This is fiction.
Scientists are trialling a suite of life-affirming placebo dangers to perk up listless middle-life men.
A disproportionate number of men around 50 try to rekindle the devil-may-care attitude of their youth by taking risks which lead to harm.
Motorbike accidents among middle-aged men rose by nearly two thirds in the years since 2013 thanks to this phenomenon, for example.
“We can now treat men going through this common ‘kamikaze phase’,” says Dr Tracey Compton of MomentoMori. “A wake up call is all that is needed to restore balance.
Forcing people to confront their mortality rather than maintaining a state of denial has been found to reduce people’s appetite for risk taking, Dr Compton explains.
To deliver this jolt Dr Compton’s clinic offers patients a range of worrisome medical adventures. “We do everything from heart palpitation to testicular cancer. ”
“I was absolutely bricking it,” says Eric, who was given the impression he had a dangerously clogged carotid artery as part of secret 56th birthday gift from wife Jane.
“I was quite peeved when the wife first told me it was a wind up, but I was so relieved I wasn’t dying I forgave her,” says Eric, who dropped paragliding for gardening.
Relatives can choose from a range of placebo health crises, all guaranteed reminders that life is short enough as it is, without finding new ways to end it early.
“A convincing simulation of impending doom takes patients on a journey, leading most to the firm conclusion that they probably best playing safe,” said Dr Compton.
The cutting edge technique has caused some rifts, she admits, when patients are not as understanding about the well-meaning prank as Eric.
“The strange thing is that we have also had several repeat customers,” says Dr Compton. Eric told Untrue he would be keen to repeat the experience.
“I can’t say I enjoyed the experience, exactly, but I did come out feeling more alive than before.” ■