Back in September of 2013, I wrote about a gentleman in Bolivia named Carmelo Flores Laura who, at age 123, was believed to be the oldest living human being. Not only that, he was widely-considered to be the oldest non-Biblical human being ever.
Yeah, well he’s dead now. So there.
He died on June 9, 2014, shortly before his 124th birthday, but long enough after my post about him so I don’t think I jinxed him. I don’t know how he died; I suspect he got hit by a bus. The point is, the title of oldest living person is now up for grabs. Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Michigan, born in 1899, may be next in line for the throne, which is good, because when you’re 116, you probably can’t stand in line too long. Jeralean was still bowling at age 104, although she was likely finding it increasingly difficult to bowl her age.
The thing is, old-timers like Jeralean and 116-year-old Gertrude Weaver of Camden, Arkansas (pictured at right) aren’t competing to be the oldest person, although I bet if they got into the ring together it would be a hit on pay-per-view. Or maybe CBS could do a super-geriatric version of Survivor where everyone just kind of stands around and waits for the others to die. This probably would not be a hit, unless they had challenges, like which team can gum their way through a wild boar steak first or a walker relay race on the beach. (Jeff: “Oh, no, and all the competitors have toppled over!”)
Sorry–I got sidetracked there. What I’m attempting to say is that people like Jeralean and Gertrude aren’t trying to get older; they just keep waking up every morning. To paraphrase George Burns: They read the obituaries over breakfast and, if their name isn’t there, they go on with their days.
Ray Kurzweil, on the other hand, is really working at it. He would sincerely like to live forever or, failing in that, manage not to die for a long time.
Ray (pictured at right looking somewhat less excited about life than Gertrude) is an executive at Google, so he can easily search for the oldest people around the world and then spy on them to see why they’ve lived so long. Through this research, he has come up with the following regimen:
He eats berries, smoked salmon, mackerel, and dark chocolate for breakfast, along with 30 pills. He then eats healthily for the rest of the day and pops the other 70 pills, which consist of supplements for heart, eye, sexual, and brain health.
And while we know how Kurzweil intends to live well into his hundreds, we do not know why. I mean, is life really worth living if you have to eat chocolate-covered mackerel for breakfast every day?
Of course, what with Kurzweil being a Google executive and all, we might assume he has access to the sort of creature comforts that can put a little joy into his life. Even if he lives forever, he probably won’t outlive his 401k.
And if Kurzweil does end up having an unusually long life, people will want to follow the diet he’ll inevitably publish. Then he or someone else will begin selling pre-packaged crates filled with the pills you have to take every day.
“Yes, just go to http://www.kurzweilspills.com to order. Then, once a month, we’ll deliver a cargo container with 3,000 pills, each day’s dosage pre-packaged in the kind of sack previously reserved for top soil. For safety, each pill comes in a child-proof wrapping so that you can use every minute of your extended life opening your pills. Order now and get a free Android smartphone preset to beep when it’s time for your next pill…at least until you smash it against the wall for beeping every 15 friggin’ minutes!”*
In case you don’t want to wait for that special offer, here’s what you need to do if you intend to see the 22nd century:
- Be very wealthy so you can afford 100 pills a day.
- Drink lots of water because how else are you going to swallow all those pills?
- Work for Google so you can have a self-driving car that won’t get into accidents.
- Have a high tolerance for disgusting food combinations.
- For Pete’s sake, lay off the Cheez Doodles.®
See you soon.
*Immediately after writing this paragraph, I wondered if Kurzweil had already published his program, and of course, he has. Then I wondered if he might already have a website where you can buy his pills, and you probably won’t find it at all difficult to believe that he has. In fact, he actually does sell pre-packaged daily pills, such as the “Anti-Aging Multipack” ($86.75 for a month’s supply), although the site doesn’t appear to offer a package of all his supplements. I’m 61 now, which means I’d have to spend over $40,000.00 on the Anti-Aging Multipack just to live as long as George Burns.