Bringing the Text to Life
“A wandering mind.”
That’s the reason travel writer Jan Morris gives for the number of scars on her body that are the result of several falls in locations around the world. Writing in a national newspaper last year, she said, “The sad truth is, I have been falling over for years. I have tripped, slid, toppled and collided with lampposts on several continents, often because I am reading a book as I walk, or contemplating a distant skyline. I carry with me always the scars of a wandering mind.”
She goes on to tell the stories of several of her more memorable falls, including one in 1953 when she stubbed her left big toe so hard on an ice block on Mount Everest that every five years since the toenail has come off.
It turns out, however, that Ms. Morris may be mistaken about the reason for her falls. While inattention to where one is going can certainly contribute to toppling over, a recent study in Japan of fallers suggests other factors at play. In that scientific study, the researchers...