A Moment of Science

Squares Rule

You exercise regularly. You eat right. You go to that check-up instead of putting it off, and even watch your cholesterol level. Heck, you should live for a hundred years, at least!

Wait, there’s one thing you may have forgotten. You may have forgotten to be a square.

A long-term study conducted from 1942 to the present suggests that squares have the last laugh.

“Squares” was the somewhat rude but good-natured term used for people who have consistent, if perhaps a little bland, emotional lives. They never get depressed, never abuse drugs or alcohol, don’t smoke, stay married to one partner for life.

So-called “distressed” subjects did any or all of these things. Of course there was a spectrum of behaviors to look at, but the results were pretty clear. The closer you get to being a square, the longer and the healthier your life will be.

For example, by age 75, 38% of the “distressed” folks had died, while an intermediate group of moderately stressed people had lost 25% percent of their number. Squares were still going strong, though, with only 5% having died. Not only that, their hearts and their lungs were in better shape than those of stressed folks.

Of course, you can’t draw absolute conclusions from one study. There are lots of questions to be asked here, like what exactly did the distressed folks die of, and why? So, keep up the exercise and keep down the cholesterol,  but if you really want to live long, you’d better stop being so cool. Squares rule.

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