor.
“I sometimes have leaks.”
“I feel like I have to go to the bathroom too often.”
“What could it mean when I have sudden, uncontrollable
urges to urinate?”
Learn about prescription savings at Myrbetriq.com
Subject to eligibility. Restrictions may apply.

Important Safety Information


Myrbetriq may increase your blood pressure, which should be
checked by your doctor during treatment.
Use of MYRBETRIQ (meer-BEH-trick)
Myrbetriq® (mirabegron) is a prescription medicine for adults
used to treat overactive bladder with symptoms of urgency,
frequency, and leakage.

Important Safety Information (continued)


Myrbetriq may increase your chances of not being able to empty
your bladder. Tell your doctor right away if you have trouble
emptying your bladder or you have a weak urine stream.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including
medications for overactive bladder or other medicines such as
thioridazine (Mellaril® and Mellaril S®), flecainide (Tambocor™),
propafenone (Rythmol®), digoxin (Lanoxin®).* Myrbetriq may
affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may
affect how Myrbetriq works.
Before taking Myrbetriq, tell your doctor if you have liver or
kidney problems. In clinical studies, the most common side
effects seen with Myrbetriq included increased blood pressure,
common cold symptoms (nasopharyngitis), urinary tract infection
and headache.
Please see Brief Summary of Prescribing Information for
Myrbetriq (mirabegron) on following page.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of


prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch,
or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Myrbetriq is a registered trademark of Astellas Pharma Inc.


*All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
©2014 Astellas Pharma US Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. 057-0258-PM
Myrbetriq® (mirabegron) extended-release tablets 25 mg, 50 mg
Brief Summary based on FDA-approved patient labeling
Read the Patient Information that comes with Myrbetriq® (mirabegron) before you start taking it and
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30
35
Protect your biggest
investment, make
smarter decisions, and
avoid costly mistakes

Things
EVERY
Homeowner
Must Know
FROM T H E B OOK 10 0 TH I N G S E V E RY H O ME OW N E R MU ST KN OW

Save Hundreds Simply ■ CHECK A WARM FRIDGE’S


Technicians report that up to 30 TEMPERATURE DIAL Make sure
percent of their service calls require it hasn’t been turned way down.
only the push of a button or the flip Kids may have messed with it,
of a switch. Those small actions can or someone might have bumped
cost you a minimum service charge the knob. Also, make sure that
(typically $50 to $100)—plus embar- food containers don’t block the
rassment. Try these tactics first: fridge and freezer compartments’

66 | 04•2015 | rd.com
COVER STORY

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ADAM VOOR HES rd.com | 04•2015 | 67


35 THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW

vents—they supply the flow of today’s water-efficient showerheads


frigid air. use new technology to provide a
high-flow feel.
■ PRESS THE RESET BUTTON ON
GFCIS Sometimes all the bathroom ■ FILL GAPS UNDER SINKS Pull
outlets or several exterior lights are back the escutcheons (metal plates)
powered through a single GFCI (the where pipes enter exterior walls,
red button in the middle of some and you may see gaps around the
outlets) located in one bathroom or pipes. Use expanding foam to seal
elsewhere, such as in a basement. those gaps. Shake the can vigorously,
If there’s an outage, push the reset then squirt the foam around the
button on the GFCI, and you could pipes inside the wall. Don’t com-
be back in business. pletely fill the
gaps—the foam
■ TEST THE OUTLET If any will expand.
electronic item suddenly won’t turn
on, don’t immediately assume it’s
broken. Plug in a clock or lamp to
make sure the outlet works.

■ INSPECT THE BREAKER When


a light goes out or a switch doesn’t
work, check the main electrical
panel for a tripped circuit breaker. ESCUTCHEON
Look for a switch that’s not in line
with the others. Flip it to the off
position if it’s not fully to the side
and then back on. ILLUSTRATIONS BY ELLAPHANT IN THE ROOM

Cut Your Utility Bills


■ GET A LOW-FLOW SHOWERHEAD ■ STOP LEAKS UNDER DOORS
Showerheads are the second-heaviest If you can feel a breeze or see
water users—and also major energy daylight under your exterior doors,
eaters, since 70 percent of the water that’s bad news. The good news is
used is heated. By reducing hot- that most thresholds adjust up or
water consumption, a low-flow unit down with just a few twists of a
can pay for itself in just one month. screw. Turn all the screws until the
And you don’t have to settle for door opens and closes without much
subpar water pressure. Many of drag and any draft is eliminated.

68 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

■ SEAL ELECTRICAL BOXES These ■ DAB A LIGHT-SWITCH COVER


can be major sources of heat loss; WITH GLOW PAINT No more grop-
foam gaskets can help. They’re quick ing blindly at night. You can find
to install: Simply glow-in-the-dark paint at hardware
take off the box’s stores and home centers.
cover plate,
stick the gasket ■ STASH TV REMOTES UNDER
over the box, AN END TABLE Adhesive-backed
and then screw hook-and-loop strips (like Velcro)
the plate back on. let you stick remote controls under
a coffee or end table. They’ll be
■ INSTALL A CEILING FAN handy when you need them but
Moving air increases evaporation won’t clutter tabletops.
from your skin and helps keep you
comfortable at higher thermostat
settings. Each degree above 78 degrees
can save you 5 to 10 percent on air-
conditioning.

Save Hassle—Use
These Tricks ■ USE A WASHCLOTH FOR WALL
■ EASILY INSPECT YOUR GUTTERS PAINT TOUCH-UPS No need to mess
You don’t need a ladder to find up a brush. Just dip an old washcloth
out if they need cleaning. Attach a in the paint, dab the spot, and throw
hand mirror to the end of a long PVC away the cloth when you’re done.
pipe (available at home- A washcloth leaves the same texture
improvement and hard- as a paint roller, so your repair will
ware stores) that you’ve blend nicely.
cut at a 60-degree
angle so the mir- Spot Subtle Signs of
ror will reflect Serious Trouble
P ROP STYLIST: ROBIN FI NLAY

the inside of ■ MOLD COULD MEAN A LEAK


the gutter. If you see this fungus near water
pipes, waste lines, ice-maker lines,
or plumbing fixtures, chances are it’s
feeding off a nearby leak. Let the water
run while you check the pipes and
surrounding area for damp spots.
If you see mold on or near ceilings,

rd.com | 04•2015 | 69
35 THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW

KNOW WHERE YOUR SHUTOFF


VALVES ARE? TURNING OFF
THE WATER SUPPLY IF A PIPE
CRACKS CAN PREVENT
MAJOR DAMAGE.
READER’S DIGEST

suspect roof leaks. Water can travel in accessible wood in a crawl space or an
any direction—down, sideways, even unfinished basement for damage. Stab
up, if it wicks into absorbent material it firmly with a screwdriver every six
like drywall—so the source of the leak inches to check for a spongy texture.
may be some distance from the mold.
Try Some Crafty, Brilliant
■ A PUDDLE NEAR THE WATER Storage Solutions
HEATER COULD BECOME A LAKE ■ MEASURING CUP HANG-UP
Water heaters sometimes leak from Screw a couple of
the drain or relief valves, which are mounts inside a
easy to replace. But if a leak is coming cabinet door and
from the tank, watch out. The tank is add some hooks,
lined with a thin coat of glass. Over and you’ve got a
the years, that glass could crack, caus- perfect roost for
ing the steel to rust away and a puddle measuring cups.
to appear. Left alone, a damaged tank Just make sure your
will eventually rupture, causing an cups won’t bump
instant flood. It might take months into the shelves.
or only days for a leak to become
a flood—but it will happen. Don’t ■ JUNK DRAWER IN A BAG Instead
gamble; replace that time bomb now. of wasting precious kitchen drawer
space, use heavy-duty zip-top bags
■ A CIRCUIT BREAKER THAT for miscellaneous junk (then stash
KEEPS TRIPPING COULD INDICATE them in a closet or the garage in-
A SHORT-CIRCUITED WIRE Take stead). The bags let you instantly
load off the circuit by plugging appli- find just the thing you’re looking for.
ances into outlets on other circuits.
Items that draw a lot of power are ■ JOIST STORAGE SPACE Mount
usually the overload culprits (space a section of wire shelving to the
heaters, window-unit air condition- undersides of beams for a row of neat
ers, etc.). If you can’t prevent breaker storage nooks. Unlike solid shelving,
trips this way, you may have a more wire lets you see what’s up there.
serious problem. Call an electrician.

■ SOFT WOOD COULD SPELL


TERMITES The critters can feed on
a house for years undetected because
they often eat wood from the inside
and leave the outside intact. Check

rd.com | 04•2015 | 71
35 THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW

■ S-HOOK CLEANING RACK Know When It Pays


Pick up a pack ■ SHOULD YOU FIX OR REPLACE
of S-hooks at A WATER HEATER? A water heater’s
a home center, life expectancy is ten to 15 years. A
and turn wire small repair will cost at least 10 per-
shelving into cent of the cost of replacement; 20 to
a rack for 30 percent is more likely. If yours is
cleaning gear. ten years old, replacement is usually
smarter. Even if it’s just eight years
■ UNDER-SINK ARCHIVES Don’t old, consider a new one.
file away the manuals and spare
parts that came with your kitchen ■ SHOULD YOU FILE A CLAIM WITH
and bath fixtures. Instead, put YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY?
them right where you’ll need them Don’t file if it’s worth less than $1,000
by sealing in ziplock bags and hang- over your deductible. Paying for a
ing them on hooks on the back walls smaller loss yourself will almost
of cabinets. always cost less than the premium
increases you’ll face later.
■ STORE ON A DOOR One that
opens into a closet or a utility room ■ WILL NEW WINDOWS HELP CUT
provides a handy surface for hang-up HEATING COSTS? Replacing your old
storage. The trouble is that some leakers will lower your heating bills.
doors don’t offer a flat, solid surface But in most homes, the energy savings
for fastening hooks or racks. The alone won’t justify the high up-front
solution costs. Other factors—draft stopping,
is to screw appearance, easy operation—are usu-
¾-inch-thick ally better reasons to swap windows.
plywood to
the door. ■ IS NEW INSULATION A GOOD
(On a hollow- INVESTMENT? It can be—or it can be
core door, an expensive mistake. First contact
use screws your utility company about an energy
and construc- audit. It can recommend an auditor
tion adhe- and may pay part of the cost. (Audits
sive.) Then take two to three hours and cost $250
mount as to $400.) The auditor will visit your
many hooks home, perform some tests, and give
or racks as advice on saving energy, including
you’d like. replacing insulation if needed.

72 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

DON’T FILE AN INSURANCE


CLAIM IF THE DAMAGE IS
LESS THAN $1,000 OVER
YOUR DEDUCTIBLE.
35 THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW

WANT TO GIVE BURGLARS EASY


ACCESS TO YOUR HOUSE WHILE
YOU TRAVEL? KEEP THE GARAGE
DOOR UNLOCKED.
READER’S DIGEST

Prep for Vacation Wisely


■ TO PREVENT FLOODING, TURN
OFF THE MAIN WATER VALVE
Every insurance adjuster has
a hundred stories like this: The
homeowners left town Friday and
returned Sunday evening to find
thousands of dollars in water dam-
age. The moral is simple: Before
going on vacation, turn off that FLAPPER
main valve. In less than a minute,
you can eliminate the most com- of running water stops, you know that
mon cause of home damage. the problem is related to the flapper.
Before you replace it, run your finger
■ FOR BETTER SECURITY, LOCK around the opening that the flapper
THE GARAGE DOOR Some people rests on. Mineral deposits on the
“lock” the garage door by unplug- rim could be preventing the flapper
ging the opener. But physically from sealing. In that case, scrubbing
locking the door is even better. An the deposits with an abrasive sponge
unplugged opener won’t stop, say, may solve the problem. If it doesn’t,
a burglar who has entered through replace the flapper.
the house from opening the garage
door from the inside, backing in ■ UNCLOG A SINK In kitchen sinks,
a van, and using the garage as a there’s a baffle just above the trap
loading dock for his plunder. Make that directs water down the drain.
a burglar’s job more difficult by But that baffle is also a notorious
locking the garage door itself. If
your door doesn’t have a lockable
latch, drill a hole in the track just
above one of the rollers and slip
in a padlock.

Fix Your Own Plumbing


■ STOP A RUNNING TOILET The
most common cause is a worn flap- BAFFLE
per that no longer seals properly,
allowing water to constantly seep
into the bowl. Press lightly on the
TRAP
flapper with a yardstick. If the sound

rd.com | 04•2015 | 75
35 THINGS EVERY HOMEOWNER MUST KNOW

clog causer, especially if you fre- motor and gas burner or electric
quently use the garbage disposal. heating element. You can disassem-
Bend a coat hanger or other stiff ble the vent duct and clean it by hand
wire, and slip it down the drain. or simply disconnect the vent from
When you feel the wire hook onto the dryer and feed a vent brush into it
the baffle, jiggle it to dislodge the from the outside of your home.
clog. You can also use this trick for
bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers. ■ CHECK YOUR SHUTOFF VALVES
A cracked pipe or burst hose can do
Prevent Big Problems thousands of dollars of damage in
■ DON’T NEGLECT THE DRYER minutes. Shutoff valves can stop the
VENT You already know about clean- flow of water instantly. They’re typi-
ing the lint trap after every use. But cally located under sinks and toilets,
once a year, you should also clean behind the washing machine, and
lint from inside the dryer cabinet and above the water heater. Shutoffs for
vent duct. (Lint buildup is one of the tubs and showers are often hidden
most common causes of home fires.) behind a wood or plastic access
Unplug the dryer, turn off the gas panel (often on the wall behind the
valve if your model has one, and pry faucet in an adjoining closet or hall-
off the access panel. Vacuum inside way). Your main valve—which shuts
the cabinet, especially around the off water to your entire house—may

EXTERIOR
VENT
HOOD
VENT
DUCT

ACCESS
PANEL

MOTOR

76 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

be indoors or out. Shutoff valves can reinstall the dead bolt. Larger mod-
go unused for years, and mineral els back up both the dead bolt and
deposits can make them impossible the doorknob.
to close. So it’s a good idea to make
sure yours work. If you have stan- ■ SECURE WINDOWS The latches
dard valves, turn the handle clock- on most
PIN
wise. If you have ball-type valves, double-hungs
LOCK
crank the lever one-quarter turn. are no match
Ball valves rarely fail, but it’s good for a burglar
to check anyway. with a pry bar.
Cheap pin
■ REINFORCE DOORS Burglars locks are much tougher. To install
don’t usually one, all you have to do is drill a hole.
pick door Most crank-open casement windows
EDGE
locks—it takes are a little harder to pry open, but it’s
GUARD them too long. a good idea to add locks to them too.
Instead, they Find special casement locks and
kick or pry the latches online.
door open. The dead bolt usually
survives that brute force, but the For an easy guide to
door or strike plate gives way. Pre- how to fix anything
vent your door from splitting with an and everything, get the
book 100 Things Every
edge guard (available at home cen- Homeowner Must Know
ters). Remove the dead bolt, slip the ($24.99, wherever
guard over the door, screw it on, and books are sold).

YEARBOOK SUPERLATIVES FOR THE


NEW GENERATION

Q Most Likely to Open an Etsy Homemade-Scarf Shop

Q Most Likely to Hold More than One Impractical Master’s Degree

Q Most Likely to Start Taking Improv Classes at the Age of 35

Q Most Likely to Own and Operate a Food Truck in Austin, Texas

Q Future TED Talker


Rachel Klein on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

rd.com | 04•2015 | 77
Laughter
THE BEST MEDICINE

“I could’ve sworn we were surrounded by water!”

A SCOTTISH MOTHER visits her “What can I do? I just lie in bed
son in his New York City apartment quietly, playing my bagpipes.”
and asks, “How do you find the S u b m i t t e d b y NOAH JORGENSEN,
Americans, Donald?” S i l s b e e , Te x a s

“Mother,” says Donald, “they’re


such noisy people. One neighbor I WORK OUT RELIGIOUSLY—Christ-
won’t stop banging his head against mas and Easter. Submitted by comedian
the wall, while the other screams and MATTHEW WOHLFARTH

screams all night long.”


“Oh, Donald! How do you manage A ZOOKEEPER is ordering new
to put up with them?” animals. As he fills out the forms, he

78 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS CATER


types “two mongeese.” That doesn’t SEPARATED AT BIRTH
look right, so he tries “two mon-
goose,” then “two mongooses.” Giving There’s a fine line between animal
up, he types, “One mongoose, and and animal magnetism, as these
while you’re at it, send another one.” uncanny resemblances prove:
S u b m i t t e d b y M. S., v i a In t e r n e t

WE CAN’T ALL LIVE on a street with


FRA NCOI S DURAND/GETTY IMAGES. N ICK SKI NN ER/REX USA. I NFOP HOTO.COM/CORBIS. JE FFRE Y ROTMAN/CORBIS

a pleasant name like Oak or Elm.


Here are the least popular street
names (that we hope don’t exist):
■ Drinkand Dr.
■ Vicious Circle
■ West 943,185th Street
■ Psycho Path
■ Peoples Ct. Cher Afghan hound
■ Nofriggin Way From humorlabs.com
FROM TOP LEFT: FRANK MICELOTTA/GETTY IMAGES. DEAGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES.

THE LAUGH FACTORY in Los


Angeles invited comedians from
around the globe to join its Funniest
Person in the World Contest. Here
are some finalists:
■ In Paris, I am driving a Smart car,
you know, the very tiny one. But I Rihanna Llama
don’t do it much, because it’s too
dangerous. I could get run over by a
pedestrian. MUSTAPHA EL ATRASSI, Fra n c e
■ Have you noticed that all bottled
water has the “best before” date
printed on it? The water has circled
the earth for four billion years …
but now it’s ruined?
ISMO LEIKOLA, Fi n l a n d
■ This is the tenth anniversary of my Homer Simpson Stargazer fish
comedy career. It’s also the anniver-
sary of my father begging me not to Do you have a gag that resembles some-
do comedy. thing funny? Send it to us; we’ll pay $$$ if
NITIN MIRANI, Un i t e d Ara b E m i ra t e s we run it. Go to rd.com/submit for details.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 79
Collared
Click. The bomb fastened around her neck …

!
SIT TING IN HER BEDRO OM in her parents’ spacious
Sydney, Australia, home, Maddie Pulver contemplated
BY
SI MON
B OU DA

the task ahead—studying. It was August 3, 2011, and high


school exams were coming up. Like her classmates, she
was hitting the books.
It was 2:30 p.m., a Wednesday, and the 18-year-old was
alone in the house. Maddie’s mother was out shopping,
and her father, the CEO of a global software company,

80 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTO-ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN RITTER


DRAMA IN REAL LIFE

Maddie Pulver’s
home invasion
triggered an
international
manhunt from
Australia to
Louisville,
Kentucky.
COLLARED!

was at work; her two younger brothers After a few moments, she called out
were at school, and her older brother for help. Silence. She called out again.
was on vacation. From her bedroom Nothing.
desk, Maddie could gaze out across With the device strapped to her
Sydney Harbor, but this was a time for neck, Maddie moved slowly toward
concentration, not daydreaming. her cell phone. Without daring to
Suddenly, Maddie heard a noise jolt the contraption, she texted her
behind her. She turned to find a man mother and father, asking them to
standing in her bedroom doorway call the police. Only then did Maddie
wearing a rainbow-colored balaclava. remove the document from the plas-
He was armed with an aluminum tic sleeve attached to the string. When
baseball bat and wore a small black she glimpsed the word explosives, she
backpack. The intruder had entered burst into tears.
the multimillion-dollar home through “Powerful new technology plas-
the unlocked front door. tic explosives are located inside
“I am not going to hurt you,” he the small black combination case
declared. delivered to you,” read the letter. “The
Maddie leaped from her chair and case is booby-trapped. It can ONLY
backed away, toward her bed. “What be opened safely if you follow the
do you want?” she demanded. instructions. If you disclose these
Placing his baseball bat and back- Instructions to any Federal or State
pack on the bed, the man simply agency, the Police or FBI, or to any non-
warned, “No one needs to get hurt.” family member, it will trigger an imme-
He opened the backpack and re- diate BRIAN DOUGLAS WELLS event.
moved a black metal box the size of You will be provided with detailed
a small laptop. Holding it against Remittance Instructions to transfer a
Maddie’s throat, he secured it around Defined Sum once you acknowledge
her neck with a bicycle lock. He then and confirm receipt of this message.
placed a loop of purple string over If the Remittance Instructions are ex-
her head. Attached to it were a USB ecuted CORRECTLY, I will immediately
flash drive and a plastic sleeve with a provide you with the combination
document inside. A label with a typed that can open the case WITHOUT trig-
e-mail address, dirkstruan1840@ gering a BRIAN DOUGLAS WELLS event
gmail.com, was stuck to the box and an internal key to completely
around her neck. disable the explosive mechanisms
Turning to leave, the man told Mad- embedded inside. CONFIRM receipt
die to “count to 200. I’ll be back. If you of these Instructions by CONTACTING:
move, I can see you. I’ll be right here.” dirkstruan1840@gmail.com.”
Terrified, Maddie remained still. Brian Douglas Wells was a pizza

82 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

deliveryman duped by a gang in out on the street, so Constable Karen


2003 in Pennsylvania. They put a Lowden took on the task of trying to
collar time bomb around his neck and comfort the terrified teen. She asked
ordered him to rob a bank. Wells about the upcoming exams, Maddie’s
did as he was told, but when he was art studies, her hobbies … anything
leaving the bank, police turned up. to keep their minds off the horrible
The bomb went off with catastrophic predicament while bomb squad
consequences. technicians determined what sort

But Maddie Pulver had no idea of explosive they were dealing with.
what a “Brian Douglas Wells event” Portable X-ray equipment showed
was. She was also unaware that Dirk that the box was filled with mechani-
Struan—the name used for the e-mail cal and electrical components. But
address—was the main character in police couldn’t be sure if there were
James Clavell’s novel Tai-Pan. explosives or not.
Struan was the “Tai-Pan”—the Meanwhile, the police decided to
leader—a wealthy, violent, and respond to the extortionist and care-
shrewd head of a trading company in fully crafted a short, simple reply,
China who was hell-bent on destroy- which Maddie’s father would send.
ing his rivals. At around 6 p.m., he e-mailed the ad-
dress attached to the black metal box:

T
HE AUSTRALIAN police had “Hi, my name is Bill. I am the father
never seen a case like this of the girl you strapped the device to.
before. Arriving soon after What do you want me to do next?”
2:45 p.m., officers immedi- As police and Maddie’s family
ately sealed off the street and set up waited for a reply that never came,
roadblocks to divert traffic, curious the extortion note was sent through
neighbors, and the media. forensic examination for fingerprints,
Inside the house, they found and detectives questioned neighbors
Maddie sobbing. To take the weight and friends, trying to piece together
off her neck, she was holding the box what had happened.
with her hands. Police had kept her Then at 11:00—a breakthrough.
parents at a mobile command post After analyzing X-rays and receiving

rd.com | 04•2015 | 83
COLLARED!

advice from military experts, the Range Rover. Although the license
bomb squad concluded that the de- plates were illegible, detectives had an
vice did not contain explosives and image of the man who’d gotten out of
posed no threat. The collar bomb was the SUV and entered the library.
cut off Maddie. Her nearly nine hours Maddie had told police her at-
of hell were over. tacker wasn’t young. She had noticed
But where was the would-be extor- gray chest hair as he reached around
tionist? her to attach the collar box. Through

A
L M O S T I M M E D I AT E LY the eyeholes in his balaclava, she’d
after being handed the note, seen wrinkles. She’d guessed he was
police contacted Google’s between 55 and 60. The man in the
head office in the United video fit the description and wore a
States to determine if the Gmail ac- collared shirt and trousers similar to
count had been accessed. The Internet what Maddie remembered.
giant scanned its database records and Then, by checking motor vehicle
told detectives that the account, dirk records, they systematically checked
struan1840@gmail.com, had been cre- the registration details of each possi-
ated on May 30 from an Internet server ble Range Rover with driver’s license
linked to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. photos of their owners. Within 48 hours
That night, Google’s data revealed of getting hold of the library foot-
the e-mail account had been logged age, they had a name—Paul Douglas
on to three times that afternoon— Peters.
twice from a computer at a library a With that name, detectives were
few hours north of Sydney and a third able to follow a money trail, provid-
time from a nearby video store. ing more links to the crime. Peters’s
Because Google could tell the bank records showed that he’d made
detectives the precise times someone purchases at a clothing and sport-
had used the account, police were ing goods store in the weeks before
able to view the library’s parking Maddie was attacked. Footage from
lot security video and pinpoint the the shopping center showed him
arrival of a possible suspect and the buying a baseball bat and a rainbow-
car he was driving, a metallic gold colored balaclava.

84 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

Police also learned that Peters had Peters: “No.”


degrees in economics and law; he was Marks: “Do you know anything
a businessman, father of three, and about an e-mail address with that
self-proclaimed author. He’d planned name, Dirk Struan?”
the elaborate extortion piece by piece, Peters: “Yes.”
like writing a novel. Marks: “What can you tell me about
They had enough to bring him in that?”
for questioning, except for one thing— Peters: “I had a … or had set up an
Peters had already fled the country. e-mail address with … Dirk Struan.”
Security footage and immigration Marks then asked about the USB
records showed the 52-year-old flash drive that had been attached
Australian passing through Sydney Air- to the collar bomb. Forensic exami-
port en route to Los Angeles on August nation had unearthed three deleted
8. Flight records showed Peters then files. One was a Word file that was a
caught a connecting flight to Chicago, letter of demand in the same terms
before flying to Louisville, Kentucky. as the saved file and the hard-copy
Twelve days after the attack on document in the plastic sleeve placed
Maddie, on August 15, an FBI team around Maddie’s neck. The analysis of
stormed the Kentucky home of the Word file revealed that it had been
Peters’s ex-wife, where they found created on a computer identified as
Peters. There on a table was a James “Paul P.”
Clavell novel—Tai-Pan. Peters was unable to explain why
Detective Sergeant
Andrew Marks flew from
Australia to Louisville
to question Peters. In a
room at FBI headquarters,
he chipped away at the
SOURCE P HOTO: HANDOUT/GETTY IM AGES

suspect.
Marks: “Is there any-
thing you want to tell me
about the extortion, the
kidnapping, and the bomb
placed around young
Madeleine Pulver’s neck
on the third of August?”
Peters: “No.”
Paul Peters had left the financial industry to
Marks: “Are you respon-
write a novel about revenge.
sible?”

rd.com | 04•2015 | 85
COLLARED!

Bill Pulver, here with Maddie and his wife, Belinda, said of his daughter, “Maddie
is a very, very special young lady who has handled herself with incredible poise.”

or how the document had been on a Marks: “Have you seen that note
“Paul P” computer. He claimed it was before?”
“a horrible, horrible coincidence.” Peters: “I have no comment.”
During questioning, Peters talked

P
about a James M. Cox Trust, claim- AUL D OU G L AS PETER S SOURCE PHOTO: ROSS SCHULTZ/NEWSPIX

ing he had $12 million tied up in it. was soon on a plane back to
Another of the three deleted files on Australia to face charges of
the USB drive contained a letter of aggravated breaking and en-
demand addressed specifically to the try and kidnapping. Despite his initial
trustee of the trust. It indicated that denials, Peters pleaded guilty to the
perhaps Maddie wasn’t the intended crime, although he never did explain
target of the extortion plan, that the why he targeted Maddie.
masked intruder had meant to target During the sentencing, the prosecu-
a neighbor who was a beneficiary of tor described the extortion attempt as
the trust. Marks handed Peters a copy “urban terrorism, which would strike
of the deleted document. fear into the heart of every parent.”

86 | 04•2015 | rd.com
READER’S DIGEST

But Peters’s legal team tried to build victim can be humanly understood.”
a case suggesting that he was suffer- A year after his arrest, Peters was
ing a psychotic episode at the time he sentenced to 13 years and six months
attacked Maddie. They insisted Peters in prison.
had become obsessed with a novel Outside the court, Maddie faced the
he’d been writing and was “living” media.
the role of a main character. “I am pleased with today’s out-
Forensic psychiatrists agreed that come and that I can now look to a
Peters did suffer depression and over- future without Paul Peters’s name be-
used alcohol after the collapse of his ing linked to mine,” Maddie said. “For
business and his divorce. One said he me, it was never about the sentencing
had a bipolar disorder. but to know he will not reoffend, and
But the judge wasn’t convinced. it was good to hear the judge acknowl-
“The weight of evidence establishes edge the trauma he’s put my family
beyond reasonable doubt that the and me through.”
offender set into action a plan to ex- It’s a saga her mother, Belinda,
tort money,” Judge Peter Zahra said. sums up best: “We’ve realized what’s
“There are limitations to which the ex- important in life. We don’t worry
tent of the terror experienced by the about the small things now.”

“My hands become so dry from


washing, it’s difficult to do m ob.
O’Keeffe’s really does work, and
it’s reliable!”
Maureen, Veterinary
Technician

Before
After

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FOR DRY HANDS THAT CRACK & SPLIT
PERSONAL ESSAY

For Mom’s 75th,


we were shocked
by what she really wanted

My Mother’s Simple
Birthday Wish
BY K E L LY CO RRIGAN FR O M M E D I U M .CO M

MY MOTHER TURNED 75 THIS PAST FALL. One night a few


months before, I’d asked her what we could give her that she
ILLUSTRATION BY JOE MCKENDRY

would really like.


“Maybe something big, that all three of us can go in on?” I
KELLY encouraged, knowing that my brothers and I would cough up
CORRIGAN whatever it cost while also suspecting that any gift she might
is the New think up would be of a piece with birthdays past, bath salts or a
York Times
wrinkle cream she’d saved a coupon for or possibly something
bestselling
author of the mysterious but affordable like 2001’s request for a paraffin wax
memoir Glitter bath (for “softer, more youthful hands”).
and Glue. “I know exactly what I want from you kids,” she said, like

88 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK FERRARI


she’d loaded this gun a month ago. “Listen, Kelly,” she said as if I didn’t
“Really?” I went from eager-to- already understand her at a visceral
please to anxious. What if she was level, having parented for a mere
thinking a trip to Hawaii? A bath- 13 years, “I’ve been a mother since
room remodel? A new sedan? Had my 1964, and …” She looked out the
magnanimous phrasing put us all in a window, searching for words to char-
corner? (Was I a jerk already?) acterize that experience, but there
“Absolutely.” She nodded in that were none. “And, well, I would like to
way she does when she is dead sure stop worrying and get some sleep.”
(a not-infrequent state). Oh, Ma. I got you.
She seemed to be waiting for I will spare you casual mentions
me to ask again, so I did. and long-form reports
“Well?” about bad backs, new
“If there is any prob- cysts, dustups at work,
lem that you or your Astonishing. dollars lost in the stock
brothers have that I can What a woman. market, sewage trouble
help with, I would like in the basement, par-
to know about it.”
Oh, that I ties the girls were not
Astonishing. What could be that invited to. I’ll stick to
a woman. She lives to clearheaded the 30,000-foot view—
serve. Oh, that I could and direct. of the girls (who are re-
have an ounce of her ally doing fine, come to
Marine-devotion. think of it), of Edward’s
“God, Mom. You’re life at the new start-up
PROP STYLI ST: MEGUM I EMOTO FOR A NDERS ON H OPKI NS

killing me here,” I said, holding out my (which might actually make it), and
arms so she could see the raised hairs. of my health, which is (knock wood)
She put her finger up to indicate currently perfect.
that she was not quite finished. You’ve carried us long enough. As
“And if there’s any problem that of your 75th birthday, your status
you or your brothers have that there shifts to Matrem Emeritus, a mother
is nothing what-so-ever,” she said, retired with highest merits. Take off
punching out each syllable, “that I can your glasses, your tight shoes, your
do to change, I would like to not know damn bra. Pour some jug wine over
about it.” ice, mute the phone, and open a book.
Astonishing. What a woman. Oh, And when sleep comes, let it. You’ve
that I could be that clearheaded and done fine, fine work, Ma. Nobody
direct about my own needs. could have done more.
“You’re amazing.” Happy Birthday.
COPYRIGHT © 2014 BY KELLY CORRIGAN. MEDIUM.COM (SEPTEMBER 24, 2014).

NOTE: Ads were removed from this edition. Please continue to page 96.
Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson
Chosen by Nigel Parry, p h o t o g ra p h e r
“As a teenager in Yorkshire, England, I would while away
my lunch breaks with my nose buried in photo books,
and this photo always stuck in my mind for its cleverness.
It’s essentially a play with lines: They transport the eye
M AGNUM P HOTOS

around the rectangle and back to the human element.


Clearly, Cartier-Bresson composed it and waited for the
decisive moment in which an element of life—it could
easily have been a dog or an old lady or a running
child—injected itself into the perfect, irritatingly elegant
composition to complete this celebration of both
photographer and photograph. Pure genius.”
PHOTO
OF LASTING
INTEREST

rd.com | 04•2015 | 97
HEALTH

Most people don’t survive a dying


heart or a brain-eating amoeba.
These five were extraordinarily lucky.

That Stunned Doctors


BY GRE TC H E N VOSS

The Church plagued him for the past year were


That Cured Cancer due to inoperable head and neck
It’s hard to say which was in worse cancer. It had progressed so far that
shape: the run-down century-old church the doctors told Greg’s family to start
or the cancer-ridden 56-year-old man planning his funeral.
perched on its crumbling steps.
“I was sitting at the church one

F
or years, Greg Thomas would evening, pouring my heart out to
sit on those very steps and God,” Greg says. “I kept looking at the
pray when he walked his dogs building and the shape it was in. I said,
along the country lanes in ‘Before I leave this earth, Lord, I’d like
rural Minnesota. But in May 2009, he to do something for you.’”
learned that the searing headaches, Greg decided that that something
earaches, and jaw aches that had was to fix the peeling paint and the

98 | 04•2015 | rd.com PHOTOGRAPHS BY AMANDA FRIEDMAN


As the church
began to shine
again, so did
Greg Thomas’s
health.
M I R A C L E S T H AT S T U N N E D D O C T O R S

leaking roof, the mangled steps and the still wants to replace some windows,
rotting floorboards. He approached for example). Greg held his third-
the church’s association with a deal: annual open house there near Christ-
He would completely repair the build- mas, inviting the entire community.
ing on one condition: “That I get a key “While I was restoring the church,”
to the front door so I can go in any- Greg says, “God was restoring me.”
time I want to worship.” He warned
that it would be slow going—he had
just gone through three rounds of
The Heart
chemotherapy along with 40 sessions That Healed Itself
of radiation and had lost 66 pounds. He had been throwing up for four
They said yes anyway. days. But clearly, this was not a mere
stomach bug.
Incredibly, as Greg scraped paint

O
and replaced boards, he felt him- n August 17, 2012, 23-year-
self growing stronger every day. The old Michael Crowe “froze
more he worked on the church, the up”—eyes open and star-
better he felt—he didn’t even need ing into space—on the
the strong prescription pain meds his couch. He quickly snapped to, but
doctor had prescribed. “My oncolo- when it happened again a few min-
gist was blown away,” Greg says. “She utes later, his mother rushed him to
said, ‘Whatever you’re doing, keep on the local emergency room.
doing it.’” There they learned that Michael
As Greg continued to rehabilitate was in real trouble. His heart was
the church, medical scans revealed pumping out blood at just 25 per-
some startling news: His tumors were cent, an alarmingly low rate. By the
shrinking. Four years and 23 days time he was transferred to Nebraska
after Greg’s diagnosis, his doctors were Medical Center in Omaha an hour
able to remove his feeding tube—the later, it was down to 10 percent. A
one they’d said he would have for the virus was causing acute myocarditis,
rest of his life—and he ate solid food inflammation of the heart muscle. If
again. Today, Greg’s tumors are gone. it got worse, he would need a heart
He is considered officially in remission transplant. With Michael’s family
and no longer needs follow-up tests. surrounding his bed, the doctors
And the church? After five years asked him to sign papers—while
of Greg’s labor and love, it has been he still could—for that transplant.
restored to its former glory too. Greg “They said I had only a 30 percent
finished his main project this past chance that my heart would recover,”
summer, but he will probably always be Michael says. “I remember thinking,
involved in maintaining its beauty (he I can take those odds. I haven’t won

100 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

the lottery yet, I’m Irish, I’m due for was working at near-normal capac-
some luck. I was strangely calm.” ity. Unbelieving, she ordered another.
His doctors, however, were not. Again, the same astounding results.
“His heart failure was so bad,” says After four days hooked up to a dif-
his cardiologist, Eugenia Raichlin, ferent machine that assisted only the
MD. “The rate of mortality is huge.” right side of his heart, Michael no
They immediately hooked him up to longer needed a transplant. His heart
an ECMO, an external heart and lung had completely, miraculously healed
machine, to pump his blood while his itself, his body eradicating the virus
heart couldn’t. But it was a short-term on its own. “He overcame everything,”
fix, and Michael’s health continued to Dr. Raichlin says. “He was very debili-
decline. Spiking fevers led to convul- tated, but he rebuilt himself.”
sions; ice cooled him but dropped his Many patients with Michael’s con-
oxygen levels. “It was a balancing game dition die, or get a heart transplant,
just to keep me stable,” Michael says. or survive but have permanent heart
He desperately needed a heart tissue damage. But today, as Michael
transplant. works through his third year of phar-
For 17 days they waited, while macy school, his heart is in perfect
Michael’s condition continued to shape. “I’m so grateful that I got a
worsen. His heart stopped twice— second chance at life,” he says.
once for an entire day (being hooked
up to the ECMO machine prevented
him from dying). Doctors had to fend
Battling a Deadly
off blood clots and excess bleeding. Brain-Eating Amoeba
At 6:30 in the morning on Labor Fight like a girl. That’s what 12-year-old
Day, Michael’s doctors got the phone Kali Hardig’s parents told her on Friday,
July 19, 2013.
call everyone had been waiting for: A

T
heart would be available that night. here was nothing else to say.
But a few hours later, they made a It was impossible to believe
devastating discovery. Michael had that just the day before her
developed a blood infection; a trans- crushing headache and
plant would be too dangerous. relentless nausea started, Kali and
As Michael’s family despaired, Dr. two pals had been giddily playing king
Raichlin noticed something unusual: of the hill at a water park near Ben-
His blood pressure, which should ton, Arkansas. It was there, doctors
have remained constant because of told the devastated parents, that Kali
the heart-lung machine, was actu- must have gotten water infected with
ally rising. She ordered a test, which a brain-eating amoeba up her nose.
revealed that the left side of his heart The creature then traveled along her

rd.com | 04•2015 | 101


M I R A C L E S T H AT S T U N N E D D O C T O R S

olfactory nerve and into her brain, eight weeks, relearning the most
where it began feasting on her brain basic of functions, like swallowing.
tissue—a condition called primary But eventually she officially became
amoebic meningoencephalitis. The survivor number three. Kali is now a
doctors said it was about 99 percent healthy, normal, 13-year-old girl.
fatal—only two people in North Amer- Doctors don’t know exactly why
ica had ever survived. “We had to tell she lived. (A 12-year-old Florida boy,
her parents that it was very likely diagnosed days after Kali, received
she would not be alive in 48 hours,” the same German medicine but didn’t
says Matt Linam, MD, the infectious survive.) “Number one, it was God’s
disease specialist who treated her. grace,” Dr. Linam says. “Other than
Still, doctors at Arkansas Children’s that, it was countless little things that
Hospital jumped into action, pump- went her way, countless little miracles
ing Kali’s body full of antifungals and that happened every day and made
antibiotics as well as a rare, unapproved the difference between life and death.”
German drug they got from the CDC;
lowering her body’s temperature to
93 degrees and putting her in a medi- The Role of a Lifetime
cally induced coma in an attempt to The silent killer. That’s what doctors call
reduce brain swelling; and hooking an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

T
her up to a ventilator, then a dialysis he extremely dangerous
machine for her failed kidneys. For condition—in which the
two weeks, Kali’s medical team worked main blood vessel shuttling
around the clock just trying to keep her blood to the abdomen, pel-
alive—a complex balance of prevent- vis, and legs enlarges—can balloon up
ing low blood pressure and stopping for years without any symptoms. But if
episodes of high blood pressure that the aneurysm bursts, it is often fatal.
worsened brain swelling. Pretending to have this silent killer
“We had good hours and bad hours, was Jim Malloy’s assignment as a
not days,” says Dr. Linam. Slowly “medical actor” one day in Febru-
Kali’s brain swelling stabilized. Doctors ary 2013. Over the years, Jim, then
decreased her sedation and increased a 75-year-old retired engineer, had
her body temperature, unsure if she faked all manner of medical mala-
would be the same little girl when— dies so that students at the University
or if—she woke up. “We just didn’t of Virginia School of Medicine could
know,” Dr. Linam says, “but two days practice diagnosing him. Really, it was
later, she did a thumbs-up, and her just a fun part-time retirement job.
parents knew she was still in there.” When Ryan Jones, a third-year
Kali would be in the hospital for medical student, walked into the

102 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

room, Jim followed his script for didn’t think I had any symptoms,” Jim
an AAA : He complained of light- says. He felt totally fine, and he had
headedness and stomach pain. But gotten a clean bill of health from his
when Ryan pushed down on the cen- primary care doctor two weeks earlier.
ter of Jim’s abdomen, he was shocked When he did get an ultrasound, it
to feel a pulsing mass—it appeared to showed that his AAA measured six
be an actual aneurysm. centimeters—with the potential to rup-
“I stepped quickly back, confused,” ture. Doctors immediately scheduled
Ryan says. “I tried to get Mr. Malloy surgery and inserted a stent to deflate
to break character and tell me that the aneurysm, saving his life. “I had
he knew he had an aneurysm. But he no idea anything was going on, and I
wouldn’t.” would have just gone about my busi-
Ryan’s attending physician told Jim ness,” Jim says. “I’d probably be dead.”
that he should see a cardiologist, but Ryan, who will start his residency
it was hard for Jim to take seriously. “I in radiation oncology this year,
agrees. “It was an amaz-
ing coincidence that he
was volunteering for that
case. If he had been pre-
tending to have anything
else, I wouldn’t have done
that part of the exam, and
I wouldn’t have found it,”
Ryan says. “He was in the
right place at the right
time.”
Perhaps no one is more
aware of this lifesaving
good fortune than Jim’s
wife, Louise. “Soon after
Jim’s surgery, I met two
women whose husbands
bled out and died from an
AAA,” she says. “We are so
grateful to Ryan.”

Examining an actor playing


a patient, Ryan Jones didn’t
expect to save his life.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 103


Cradling four-
month-old Taily,
Ruby is grateful
to return to her
family.
READER’S DIGEST

She Was “Dead” stopped pumping her chest. They


for 45 Minutes were ready to call her time of death.
“I was seconds away from turn-
They literally ran her back to the
ing off the ventilation machine
operating room.
when one of the nurses shouted,

F
orty-year-old Ruby Graupera- ‘Stop!’” Dr. Knurr says. “Without
Cassimiro had just had a any medicine or CPR , Ruby’s heart
completely normal C-section, began to beat on its own for the
giving birth to a beautiful first time in two hours. It is just
baby girl on September 23. But when indescribable.”
her medical team moved her to the It turned out that some amniotic
recovery room, she fell unconscious. fluid had leaked into the uterus and
Suddenly, Ruby—now a mother of traveled through Ruby’s bloodstream
two—was in full cardiac arrest. and to her heart. Called an amniotic
Jordan Knurr, MD, her anesthesi- fluid embolism, it causes an air block
ologist at Boca Raton Regional Hospi- in the heart and prevents blood from
tal in Florida, immediately intubated flowing. “These embolisms are rare,
Ruby so a machine could breathe and we don’t know a lot about them,”
for her. He called a code, and about Dr. Knurr says. “Usually the patient
HAIR AN D M AKEUP : PAOLA ORLA NDO FOR A RTI STS BY TIM OTHY P RI AN O

a dozen other doctors and nurses passes away or has significant brain
crowded into the room, frantically giv- damage.” (Her doctors don’t know
ing advanced cardiac life support. “For what happened to the amniotic debris;
more than two hours, she was having they assume it dissolved on its own.)
life-threatening heartbeats,” Dr. Knurr Not only did Ruby live, but “she is
says. Most scary was when Ruby had in perfect health. It’s almost as if this
a pulseless rhythm—her heart was never happened,” says Dr. Knurr. “It’s
beating but not pumping any blood a miracle. I’m not a highly religious
throughout her body—and doctors person, but you just don’t see this
delivered constant CPR compressions happen.” The next morning, Ruby’s
for 45 minutes straight to try to get her breathing tube was removed. Four
heart working normally again. days later, she walked out of the
After about two hours, her doc- hospital with her newborn daughter,
tors knew there was no hope. They Taily—without even a broken rib from
brought her extended family into the all the chest compressions.
room to say goodbye. After Ruby’s “Someone else was running the
family returned to the waiting room, show that day; there’s no doubt in my
where they, along with a few nurses, mind,” Ruby says today. “I don’t know
frantically prayed on their knees why God chose me, but I know he gave
for a different outcome, the doctors me this life again for a reason.”

rd.com | 04•2015 | 105


FIRST PERSON

TABLE Set with

KINDNESS In a theater basement, I learned a lesson in


generosity that I’ll never forget

BY E M I LY WINS LOW FR O M Q U E ST FO R K IN DN ESS

FRESH OUT OF ACTING SCHOOL, I got a short-term job with


a touring theater company. The terms were ridiculous: $300
for a month’s work away from home, to be paid at the end of
that month. Only one meal a day would be provided; for the
rest, we were on our own. We depended on cheap food from
EMILY WINSLOW convenience stores that could be stored and prepared in a ILLUSTRATION BY JOE MCKENDRY (WIN SLOW)

is an American hotel room. Did you know that you can cook ramen noodles in
novelist living a coffeepot? I also learned that you can eat Pop-Tarts without
in England, toasting them and that you can live on Cheez-Its.
telling stories of
psychological
The first of our venues was a lovely, sprawling resort. I don’t
suspense. She know what had happened between the staff and the previous
still enjoys the theater company, but we could sense the bad feeling when
theater—from we arrived. The waitstaff despised us from the start. They
a seat in the withheld utensils from us at dinner, while our one-meal-
audience.
for-the-day cooled. The owner invited our company to eat
Thanksgiving dinner in the restaurant because we were far
from home, but the staff refused to let us in. It was ugly.

106 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY YANN KEBBI


A TA B L E S E T W I T H K I N D N E S S

When we arrived at the second but set as beautifully as an audience


venue, the Valencia Ballroom in York, table. We sat down to table linens and
Pennsylvania, our first order of busi- folded napkins again, and because it
ness was to reblock the show for the was dinner, we had multiple forks for
new stage. While we practiced, I saw courses and side plates for salad. Pot-
in my peripheral vision a table be- pourri simmered in a chafing dish.
ing set. I panicked. It was midday— We were served by a cheerful
which meant that they were serving us waiter who sang to us. He refilled
lunch. Sandwiches were our water glasses, took
better than Pop-Tarts orders for coffee, and
and ramen, but getting even brought us des-
lunch would mean no I’ve tried to sert. At the end, we
hot dinner. We really live like those tried to bus our plates
counted on that being waiters: to the kitchen. We felt
our hot meal of the day. that it was only fair—
We were called over
Enjoy work by after all, we were staff
to eat. The table was doing it right. too. But that caused a
beautifully set, with a Be generous. Sing minor scuffle. The wait-
linen cloth and origami- while you serve. staff said that we didn’t
folded napkins. The have to do that; we in-
sandwiches were elabo- sisted that we must.
rate and generous, along with heaps We relented when the headwaiter
of potato chips and pitchers of cold explained, “This is enjoyable for us
drinks. It was so nicely done. How only if you let us do it right.”
could we complain in the face of it? That was more than 20 years ago,
Afterward, I took the headwaiter aside and I still get teary over the memory.
and expressed our preference for our We were so hungry and tired from
one meal to be dinner. dancing and so tense from the mean-
Our dinner would be at six, he told ness of the staff at the first venue. The
me. He added that the “one meal a new waiters were joyful, and they took
day” clause in our contract was non- such pride and pleasure in their work.
sense and that for the entire run of Since then, I’ve tried to live like them:
the show, the venue would be giving Enjoy work by doing it right. Be gener-
us lunch and dinner daily. ous. Fold those metaphorical napkins
We returned at six, grateful and into pretty birds, sing while you serve,
nervous because this still seemed and treat those who have nothing to
too good to be true. Our table was give you as well as you would treat a
downstairs, away from the audience paying customer.
QUEST FOR KINDNESS (MAY 27, 2010), COPYRIGHT © 2010 BY EMILY WINSLOW, ALICIABESSETTE.COM.

108 | 04•2015 | rd.com


Beethoven, Then The Amazing
and Now Balancing Man
Fred Gaertner David Linden
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BOOK BONUS

Bonner Paddock
had no shortage of
rage. With braces
on his legs, he
fueled his way
up Kilimanjaro
by the fire in
his heart.

A FURIOUS
110 | 04•2015 | rd.com
CLIMB BY BO N N ER PA DDOCK
WI T H N EA L B ASCO MB FRO M
T H E BO O K ON E MORE STEP

rd.com | 04•2015 | 111


A FURIOUS CLIMB

On September 1, 2008, Bonner Paddock, then 33, began a weeklong climb of Mount
Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, Paddock,
in leg braces, ascended 19,340 feet. He was joined by his friend Paul Flores, fellow
climber Dilly Dilworth, team leader Tim Guy, and Tanzanian guides Minja and
Moody. This recounting of Bonner’s excruciating eight-hour trek to the summit, an
excerpt from Bonner’s recent book, One More Step, is a fascinating look at the
way trust, determination, and even anger can fuel success.

D
AY S E V E N , 11 p.m. I Terrified, I began shivering uncon-
was up and dressed, trollably. I shook my numb hands and
wear ing four layers beat them against my thighs, hoping
but still freezing. It was to get the blood moving. The only
deadly cold, 15 below warmth I felt was from the burning
or less—without doubt the coldest pain in my ankles and legs. It was

P REVIOUS S PREA D: GETTY IMAGES (BAC KGROUND). COURTESY OM FOUNDATION ( PAD D OCK )
it had been since we began. Sitting clear to me that if things did not im-
alone in my tent, I was already short prove, I would never make it the six
of breath. My mouth was dry, and additional hours it would take to get
my tongue felt twice its normal size. to the summit.
I drank some hot water, warming my “I may not do this,” I mumbled qui-
hands on the mug, and then slowly, etly to myself. I thought about what
painfully, strapped on my braces and that would mean for everybody who
boots. The moment I slipped my feet had supported me—my coworkers,
into the boots, I knew I had made my friends, and strangers who had
a mistake—a big mistake—by not put- donated to my cause. I thought of Jake
ting them into my sleeping bag with Ryan, a four-year-old with cerebral
the rest of my gear. They were frozen palsy, to whom I’d dedicated my climb,
solid. My already stiff feet were now and his family. They had faith in my
encased in what felt like concrete. ability to reach the top of Kilimanjaro.
Carefully, I stepped outside the They believed in me. And I couldn’t
tent, and the rest of the group assem- betray that belief.
bled. Finally, Moody led us forward, But by the end of the first hour, I
single file, into the darkness. Twenty was exhausted. The trail was now
minutes into the climb, I was already littered with large rocks, and I could
a wreck, my balance off and my legs no longer drag my feet along, one
aching. I stared at Tim’s boots and after the other, which is what I had been
tried to follow his footsteps up the doing. I needed to lift my legs now, and
steep trail, but the path was uneven, this slowed me down even more.
and I felt that the wind might flick me Tim had said that by 6 a.m., we
off the mountain at any moment. should arrive at Stella Point, a ridge

112 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

several hundred yards below the legs. I remembered those damn casts
summit, but the night seemed to last up to my hips.
forever. Four hours, five—I had no The furnace started to roar.
idea how long we had been at it—but With each step, I heaped another
the sky appeared to have no intention log onto the flame: the scrapes,
of ever growing light. The rest breaks bruises, broken bones, clumsy falls.
could not come quickly enough. The trail got even steeper. Digging my
“Is it time?” I would ask Minja. walking poles in, I pushed myself up
He would either shake his head or another step. Then another.
say, “Close. It’s close.” We finally took a break, and I col-
Somewhere—the hundredth switch- lapsed onto a boulder.
back, the thousandth—the
pain in my legs blew past
anything I had ever known. I started to think of everyone
With each step, my feet and
ankles sent shock waves of
who had doubted or teased
agony. I wanted to cry, to sit me. My anger drove me on.
down on a rock and weep.
In a haze of frustration, I started “This night is endless,” I said to
to think of everyone who had ever Minja, marveling at the fact. “Where
doubted me. Of every jeer and joke. is the sun? Where is the light?”
Of every time I was picked last for There was no answer.
a team in soccer or basketball. The Then I was on my feet again, head-
anger drove me on. I pictured a fur- ing upward. There was still so far to go.
nace fueled by these feelings. Throw Another hour or more to Stella Point,
in some logs. then another hour after that to Uhuru
I remembered getting into a fight in Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro.
elementary school with a boy who’d My eyes blurred, and the fog around
teased me for my funny walk. I me thickened. I stared at the holes
shouted at him, and he’d punched me worn in the knees of my pants, felt the
in the stomach, knocking me down. I cold seeping through them. My knees
added it to the furnace. had been knocking so much with
I remembered all those visits to all every step that they had worn through
those doctors. Walk here, bend there, the fabric.
the stab of needles. I remembered I wavered on my legs but then held
all the lies I had told when someone steady, my poles supporting me. As
asked me why I was walking differently the trail zigzagged up a sharp slope, I
and all the girls who had probably started to feed the furnace inside me
never liked me because of my stork again, harnessing anger I’d never en-

rd.com | 04•2015 | 113


A FURIOUS CLIMB

countered before. Sitting on the couch, Paul came down to cheer me on.
my parents telling me that Dad was “You’re almost there.”
moving out for only a while, when in Finally, I crested the ridge. I had
fact, he would never return. Time and reached Stella Point: 18,850 feet above
again, my brother Mike setting a date sea level. I stumbled toward Tim, rest-
for us to hang out, then never showing. ing my head against his jacket. The
There I would sit, stewing, not knowing others crowded around and patted
why he had not come, blaming myself. me on the shoulder. Tim led me over
Then there was my mother, keep- to a boulder and helped me sit down
ing me in the dark about what was behind it, out of the wind. I heaved
wrong with me. I suffered through for breath. For several minutes,
I remained bent over, spots
before my eyes, trying to
The team was waiting for me regain my hold on the world.
Tim brought over a canister
50 feet from the summit. “It’s of some kind of lemon sugar
your moment,” someone said. water that tasted incredible. I
hadn’t had anything to drink
a childhood of bruises and broken for hours. At last, I recovered enough
bones—all because she could not to ask Tim how much farther until the
acknowledge what was so painfully summit.
obvious: that I was not like everyone “An hour,” he said. “It’s really easy.
else. I had cerebral palsy. The furnace You did the hard part. But we have
roared again. to get moving before the weather
Head down, one sluggish foot at a changes.”
time, I advanced toward Stella Point. Any relief I had felt during our
No matter how many steps I took, no break evaporated 20 steps into the
matter how long I climbed, it felt as final 700-foot climb to the summit.
though I was getting no closer. The I felt nauseated and dizzy. The wind
furnace weakened to a flicker. The whipped around me, and the cold
cold and bruising agony in my body was sheer brutality. I lurched left and
returned in force. right, unable to hold to a straight line.
Then I heard Minja chanting a Every few minutes, Minja tapped me
Swahili prayer, and I trudged ahead. on the left shoulder or the right, steer-
Soon, other voices broke into my ing me back onto the path.
reverie. The trail became very rocky, and I
“Come on, Bonner! Come on! You staggered forward in a haze of exhaus-
got this, Bonner!” tion and pain. I heard voices, but the
I looked up toward the ridge wall. words were garbled.

114 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

I lifted my head slightly. The team


was gathered together ahead of me.
I managed to make out the words,
“Congratulations! You did it!”
Paul and Dilly pointed to a sign
another 50 feet up on the slope: the
mark of the highest point in Africa,
Uhuru Peak.
“It’s your moment,” one of them
said.
I finally realized that the team was
waiting for me. They wanted me to
be the first to the top.
My poles bending under all my
weight, I dragged myself up the
slope. Then I was at the sign. I put
my fists against it and tapped it
a couple of times to make sure
it was real. I leaned my head
against the wood. I had summited
Paddock at Uhuru Peak. “It was the
Mount Kilimanjaro. The fight was hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he wrote.
over. I had won.
Cheers rang out. Paul and Dilly flatlands surrounding Kilimanjaro. We
joined me, and we cried together, were so high up that I could see the
then took in the amazing view of curvature of the earth.
Mount Meru in the distance, ringed I took one last look at the view from
by clouds, a long stretch of fortresslike the summit, rattled by the strange
glaciers, the giant volcano crater, and thought that I had only just started
a clear vista for miles and miles of the something by climbing so high.
ONE MORE STEP BY BONNER PADDOCK AND NEAL BASCOMB, COPYRIGHT © 2015 BY BONNER PADDOCK AND NEAL BASCOMB,
IS PUBLISHED BY HARPERONE, AN IMPRINT OF HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS, HARPERONEBOOKS.COM.

SAVING WHAT, EXACTLY?

The hour I lose from daylight savings time will now be multiplied
by six as I try to change the time on the clock in my car.
@ROBDELANEY

rd.com | 04•2015 | 115


The writer in
New York City,
January 2015
MY MOST UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTER

A chance encounter with a music teacher


filled me with passion and purpose

Ari the
Cello Chair
&
I
BY A R I G O L D M A N

HAVE ALWAYS LOVED the rich and luscious sound of the cello.
I would go to concerts and wonder what it would feel like to hold a
cello and make such glorious music. But, as a young journalist in New
York in the late 1970s, I never imagined that I could play one.
One day, while dashing between assignments, I mistakenly
knocked on the wrong door in an office building. An elderly man with a shock
of white hair opened the door, and there, behind him, was a serene tableau:
a dark cello and a wooden chair with the design of a lyre on it.
For a moment, I forgot what I was looking for. I asked, “Do you play the
cello?”
“Yes,” he said. “Do you want to become one of my students?”
“Yes,” I responded, almost without thinking.
When I arrived for my first lesson a few days later, I told the teacher, whose
name was Heinrich Joachim, that I had answered yes on impulse and I didn’t
know if I could learn. “I’m not sure I am a musician,” I said. Mr. J assured me
that with practice and devotion to the instrument, I could become one.
I told him that I’d once had a beautiful voice. I sang solos in my synagogue
and dreamed of being a cantor. But I lost the voice during puberty. “The cello,”
Mr. J promised, “will give you back your voice.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY GLENN GLASSER rd.com | 04•2015 | 117


ARI & THE CELLO CHAIR

I bought a cello and began to go to Guatemala. He eventually made his


for weekly lessons. Much to my sur- way to New York, where he married,
prise, the lessons did not start with raised a family, and played with major
music. They began with a cup of tea. orchestras such as the New York Phil-
“How is my Ari?” Mr. J would ask. He harmonic, under Leonard Bernstein.
wanted to know about my job, my I was a reporter who covered
interests, and my ambitions. politics, schools, and transportation.
Once we got to the cello, it was not During our lessons, I would occa-
just an encounter with sionally bring him my
an instrument. “Embrace articles, none of which
your cello like you would had anything to do with
a beautiful woman,” he “Embrace music. He’d critique
told me. I put my arms your cello like those too. “More feel-
around the neck and my ing,” he’d demand.
legs around the body of you would I studied with him for
the instrument. “Now a beautiful seven years, until I got
play,” he said. “Don’t married and began to
just listen to the sound. woman,” raise a family. I stopped
Feel the sound. Feel the Mr. J told me. the lessons, but we
vibrations in your hands, stayed in touch.
thighs, and chest.” When Mr. J died in
I made steady progress. Along with 2002, I remained close with his chil-
cello techniques, Mr. J taught me dren. And when I returned to the cello
about scales, timbre, melody, and har- in middle age, I remembered Mr. J
mony. I got good enough at the cello saying, “Embrace it like you would a
to play with an adult trio and later beautiful woman.”
with an amateur orchestra. Mr. J’s eldest son, Andrew, died
“Don’t play for me,” Mr. J would al- in 2014. Soon after, I got a call from
ways say. “Play for the people across Andrew’s widow, Sallie, who said she
the street. Project. Project.” had a special gift for me. A large box
Mr. J was born in Germany in 1910 arrived a few days later, and inside
and, at the age of 11, renounced his was Mr. J’s “cello chair,” the wooden
toys for the cello. He studied at a one with the lyre on the back.
music conservatory in Berlin and I sit in Mr. J’s chair often. I know I
later joined a government-sponsored can never match his musical sound,
chamber orchestra. When members but I keep the tea on.
of the orchestra were told that they Ari Goldman, a professor of journalism
would have to sign allegiance to at Columbia University, is the author of
Hitler, Mr. J, who was half-Jewish, fled The Late Starters Orchestra.

118 | 04•2015 | rd.com


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
STEPHEN TREWIN and JOSEPH FARHATT, ) Civ. No. 3:12-CV-01475 (MAS) (DEA)
On Behalf of Themselves And All Others Similarly Situated, )
) - Legal Notice -
Plaintiffs,
vs. ) Authorized by the United States District Court,
CHURCH & DWIGHT CO., INC., ) For the District of New Jersey
Defendant. ) - This is not a solicitation from a lawyer -
IF YOU PURCHASED ARM & HAMMER® ESSENTIALS™ DEODORANT,
A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT COULD AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS
A proposed settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging that the labeling, advertising and marketing
of the Arm & Hammer® Essentials™ deodorant with labeling containing the words “Natural Deodorant” and “Natural
Protection” (hereinafter “Old Label”) sold by Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (“Defendant”) was misleading to consumers
because not all of the ingredients are natural. Defendant denies that the Essentials™ deodorant with Old Label was
misleading and it denies that it did anything wrong. The Court has not decided which side was right, but both sides
agreed to the settlement to resolve the case. The proposed settlement will pay a cash refund to eligible class members who
purchased the Essentials™ deodorant with the Old Label for personal use, and not for re-sale. If you qualify, you may
send in a claim form to get benefits, or you can exclude yourself from the settlement, or you can object to it. The United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey authorized this notice. The Court will have a hearing on June 4, 2015 to
decide whether to approve the settlement. Any request to be excluded from the settlement must be postmarked or received
by May 5, 2015 and sent to the Settlement Administrator at Strategic Claims Services, Attn: Trewin v. Church & Dwight
Settlement, P.O. Box 230, 600 N. Jackson Street, Suite 3, Media, PA 19063, and any objections to the settlement must be
received by May 5, 2015 to the following addresses: (i) Clerk of Court, United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey, Clarkson S. Fisher Building and U.S. Courthouse, 402 East State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608; (ii) Class Counsel:
James C. Shah, SHEPHERD, FINKELMAN, MILLER & SHAH, LLP, 475 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, NJ 08107;
and (iii) Church & Dwight Co., Inc., C/o Baldassare Vinti, Proskauer Rose LLP, 11 Times Square, New York, NY 10036.
WHO’S INCLUDED? If you purchased Defendant’s Essentials™ deodorant with the Old Label in the United States,
you may be a member of the class whose rights are affected by this settlement. Excluded from the Class are: (i) those who
purchased the Essentials™ deodorant with the Old Label for purpose of resale; (ii) those with claims for personal injuries
arising from the use of the Essentials™ deodorant with the Old Label; (iii) Defendant and its officers, directors and em-
ployees; (iv) any person who files a valid and timely Request for Exclusion; and (v) the Judges to whom this Litigation are
assigned and any members of their immediate families. If you’re not sure you are included, you can get more information,
including a detailed notice, at www.churchanddwightsettlement.com.
WHAT’S THIS ABOUT? The lawsuit claims that the labeling, advertising and marketing of Defendant’s Essentials™
deodorant with Old Label was misleading to consumers because not all of the ingredients are natural. Defendant denies
that the Essentials™ deodorant with Old Label was misleading and denies that it did anything wrong. The Court has not
decided which side was right, but both sides agreed to the settlement to resolve the case.
WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE? Defendant has agreed to provide eligible class members who
purchased the Essentials™ deodorant with Old Label a $4.00 cash refund for each unit purchased. If the settlement fund
is not large enough to pay all valid claims in full, claims payments will be reduced proportionally. Attorneys’ fees, costs
of the litigation, settlement administration fees, and incentive awards to class representatives will be paid separately.
The settlement will release claims that consumers may have against Defendant relating to the purchase of the Essentials™
deodorant, unless the individual excludes him/her self from the settlement.
WHAT ARE MY LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS?
Submit A detailed notice and claim form is located at www.churchanddwightsettlement.com. To qualify for a cash
A Claim payment, you can fill-out and submit the claim form online, or you can download it and send it in. Claim
Form forms must be received by the Settlement Administrator by September 2, 2015.
Exclude Get no payment. This is the only option that allows you to ever be part of any other lawsuit against Defendant
Yourself about any issues relating to the purchase and use of Essentials™ deodorant. Exclusion requests must be
postmarked by May 5, 2015 to the Settlement Administrator. The website provides more information about
how to exclude yourself.
Object Write to the Court about why you don’t like the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement you will
be bound even if you objected. Objections must be received by the Court, Class Counsel and Church &
Dwight’s Counsel (addresses above) no later than May 5, 2015.The website provides more information
about how to object.
Do nothing Get no payment. Give up rights. You are bound by the settlement nonetheless.
You may obtain more information about the settlement, including the settlement agreement and the Court’s orders, by
visiting www.churchanddwightsettlement.com or by calling toll-free 1-866-274-4004. Please do not contact the Court or
Defendant.
NATIONAL INTEREST

A black plastic
garbage bag protects
a young worker from
toxic wet tobacco
leaves.
Kids under 18 can’t legally buy
cigarettes, but they can—and do—
work on tobacco farms. They say
the hazards are worth the risk to
support their families.

Children
of the
FIELDS
BY RO BERT AND RE W P OWELL

THE SUN HAS YET TO RISE IN


rural North Carolina, but the muggy,
breezeless weather hints at yet another very
hot July day. About a dozen Hispanic boys
and girls, ages 12 to 15, slowly emerge from
a cluster of mobile homes on the outskirts
of town, rubbing their eyes as they whisper
goodbyes to their mothers. The kids wear
long-sleeved shirts and heavy denim jeans
even though temperatures in the tobacco
fields, where they work, will approach triple
digits. They carry bottles of water and
Gatorade in one hand and plastic garbage
bags—ad hoc hazmat suits—in the other.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 121


CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS

A few minutes before 6 a.m., the soft green tobacco sickness. All the kids
crunch of gravel announces the arrival have heard of it, but when asked if
of a black SUV driven by a man who they’ve ever suffered from it, they all
works for a tobacco farmer. He’ll shut- say no. Yet when asked specifically
tle the kids to the field, an hour away, about the common symptoms, every-
and drop them off behind a thick one shares stories. Have you vomited?
stand of pine trees, hidden from the Yes. Many times. Dizziness, headaches?
main road. There’s almost no chance Sure. Sleeplessness? Every night.
that state inspectors will notice the chil- Today, the kids “top” the tobacco by
dren or check whether they get regular walking up and down row after row of
water breaks (they do), have access leafy green tobacco plants, plucking
to bathrooms (they don’t), and are off any white, teacup-shaped flowers
legally permitted to work (most aren’t). and tossing them to the ground. Plastic-
When the kids get to the field, they covered fingers search the base of
poke neck- and armholes in their each stalk for small dwarf leaves called
garbage bags, drape them over their suckers, which, like the flowers, divert
torsos, and pull on disposable plas- nutrients away from the valuable main
tic gloves. The goal is simple: Avoid leaves. With the foreman monitoring
touching the tobacco leaves, which the speed at which they work, the kids
can leach nicotine into the skin— also pull weeds from around the base
especially when tobacco leaves are wet, of the plant and right any tipsy stalks
such as early in the morning, before the that have fallen into other rows. When
sun burns off the dew. The price for one row is finished, they start down
repeatedly coming into contact with the next. Their shift lasts 12 hours.
the toxic chemical—nausea, vomiting, “He’ll fire your ass” if you miss any
dizziness, headaches, loss of appetite, suckers or if you go too slowly, says
sleeplessness—is made worse on days Neftali Cuello, referring to the fore-
when the plants have been sprayed man. Neftali is a crew elder at age 19.
with insecticide to kill off budworms. She began working in tobacco fields
Fifteen-year-old Edinson Ramirez when she was 11.
explains that when he first started
working tobacco, he absently used
his shirtsleeve, which had come into
contact with the wet leaves, to wipe
sweat from his face.
“After lunch, my face started sting-
I N BRAZIL, INDIA, Russia, and
other countries, no one un-
der age 18 can legally work in
tobacco fields. Yet in the United
States, a child as young as 12 needs
ing,” he says. “It felt like somebody only a parent’s permission to help
threw hot sauce on me.” harvest the plant. By age 14, even that
Nicotine poisoning is also called isn’t necessary. And while children

122 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

under age 16 in the United States can of family medicine at Wake Forest
be limited to 18 hours a week behind Baptist Medical Center. “Nicotine and
the counter at Starbucks or Walmart, pesticides from tobacco can have a
kids of the same age who harvest long-term negative effect on the kids’
tobacco have no federal restrictions if developing neurological, reproduc-
school is out of session. tive, and musculoskeletal systems.”
In May 2014, Human
Rights Watch published
Tobacco’s Hidden Chil-
dren, a report based on
MANY OF THE CHILD
interviews with more than WORKERS SURVEYED HAD
100 children ages seven to SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH
17, most of whose parents GREEN TOBACCO SICKNESS.
are Hispanic immigrants,
who said they had worked
in tobacco farming in the United States Although many children still work
in 2012 or 2013. The majority of the tobacco fields in North Carolina and
children interviewed for the report other states, the report altered the
worked the field primarily during the hiring practices of some farmers.
summer, though a few were migrant Several labor contractors in North
workers, traveling year-round alone Carolina backed off on hiring chil-
or with their families to different loca- dren this season, a decision that has
tions to work. The report outlined the frustrated, of all people, the kids. The
“excessively long hours” children often truth is that despite the long hours,
work and the trouble kids can have col- possible health effects, and low wages,
lecting even a minimum wage for this many kids say they need and want to
work, a repetitive labor that “strains do this work. And their parents aren’t
their backs and taxes their muscles.” stopping them—in fact, many kids
And, according to the report, nearly work alongside Mom and Dad.
ALL P HOTOS: MARCUS BLEAS DA LE/VII

three quarters of the child workers


on tobacco farms who were surveyed
experienced symptoms consistent with
green tobacco sickness. Human Rights O NE EVENING, as I drove
around central North Caro-
lina, I came across six boys
Watch called on tobacco growers to playing soccer on a lumpy patch of
stop using child labor, a call that child grass. Their goalposts were fashioned
advocates and public health experts from snapped tree branches. Each
have been making for decades. boy told me he’d worked tobacco the
“Children are not small adults,” ex- previous summer, but this year the
plains Thomas A. Arcury, a professor boys weren’t working at all. “You have

rd.com | 04•2015 | 123


CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS

Workers stand on narrow rafters while food on the table. So I thought maybe
hanging tobacco to dry. if I went to work, I might help a little
bit with the money.”
to be 18 now,” explained Eduardo Cruz, Neftali’s mother started working
15. I asked what he was doing instead tobacco to support herself and her
this summer, and he told me he was six kids after she left Neftali’s father
doing nothing. Which could be good, several years ago. Tobacco has never
in theory. He can play soccer. He can paid much money, but there weren’t
be a kid. Except every one of the boys many other options for a person in
told me he’d rather be working—that her circumstances. She first brought
is, he’d rather be helping his family. her kids into the fields so she could
Edinson Ramirez began topping watch them when they were out of
tobacco at age 12. “I started working school.
because my mom is a single mom, “She thought we wouldn’t last, that
and I saw how she struggled with we’d see how horrible it is and not
money,” he says. “She would come come back,” Neftali says. “But we kept
home later and later every day. It was coming back. Me and my sisters, we
hard for her to pay the bills, to have wanted to help out.”

124 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

T ODAY, ECONOMIC necessity responsibility, he wrote, and on what


may be the biggest factor it takes to finish a job. Potential expo-
driving kids to work tobacco sure to chemicals or heatstroke was
fields, but the practice is grounded in mitigated with “plain old common
tradition. Through the 1960s, schools sense.” Sit in the shade for a while
adjusted their schedules so children if you get dizzy. Drink lots of water.
could help out with
planting, topping, and
harvesting the plant. At
a tobacco farm museum
DOUGLAS BELIEVES THAT BIG
in the town of Kenly, TOBACCO COMPANIES HAVE THE
North Carolina, I talked RESPONSIBILITY TO IMPROVE
to Mary Cavanaugh, CHILD LABOR PRACTICES.
a grandmother who
grew up in the state and
who worked the fields when she was Handle tobacco leaves with caution.
young. Her memories aren’t negative. “Don’t get me wrong: I don’t recom-
“Everybody worked the fields,” she mend smoking. It’ll kill you,” Young
recalled. “It was how we made our asserted in his op-ed. “But handling
summer money.” tobacco leaves never hurt me by
Tom Young, a former helicopter giving me nicotine poisoning … I
crew chief for the Air National Guard never experienced it and never saw
and now a successful novelist, grew anyone else suffer from it.”
up on a tobacco farm in North Caro- The Human Rights Watch report
lina in the 1970s. In an op-ed he wrote concedes that the long-term effects
last June for USA Today, Young re- of nicotine absorption through the
spectfully disagreed with the Human skin aren’t known. However, it con-
Rights Watch request to ban children tends that research shows the adverse
from tobacco fields. Before he started effects of smoking on adolescent
first grade, Young says, he was driv- brains and that nonsmoking adult
ing a tractor and chopping weeds tobacco workers have similar levels of
under his father’s close supervision. nicotine in their bodies as smokers.
He topped tobacco like Neftali is do- “The U.S. government and the states
ing today and helped hang harvested have an obligation to protect children
leaves in curing barns. He handled from dangerous and exploitative
tobacco directly when he and his work,” the report concludes.
brother stuffed cured leaves into bur- Clifford Douglas, director at the
lap sacks in preparation for market. University of Michigan’s Tobacco
His own experience educated him on Research Network, believes that the

rd.com | 04•2015 | 125


CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS

big tobacco companies have the About $85 in cash. She rides back to
power, and the responsibility, to the trailer park with her mother, her
improve child labor practices. “The sister, and a couple of the boys from
victims here are mostly poor and the crew. Even though she’s physi-
largely invisible to the rest of us, but cally tired, she feels amped when she
that doesn’t mean that they don’t gets home, wide-awake. She forces
need to be protected,” Douglas told herself to eat something, though she
VICE News in May. Marty Otañez, is not really hungry. She talks to a
a University of Colorado assistant friend on the phone. She won’t get to
anthropology professor and founder bed until after midnight. The release
of fairtradetobacco.com, thinks that of sleep eludes her for a few more
more independent oversight of farm hours after that.
conditions and union representa- “It’s really, really bad, how hard it
tion could help protect migrant and is for me to fall asleep,” she admits. “I
seasonal tobacco workers, especially get only two or three hours at most.
children. “It’s not about just looking Then I have to wake up, and it’s time
at the public health issues of smoking to go again.”
anymore, but taking a holistic approach The insomnia, the lack of appetite.
to holding a company accountable,” he That sounds like it could be the nico-
told VICE News. “The cost of tobacco is tine. She shrugs her shoulders. Yeah,
low, but the impact is huge.” maybe. It’s hard working in the fields,
definitely. But the dangers of tobacco?

T HE SUN IS STILL shining at


7 p.m., when the shift finally
ends. The temperature holds
steady at 91 degrees. Neftali collects
her daily pay from the foreman.
That’s not something she has the
luxury of worrying about.
Robert Andrew Powell wrote “The Psychic,
the Novelist, and the $17 Million Scam,” for
the March 2014 issue of Reader’s Digest.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE COMPUTING

I’ve crunched the numbers, and it’s cheaper to start your own
octopus farm than to buy retail printer ink.
@FLYOVERJOEL

Just saw my two-year-old touch “Skip ad” on a YouTube


video, and I teared up with pride.
@ANDYPITZ

126 | 04•2015 | rd.com


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Laugh Lines
ONCE UPON A TIME …

And every six My wife said There was an old


months, she she wanted woman who lived
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her aging sheep romance,” so her own TLC show.
for a new one. I’ve locked her The end.
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GETTY I MAGES

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CODE: SENEAH0415
HISTORY

When massive logs and


a rushing river threaten a
bridge, two tuskers do
something extraordinary

The Day the


Elephants Danced
BY V IC K I CO N STA N T I N E C RO KE
E
ntranced by elephants, British citizen James Howard Williams
moved to Burma in the 1920s to be a forest assistant at the
Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation just so he could work
with the world’s largest land animals. Not long after he started
his job, Billy—as Williams was known—saw an elephant trying to carry a
heavy pile of logs cradled in his tusks and trunk. As the bull headed up
a steep hill, the timber was in danger of rolling up and over the top of his
head. Struggling, the tusker put the logs down and picked up a bamboo
stake. He positioned the bamboo in his mouth, pointing it up like a
backstop, and then grasped the logs again, secured with the stake.
Experiences like this convinced wood sat eight miles upstream from
Williams that elephants were the most an expensive new railway bridge,
intelligent animals in the world, able which spanned the river. When the
to improvise novel solutions to prob- logs came crashing downstream, they
lems. They were always acquiring would be headed right for the abut-
new skills because their brains, much ments supporting the bridge.
like ours, were built to learn through- Williams quickly called for Poo Ban
out their lives. “[The elephant] never and Poo Gyi, two tuskers that, besides
stops learning, because he is always being big and strong, were also con-
thinking,” he said. sidered lane bah these, or what the
One of Williams’s favorite stories elephant riders called “wise old ani-
occurred sometime around the late mals.” He thought it might be possible
GETTY I MAGES . M ICHAEL M ASLAN/CORBI S (IN SET P HOTO)

1920s, when he had the chance to test to train them to stand in the water
the limits of the elephants’ abilities by before the bridge, facing upstream,
asking them to do something they had and redirect the logs away from the
never done before. It was early June, piers and toward the center of the river.
the beginning of monsoon season in Their riders said it would be easy.
Burma, and Williams was awaiting Poo Ban and Poo Gyi were taken
the start of the rains to loosen a mas- down to the river, with their riders
sive stockpile of 2,000 teak logs. They sitting atop them and giving com-
were lined up in a dry riverbed, with mands as a few test logs were floated
the smallest first and the largest— down. The riders shouted, “Coming
astounding in girth and length, some left,” or, “Coming right.” Immediately,
40 feet—to the rear. Until the rains the elephants diverted each log as it
broke, they, like all the teak logs in the arrived. With casual grace, the book-
upper Chindwin River, were stranded. ended tuskers followed commands to
There was one big problem, how- catch each log as it headed toward a
ever : The dormant avalanche of pier, and then, using their trunks or

rd.com | 04•2015 | 131


T H E D AY T H E E L E P H A N T S D A N C E D

tusks, they nimbly shoved it to the water. The tension had not gotten to
center. The scheme looked as if it them; in fact, Williams found them to
would work, but the intended barrage be jovial. They strolled out slowly, dig-
of teak would probably require a sec- nified and magnificent—two beautiful
ond team to serve as relief. gray tuskers wading in a brown river.
The heat was suffocating, yet The water splashed up as they moved,
day after day, distant thunder and first darkening their legs, then skim-
gathering black clouds threatened ming their bellies. Their riders, each
but didn’t deliver rain. bare chested with long
Finally, after two weeks, black hair pulled back
the rains began to fill in a ponytail, positioned
the riverbed upstream. each elephant in front of
Williams, who had in-
The elephants an abutment. When the
stalled field phones at were like game- animals were in place,
the logging site and at ready goalies, the men scrambled off,
the bridge, soon re- climbing up and onto the
ceived word: “The river moving with piers themselves. They
is rising; heavy rain has grace and ease were posted there to see
broken in the headwa- what was coming and
ters; logs are moving on to divert the logs to give orders to their
the sandy bed.” The teak with their tusks. elephants.
logs were on their way. Soon, everyone
At three in the
But this was just heard the unmistak-
afternoon, Williams a warm-up. able thunder of teak on
observed a change in the move—the boom,
the color of the water—it b o o m, b o o m o f t h e
was becoming “chocolate dirty” with massive logs striking one another.
silt and debris. This signaled that the The onslaught started, and so did the
moment of reckoning was coming fast. elephants. They were like game-
The quicker, the better, because there ready goalies. “With grace and ease,
were only a few hours of daylight left, Poo Ban and Poo Gyi diverted each
and this was not an operation to be log with their tusks right and left
attempted in the dark. [and] with a glancing push and blow,”
The tension ratcheted up as an Williams said. Every stray log spun
excited crowd of villagers formed on and dipped in the water toward the
the banks to watch. No one was allowed center. The tuskers were good.
on the bridge itself as a precaution But this was just a warm-up: The
against distracting the elephants. Poo smaller logs had come down first.
Ban and Poo Gyi were ordered into the The pace picked up as larger logs

132 | 04•2015 | rd.com


READER’S DIGEST

began to appear. The elephants “coolly tuskers were talking only to each other.
held their ground, but they were more However, the elephants were not
than occupied—left tusk, right tusk.” refusing to work; they “did not swim
Williams watched with excitement. All away downstream and break ranks
the wood that came near the precious as I feared and rather expected,”
bridge was tossed expertly by the ani- Williams said. “Instead, they plunged
mals to the middle of the current. their forefeet into the sandy bottom
Williams wasn’t the only one thrilled of the creek and … did hula-hula
by the skill of the elephants. The air dancing movements, allowing logs to
was now filled, not just with the crash- ricochet off their rumps still more like
ing of the logs but also with the cheer- cannons off the cushion.”
ing of an ever-growing crowd. It was all The crowd erupted into laughter and
going so well. But Williams looked sky- cheers. The elephants used their am-
ward. How long would the light last? ple haunches to deflect the logs, and
And how long would the elephants they were also agile enough to swing
hold out? They must be exhausted. back a little with the momentum of
He wondered if he should take them each one to blunt the impact. Just a
out and replace them with the waiting few scattered logs—the tail end of
relay team. But the most colossal the wood cache—were coming now,
pieces of timber were here now. so Poo Ban and Poo Gyi were taken
For Poo Ban and Poo Gyi, the out and replaced by the second team.
effortless tossing had turned into con- “It was a triumph for the jumbos,”
centrated heaving. Instead of waiting Williams said, “and not one log
for a log to come in before sending damaged a pier.”
it off with a light jab of a tusk, they X X X
were now extending their trunks Billy Williams believed that living with
forward to reach the logs early and elephants made him a better man, and
slow them down before muscling he fought for their humane care in the
them away. If Williams added the teak business. When Japanese forces in-
other two elephants, they might vaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined
get in one another’s way. But he the elite British Force 136, operating
worried for these two warriors; it behind enemy lines. He commanded
didn’t look like they could keep it up. a team of war elephants that carried
Just then, they seemed to tell him supplies, built bridges, and transported
they couldn’t. Nearly in unison, both the sick and elderly over treacherous
elephants began to turn around, mountain terrain. You can read about
facing downstream. Their riders Williams’s amazing experiences in
frantically shouted for them to the book Elephant Company by Vicki
stop, but they didn’t listen. The Constantine Croke.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 133


That’s Outrageous!
UNLUCKIEST CRIMINALS

WHEN AN attempted and a window


robbery at a home- was smashed.
improvement store No wonder she
went awry, the sus- was hysterical
pect fled across the when a Calgary
street and jumped police officer
a fence … right into arrived. Then
a nudist resort. As her father called.
the Orlando Sentinel Speaking in their
pointed out, because native French, she
the would-be criminal was “one told him it was all a scam to get
of the only folks wearing clothing,” insurance money. What she didn’t
he was easily spotted by police. know was that the officer spoke
Source: Orlando Sentinel six languages, including French.
Source: cnews.canoe.ca

HOW CONVENIENT! An Iowa City,


Iowa, man had his driver’s license AN ILLINOIS man busted into a
stolen. But a few months later, who church and absconded with the safe.
should show up at the bar where the Less than a block away, he dropped
man worked as a bouncer? Why, the it in a neighbor’s yard and tried to
thief, brandishing the missing license crack it open with a screwdriver.
as his form of ID. Source: press-citizen.com That’s when he was confronted by the
home’s occupant—a police officer.
IS THERE NO HONOR among Source: pjstar.com

thieves? While two suspects were


being questioned by Ogden, Utah, A SAN FRANCISCO THIEF pedaled
police about shoplifting, someone his bike up to a woman, snatched an
broke into their car and stole a stereo iPhone out of her hands, and rode
and other items. off. Unbeknownst to him, the woman
Source: Deseret News Publishing Company was in the middle of demonstrating
the iPhone’s new GPS program. It
THE VICTIM’S JEWELRY was worked—and the thief was captured
missing, the electronics were gone, minutes later. Source: sfgate.com

134 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY NISHANT CHOKSI


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WHO KNEW

13 Things
Ancestry
Trackers
Won’t
Tell You
BY MIC H E L L E C R O U C H

1 We do so much more than just


trace family trees. We help the
military locate relatives of soldiers
3 Just because your grandfather
said your family came over on
the Mayflower doesn’t mean it’s a
killed in action abroad, unearth the fact. About half the time, I have to
owners of family heirlooms, help tell families that the story they’ve
adoptees locate parents, and find been passing down is all wrong.
far-flung heirs for lawyers and banks.

2 Having trouble finding an


ancestor? Get sloppy with your
4 Talk to your older relatives
now—I mean today—about what
they remember, and write it down.
spelling. Before driver’s licenses, Then hunt through their attics for
name variations and misspellings old photos, obituaries, newspaper
were common. A simple name like articles, military papers, and more.
Smith could be listed as Smyth, A little bit of up-front research will
Smythe, or even Schmidt. save time down the line (and it’s fun!).

136 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY SERGE BLOCH


5 No, your family name was not
forcibly changed at Ellis Island.
In most cases, immigrants changed
10 If you’re having trouble find-
ing someone who served in
World War I or II, search for the
their own names upon arriving to correct month and day of birth but
make them sound more American. an earlier year. Many men overstated
their ages to enlist because they were

6 In today’s world, it’s harder


than ever to keep a secret. I
underage.

tried autosomal DNA testing when


it first came out and—whoops!—
accidentally found out that my
11 We cringe at genealogy-themed
TV shows that make it seem
like you need to travel far away to do
dad’s only brother was actually your research. So many records are
his half-brother. online today that you can find most
of what you need from home.

7 With websites like ancestry.com


and geni.com, you can easily
create a tree that goes back many 12 Scan and upload unidentified
family photos to Google’s
generations. But be warned: Online “search by image” page and tineye
trees are often packed with errors .com. Both sites search for similar
(I’ve seen a mother who supposedly images, and you may find a match
died before her child was born), so with all the information you need.
always check the original sources.

8 Old newspaper articles are my


favorite sources for stories that
13 Once I learned that a client
had a third-great-grandfather
who was one of only five African
make family histories come alive. You Americans to graduate as lawyers
can find them at genealogybank.com, from the University of South Carolina
chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, and during Reconstruction. He got in un-
newspapers.com. der the wire, before Jim Crow. Being
able to tell my client that was huge.

9 Are you related to someone


famous? It’s likely. Do the math:
You have two parents, four grandpar-
That’s the thing about genealogy:
You uncover stories, and that
can completely change people’s
ents, eight great-grandparents, and perspectives on who they are.
so on. If you go back ten generations,
you’ve got 1,024 ancestors. Twenty Sources: Genealogists Megan Smolenyak, author of
Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing, and Gena Philibert-
generations puts you over the one- Ortega, author of From the Family Kitchen; Kelvin Meyers,
a forensic genealogist in Texas; Michelle Ercanbrack, a family
million mark; one of those “cousins” historian at ancestry.com; and Kenyatta Berry, a host of
Genealogy Road Show and past president of the Association
is bound to be famous. of Professional Genealogists

rd.com | 04•2015 | 137


WHO KNEW?

Art
Where
You’d
Least
Expect It

BY BRANDON SPECKTOR

A Sculpture Park— something to look at but also to


at the Bottom of the Ocean give sea critters somewhere to live.
You’re snorkeling around a coral Installations like the Silent Evolution,
reef when you see it—a human face. a string of 400 human figures, function
Wait … make that hundreds of human as artificial coral reefs, simultane- JASON DECA IRES TAYLOR/GETTY I MAGES

faces. You’ve just entered the world ously offering sea life a new home
of Jason deCaires Taylor, an undersea and drawing tourists away from the
artist who sculpts life-size human overexposed natural reefs in some
forms and then installs them on the of the world’s most-visited waters.
ocean floor.
In 2006, Taylor opened the world’s An Abandoned Theater—
first underwater sculpture park, in the Sinai Desert
off the coast of Grenada; in 2009, “Imagine you are watching 2001:
he expanded to Cancún. Sculpting A Space Odyssey in one of 700 wooden
figures from pH-neutral concrete, seats in a cinema with sand walls.”
Taylor aims not only to give tourists So reads the original press release for

138 | 04•2015 | rd.com


what became known Lenin’s Head—
as the End of the World in Subzero
Cinema, an ill-fated Antarctica
open-air movie theater The South Pole of Inac-
tucked between sand cessibility is the point
dunes of the Sinai. on Antarctica farthest
In the late ’90s, from the sea—the literal
French artist Diynn middle of nowhere.
Eadel took a trip So why did Soviet sci-
through Egypt and fell entists erect a bust of
in love with “the great Vladimir Lenin there?
theater of nature.” He vowed to give Simply put: chutzpah. It was the
the Sinai Desert a cinema, walled 1950s, and everything was a flexing
by mountains and lit by stars. Eadel match between the United States
secured investments and building and Russia. In 1956, America set up
permits, erected a screen, and a research station at the South Pole.
relocated 700 hand-painted chairs Russia retorted by slapping up a sta-
from a Cairo theater to complete tion at the Pole of Inaccessibility two
his vision. Everything was set for years later. Today, most of the Soviet
FROM TOP: COURTESY STEIN TRONSTAD; KAUPO KIKKAS/LANDOV MEDIA

the opening—then the power died. station is buried by snow, but you
Whether an act of anti-tourist can still see its peculiar crown: Lenin’s
sabotage or pure accident, that was frozen head, gazing perpetually
it: No film has ever played there. across the tundra toward Moscow.

Sources: cracked.com, nautil.us, atlasobscura.com, stuff.co.nz, and underwatersculpture.com

rd.com | 04•2015 | 139


LOOK
TWICE …
… What do you see? Is it a floating city, a maze of computer
circuitry—or simply a bloated apartment complex at an
unusual angle? Viewed straight up from a street-level court-
yard by photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagreze, this old
residential building on Hong Kong Island becomes a canyon
of glass and concrete, jagged with balconies and window-
mounted AC units. Lose yourself in the details—just try not
to lose your footing.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 141


WHO KNEW?

5 Geniuses
With Serious
Procrastination
Problems
BY BR A N D O N SP E C KTO R

Wolfgang Amadeus In 1934, Pittsburgh department


1 Mozart wrote the overture store magnate Edgar Kaufmann Sr.
for Don Giovanni in a single night— hired Wright to design a retreat
the night before the opera’s debut. around the waterfalls of his forested
The reason was simple enough: Pennsylvania property. Wright vis-
He was Mozart. The 31-year-old ited the site and assured Kaufmann
virtuoso could ostensibly compose he had big plans. In truth, he hadn’t
entire symphonies in his mind— drawn a thing. Weeks became
often while playing billiards—and months, and on a Sunday morning,
at times he didn’t put pen to paper September 22, 1935, Kaufmann
until he’d completed the entire piece spontaneously decided to visit
in his head first. At Don Giovanni’s Wright’s studio and check his prog-
premiere, the ink on the overture’s ress. He would arrive before lunch,
sheet music was still wet from its Kaufmann explained over the phone,
last-minute copying, and there was and was very excited to see the
no time for rehearsal. “Some notes designs. With nervous apprentices
fell under the stands,” Mozart said watching and Kaufmann hours from
later, “but it went well.” his door, Wright finished breakfast,
then drew up the plans for what
Frank Lloyd Wright became Fallingwater—an icon of
2 created his most famous struc- modern design and a National
ture at age 68—in about two hours. Historic Landmark.

142 | 04•2015 | rd.com ILLUSTRATION BY SEAN MCCABE


Franz Kafka had a day job verbatim notes from his notepad
3 as an insurance clerk that and shuttling them off to the press.
provided the gloomy novelist plenty He was sure this incoherent, slap-
of time for existential brooding but dash piece would be the death of
little time to translate that brooding his career. He was wrong; “The
to fiction. However, when Kafka was Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and
promoted to a position that let him Depraved” won Thompson rave
clock out at 2 p.m., procrastination reviews, and his manic, first-person
became his new prison. In a letter to style spawned a reporting movement.
his fiancée, Kafka describes a typical
day after work: “Lunch till 3:30 … sleep
5 Victor Hugo began writing
until 7:30 … ten minutes of exercises, The Hunchback of Notre
naked at the open window … an Dame in the fall of 1830, against the
hour’s walk … then dinner with my brutal deadline of February 1831.
family.” When did the writing finally He bought an entire bottle of ink in
begin? Not until 11 p.m., sometimes preparation but sincerely did not
continuing well up to 6 a.m. the next feel like writing. So he did what any
morning. Admittedly, not the best sane man would do: He got naked.
system: Kafka died at age 40, leaving Locking away his clothes to avoid the
many unfinished works behind. temptation of going outside, Hugo
was left with nothing to wear but a
Hunter S. Thompson large gray shawl. According to his
4 was hired by Scanlan’s wife (the poor woman), this knitted,
Monthly to cover the Kentucky toe-length rag served as his uniform
Derby in 1970. From securing his for many months. It worked; using
press pass to meeting illustrator up all his ink, Hugo finished the
Ralph Steadman to actually writing book weeks before deadline. He even
the story, Thompson was chronically considered titling it What Came Out
behind schedule. With the deadline of a Bottle of Ink … squandering
looming and a Scanlan’s courier the opportunity to turn in a literary
literally waiting at his hotel door, classic called What Came Out of My
Thompson began ripping pages of Dirty Gray Jammies.

OPINIONS ARE LIKE BIRTHDAYS

Everybody has one, and I know yours only because of Facebook.


@RANDILAWSON

rd.com | 04•2015 | 143


WHO KNEW?

Yes, You Really Did Choose


The Slowest Line BY ADAM MA N N
FR O M W IRED.CO M

YOU RUN into the grocery store (which means you have a two-thirds
to pick up one ingredient. You grab chance of not being in the fastest).
your item, head to the front, and So it’s not just in your mind: Another
choose the line that looks fastest. line probably is moving faster.
You chose wrong. People who you Researchers have a good solution
swear got in other lines long after you to this problem: Make all customers
are already checked out and off to the stand in one long, snaking line—
parking lot. Why does this always called a serpentine line—and serve
seem to happen to you? each person at the front with the next
It turns out, it’s just math working available register. With three registers,
against you; chances are, the other this method is about three times
line really is faster. faster than the traditional approach.
Grocery stores try to have enough This is what they do at most banks
employees at checkout to get all their and at some Trader Joe’s stores and
customers through with minimum fast-food restaurants. With a serpen-
delay. But sometimes, as on a Sunday tine line, a long delay at one register
afternoon, the system gets over- won’t unfairly punish the people who
whelmed. Any small interruption—a lined up behind it. Instead, it will
price check, a chatty customer—can slow down everyone a little bit but
UTA RUGE/GETTY IMAGES

have downstream effects, holding up speed up checkout overall.


an entire line. So why don’t most places encour-
If there are three lines in the store, age serpentine lines? It takes many
delays will happen randomly at registers to keep one line moving effi-
different registers. Think about the ciently, and some stores can’t afford
probability: The odds of your line the space or manpower. So wherever
being fastest are only one in three your next wait may be: Good luck.

144 | 04•2015 | rd.com


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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ON

Rd.com
WELLNESS

9 Everyday
Items Dirtier
MOST RETWEETS
than a
ON TWITTER
Toilet Seat
Surprise: One of them

FROM TOP LEFT: ISTOCK/THINKSTOCK. PETER DAZELEY/GETTY IMAGES. COURTESY HEATHER CROSBY
CLEANING MOST POPULAR
O N FA C E B O O K
There’s a is your carpet! About
200,000 bacteria live CONDITIONS
Right Way to in each square inch,
Do Laundry— 10 Silent Signs
which is nearly
Really 700 times more than
of Diabetes
New research indi-
We found seven what’s on the average
cates a shocking
common slipups commode. Try deep-
25 percent of people
that can cause cleaning once a year
with diabetes don’t
damage to fabrics, to get where the
know they have it. If
fit, and more. vacuum can’t.
you experience some
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RECIPES clues (thirstier than
Pretty, Healthy Mason Jar Salads usual, extra bathroom
breaks, weight loss,
Prevent a limp lunch by layering fresh ingredients
blurry vision, and oth-
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Top Life
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10 of the
Greatest Wits
“Don’t let the
fear of striking out
hold you back.”
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REA D U P AT R D.CO M /A P R I L

146 | 04•2015 | rd.com


IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR

Word Power
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures
in Wonderland. Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) invented words
like boojum and jabberwocky, and his works abound with more terms worth
knowing. In celebration of Alice, here’s a sampling. Answers, next page.
BY E M ILY COX & H ENRY RATH VO N

1. hookah ('hu-kuh) n.—A: staff of a 9. antipathies (an-'tih-puh-thees)


shepherdess. B: chess queen’s crown. n.—A: miracle cures. B: sudden
C: smoking pipe. storms, usually in the tropics.
C: feelings of dislike.
2. platitudes ('pla-tih-tewds)
n.—A: trite sayings. B: temperate 10. will-o’-the-wisp (will-uh-thuh-
climates. C: heaping servings. 'wisp) n.—A: fast speaker. B: rare
plant. C: misleading goal or hope.
3. welter ('wel-tur) v.—A: toss
among waves. B: droop in the sun. 11. sally ('sa-lee) n.—A: female
C: shrink in size. rabbit. B: white smock or robe.
C: witty remark.
4. lory ('lor-ee) n.—A: tall tale.
B: type of parrot. C: atmospheric 12. griffin ('grih-fun) n.—A: monster
phenomenon, as the northern lights. with wings. B: horn. C: cranky man.
5. impertinent (im-'pur-tuh-nunt) 13. cravat (kruh-'vat) n.—A: game
adj.—A: late for a meeting. similar to croquet. B: scarf-like
B: talking rapidly. C: rude. necktie. C: two-person rowboat.
6. languid ('lan-gwed) adj.— 14. hansom ('hant-sum) n.—
A: speaking fluently. B: sluggish A: horse-drawn carriage. B: knight
or weak. C: slightly tilted. or nobility. C: chimney flue.
7. ungainly (un-'gayn-lee) 15. sagaciously (suh-'gay-shus-lee)
adj.—A: not attractive. B: clumsy adv.—A: wisely. B: dimly or foolishly.
or awkward. C: sickly thin. C: ambitiously.
8. livery ('lih-vuh-ree) n.—
A: model boat. B: uniform. C: long,  To play an interactive version of
Word Power on your iPad, download the
boring speech. Reader’s Digest app.

rd.com | 04•2015 | 147


WORD POWER

Answers 6. languid—[B] sluggish or weak.


1. hookah—[C] smoking pipe. Gerry By three in the afternoon, I am too
found a shop downtown that offers languid to think about anything but
supplies for his antique hookah. coffee and a couch.
2. platitudes—[A] trite sayings. 7. ungainly—[B] clumsy or awkward.
Our coach offered a dozen peppy Is it me, or is he the most ungainly
platitudes like “No pain, no gain.” mime you’ve ever seen?
3. welter—[A] toss among waves. 8. livery—[B] uniform. The butler’s
Heading for shore, Karyn stayed rumpled livery made him a prime
focused on the buoy weltering in suspect in the disappearance of our
the distance. dinner host.
4. lory—[B] type of parrot. Mitch 9. antipathies—[C] feelings of
set off for Australia to study and dislike. I’d say there were some
photograph the lory in the wild. mild antipathies between the two
5. impertinent—[C] rude. “Would it speakers at the city hall meeting.
be too impertinent to point out that 10. will-o’-the-wisp—[C] mislead-
I can hear you snoring six rows back?” ing goal or hope. You might follow
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the will-o’-the-wisp of bipartisanship 12. griffin—[A] monster with


regarding the new law, but you’d wings. Felix was fascinated by the
be foolish. illustrations of the griffin in his
11. sally—[C] witty remark. Aside mythology book.
from the occasional sally, the 13. cravat—[B] scarf-like necktie.
sportscasters had little to offer. I’m going to the party as James
Bond—would he wear a cravat?
A PUZZLE FROM 14. hansom—[A] horse-drawn
WONDERLAND carriage. The producer of Cinderella
Here is one of Lewis Carroll’s was troubled by the plan to transform
small riddles in rhyme. the hansom into a pumpkin onstage.
Can you solve it? 15. sagaciously—[A] wisely. The
Dreaming of apples on a wall, critic sagaciously pointed out the
And dreaming often, dear, logic holes in Tara’s dense first novel.
I dreamed that, if I counted all,
How many would appear?
VOCABULARY RATINGS
dreaming “[of ten], dear.”
Answer: Ten would appear, as he is 9 & below: In a hole 10–12: Quick-witted
13–15: Wonderful

rd.com | 04•2015 | 149


Liz Vaccariello Editor-in-Chief | Chief Content Officer

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For information about our digital editions, go to rd.com/digitaleditions.
Humor in Uniform

I WAS WORKING in Army security stopped, turned around, and glared


when a VIP from another base called at the airman.
to ask to whom he should address an “Thanks for coming back for me,”
important letter. Knowing my tough- the airman said, jumping on the back
to-spell last name would give him fits, of the scooter. “Airmen’s mess, sir.”
I said, “Just put down Sergeant Gary, SAVITA SINGH, N o i d a , In d i a
as my last name is too hard.”
The next day, I received a letter SOMETIMES I THINK war is God’s
addressed to Sgt. Gary Toohard. way of teaching us geography.
G. C., v i a m a i l C o m e d i a n PAUL RODRIGUEZ

MY FRIEND, an Air Force officer, was


Got a funny military anecdote? Double-
riding his scooter when he passed an time it over to us—it might be worth $100!
airman who didn’t salute. My friend See page 7 or rd.com/submit for details.

ILLUSTRATION BY JON CARTER rd.com | 04•2015 | 151


Quotable Quotes
THE BEST WAY TO BE
MISSED WHEN YOU’RE
Nobody looks
GONE IS TO STAND FOR crazy when they’re
SOMETHING WHEN
YOU’RE HERE . having fun.
S E TH G O D I N , a u t h o r AMY POEHLER

THE DAY THE LORD CREATED Until I feared I would


HOPE WAS PROBABLY THE lose it, I never loved
to read. One does not
SAME DAY HE CREATED love breathing.
SPRING. B E R N WI LLIAM S , p h i l o s o p h e r HARPER LEE

FROM TOP: ESTHER HORVATH/GETTY IM AGES. RAY TAMA RRA/GETTY IMAG E S.


If you are not yelling at your kids,
you are not spending enough
time with them. R E E S E WITH E R S P O O N

LIBRA RY OF CONGRESS/S CI ENC E FAC TION/GETTY I M AGES


If you really want to CHOP YOUR
do something, you’ll OWN WOOD,
find a way. If you
don’t, you’ll find an AND IT WILL
excuse. J I M R O H N , WARM YOU
motivational speaker TWICE. H E N RY FO R D
Reader’s Digest (ISSN 0034-0375) (USPS 865-820), (CPM Agreement# 40031457), Vol. 185, No. 1109, April 2015. © 2015. Published monthly,
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152 | 04•2015 | rd.com


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