How this cute little goat played a part in the wildest Q&A in Ask Marilyn history,
For 30 years, Marilyn vos Savant has been a steady resource for Parade readers who count on her weekly Ask Marilyn column for answers to their pressing questions and who enjoy her tricky Numbrix puzzles. But vos Savant, 70, gets just as much out of her work as readers do. She admits that through her column she has become a trusted friend to readers who write to her often, sharing their lives, their concerns and, of course, their burning questions about everything from why we’re sleepy in the afternoon to where our planets are located.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., in 1946, vos Savant knew early on that she was different from other kids. In fact, it was after she took two intelligence tests at age 10 that it became clear that her IQ resembled that of an adult, not a child. She was listed five times in The Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest recordable IQ for both children and adults.
Upon arriving in New York City in the mid-1980s to pursue a career as a writer, she was hired by Parade, which led in Novem- ber 1986 to the weekly column that’s been beloved by readers ever since.
So what has answering reader questions meant to this New York City writer, wife of Robert Jarvik (one of the developers of the Jarvik artificial heart), mom of a son and daughter and grandmother of two teenagers? Ultimately, it’s been a unique chance to connect with intellectually curious superfans from all over the world and to exercise her brain.
“The connection I have with my readers is one of the things that keeps me sharp,” she says. “I think with some of them, I’m the only one they have to tell things to. People write as if they know me personally. I feel that I know them too, because I know what’s going on in their lives.”
And, no matter the decade, one question seems to dog her readers most.
“People will write me and ask, ‘Out of all the religions in the world, which one do you think is correct?’ ” she says. “A question like that I could never answer.”
Vos Savant has noticed changes over the years. “The late ’80s
“The goal is to make a lightbulb go off over readers’ heads so that they feel that ‘I got it’ feeling. That makes everybody feel great.” —Marilyn vos Savant