Tag Archives: J.D. Ratcliff

Memory Lane: ‘I Am Joe’s Whatsis’

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All the different households in my family subscribed to Reader’s Digest. All those great long-running series–“The Most Unforgettable Character I’ve Met,” and “Life in These United States,” and of course their Book of the Month, condensed for a quick read.

Of all these well-known features, can you guess what was the most popular Reader’s Digest series ever–with over 7 million reprints sold? (No, it was not “Dating Tips for Babbling Jidrools”–that wasn’t even in Reader’s Digest.)

RD’s all-time popular series was “I am Joe’s Body” by J.D. Ratcliff, 33 articles, each focusing on a particular body part belonging to hypothetical Joe, the most frequently examined human on the planet–“I am Joe’s Heart,” “I am Joe’s Kidney,” and so on. I remember reading these in the 1960s. Well, heck, a lot of people read them! Including some who were fired up to become doctors when they grew up.

The essays were later collected into a paperback book, “I Am Joe’s Body,” currently available on amazon.com. Y’know, I think I’ll get it for Patty for her birthday.

And yes, there were a lot of bawdy jokes made at the expense of this series–but I like to think they were made affectionately.

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