Dying to Know: When Will I Die?

Curiosity about death is commonplace among humans. Call it morbid amusement, tempting of the fates, or sound estate planning . . . wondering about the date, time, and cause of your demise is like skipping to the last page of the book. You just want to know how the story ends.

Biology class gives us a head's up on the role genetics plays in our life spans. If your mother, father, aunt Lucy, uncle George, and the grandparents before them all grew to ripe old ages, you're likely to be predisposed to do the same.  Of course, the choices you make every day can make a dramatic difference in how long you're going to be around.

If you're looking for longevity, you can up your odds by getting enough sleep, eating a decent diet, choosing exercise over lounging around, and avoiding people and things that bring you down. These very concepts crop up in life expectancy calculators all across the Internet. If you want to locate one of these final farewell forecasters, just access a major search engine and type in something like "When Will I Die." You'll be presented with all kinds of quizzes, tests, and surveys that can quite unscientifically estimate your expiration date.

Even if you're not remotely interested in launching a countdown, some of the interactive grills are mildly amusing. Who wouldn't have some fun responding to a question like

If you were to fall and break your pinky finger, what would you do?

  • Nothing, it will eventually grow back. Right?

  • Cry, that helps sometimes.

  • Make an appointment with a doctor.

  • Go to the emergency room.

Or how about

Can you juggle knives?

  • Yes

  • No

Most of the "more serious" death date calculators focus on your habits and relationships, with inquiries that range from how often you floss your teeth to how much fruit you eat daily, whether you practice safe sex to whether you drink and drive, how many hours you work each week to how many hours you snooze each night. Household income is brought up now and then, along with whether you practice meditation, own a dog, or consider yourself lucky or optimistic.

Answer all the questions, hit Submit, and you're treated to all kinds of gripping graphics and insightful information. At least one site not only states your personal date of death in day of the week, month, and year, but also invites you to watch the remaining seconds (typically, in the millions) tick by on the "Death Clock" — reminder enough that time's a'wastin'!