Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Annals of Age Defiance

For today, two stories from the annals of age defiance. They might or might not be related, but they do have a certain conceptual synergy.

The first offers some good advice and some incentive. Regular exercise will make you younger than you are. Seventy-year olds who do serious aerobic exercise for many years have heart and lung capacities that are equivalent to those of healthy people two or more decades younger. Regular exercise will shave years off of your age… or some such thing.

The New York Post reports the good news:

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology has determined that septuagenarians — folks in their 70s — who have been exercising regularly for decades are about as strong and have the heart and lung capacities of healthy people in their 40s.

“Exercise wins is the take-home message,” says lead author and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University Dr. Scott Trappe. “We saw that people who exercise regularly year after year have better overall health.”

Your humble blogger has been touting the virtue of exercise for years now. He is always happy to report on news that supports his views.

And then, synergistically speaking, we skip to the case of the Dutchman named Emile Ratelband. The 69 year old went to court to change his age to 49. After all, isn’t age just a social construction. He has the physical capacity of a man two decades younger… or so he says. Besides, he ventured that a reconstituted 49 year old would get more job offers and more Tinder dates. And, don’t you know… the value of your life is defined by how many Tinder dates you have.

So, Ratelband took his case to court. You will be saddened to hear that he lost. The Washington Post reports:

So he should be left to legally determine what age he feels, he said, calling into question the very concept of time.

“What is time? Time is just a figure,” he said. “I say it’s not fixed.”

An Arnhem court ruled in favor of the fourth dimension.

“The court recognized that there was a trend in society for people to feel fit and healthy for longer, but did not regard that as a valid argument for amending a person’s date of birth,” the court said Monday, denying his request to change his birth date from March 11, 1949, to March 11, 1969.

If gender is just a social construction, why isn’t time just a number? Duh?

The court ruled against him:

Ratelband failed to substantiate claims of age discrimination, the court ruled, and suggested there are alternative means to pursue justice for potential discrimination.

He is free to act whatever age he feels, the court ruled.

“But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications. The priority must be to ensure that the public registers contain accurate factual information."

According to the court’s reasoning, modifying his date of birth would erase two decades worth of records from the public record. It says that the nation has a vital interest in preserving accurate facts.

Besides, why should the privilege merely be limited to Ratelband? And why should it be unidirectional. What if other people assert the same privilege? What if a 49 year old insists that he has the body of a 69 year old and claims Social Security benefits? What about a 29 year old? What would Ratelband say then?


Anonymous said...

I found the objections of the court rather thin. In the case of transgenders, no one starts correcting the past and registering a parent as 'mother'instead of 'father' or vice versa. One might simply add 1969 as Ratelband's reborn date and all would be solved ;)
Some of the examples given by the court were absurd. For instance, everyone in the Netherlands in the age bracket 55 - 75 is invited every two years to taak part in the screening for bowel cancer. With a new date of birth, Ratelband would get his invitation at the wrong time and the court suggests that the screening would be pointless and a waste. This does not hold water because participation is voluntary and everyone can opt out at any time. Also, Ratelband and his docters may decide to do a private screening. The same applies to the obligatory health test at 75 for the driver's licence that the court mentioned. The man is a health freak! That is what got him in this spot in the first place.
Meanwhile, in the real world, there are thousands of persons whose real age is not the one on the records. This includes everyone who arrived in Europe on a false passport. This also includes people from African countries were birth certificates are made up for various reasons. Usually to appear younger than they are, because this comes with many benefits like education. They will miss out on the bowel cancer screening at the right age, they will drive their cars well into their eighties without screening, and they will have to work till 75 before they get an old age pension, that is, if they work at all. And in those cases, none of the authorities give a damn about anything that the court sees as problematic in the Ratelband case.

Dr. Irredeemable Dreg said...

"The man is a health freak! That is what got him in this spot in the first place."

No, that's not what got him in "this spot" in the first place.

Sam L. said...

I accept my age. I'm kinda used to it by now.