on Jul 17, 2007
Last weekend one of my gaming buddies and I were talking about surgery. I have surgery coming up this weekend and we were comparing notes. One thing we both realized was that both of us would have died before we were six if not for modern medicine. He had his appendix out at five. My life more or less depends on medication to keep my asthma under control. I’ve had several life-saving trips to the hospital due to severe attacks in my lifetime.
I’ve mused on this sort of thing before, but since we were about to play D&D in a fantasy setting my mind was on it again. In the medieval times people got married at ages that would scandalize us today. They began having sex at a young age, and continued to do so without birth control for their entire lives. Women cranked out babies at an alarming pace, yet the population remained flat. Run those numbers in your head and it becomes clear that people who lived to adulthood where a small minority of the total number of people born. Their lives were bleak, harsh, and filled with death. They died of things that are trivial to fix today.
I wouldn’t have made it. Asthma would have killed me. If that didn’t get me, the infection I had at 20 would have done the job.
My dad would have died six months before I was born.
My mother would have died a few years after I was born.
My friend wouldn’t have made it. He would have died of a burst appendix at five.
I think my brothers and my sister would have made it. (Ignoring the fact that two of them were born after my mother would have died.)
How about you? How long would you have lived in the middle ages? Ignore all the general risks – like typhoid or the plague or cholera – that everyone would have faced in general. Let’s assume you were lucky and missed those. (Unless by some chance you actually DID face one of them in your life.) Also ignore the fact that your deadly injury might have been caused by modern technology, like an auto accident. Just pretend you were trampled by a horse or something. So, given the injuries and illness you’ve faced in your life so far: Did you make it? Would you have survived to your current age?
|I don’t want to go on the cart!|
I’m curious to see the responses on this one. If you like, post your results to your blog (I’ll link back) and pose the same question to your readers. If you don’t have a blog you could always use the comment gizmo below. I hear it works pretty good.
(ADDITIONAL: To answer goblinpaladin’s question below, yes. Let’s assume we didn’t die in a flood, or a famine, or get worked to death, or die in a war, or anything else like that. Let’s just go with what’s happened to us in our modern lives. For a lot of us, even that is enough to kill us.)
The tally so far:
|On The Cart||Pulling The Cart|
Steven Den Beste
Delta Force Leader
Corsair (Don’t be such a baby!)
Attorney At Chaos
Melfina the Blue
Rev.Dr.Blacky Thanatos Roach
gomi no sensei (Pulling with gusto!)
Skeeve the Impossible
Jack of Spades
Purple Library Guy
A further thought: I should have made three columns for our list above: On the cart, Pulling the cart, and Beggars. A lot of so-called cart-pullers up there are missing limbs, very ill, blind, or otherwise not up to performing their cart-pulling duties.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.