Death is like paying a bill – you know you have to pay but put it off for as long as possible.
As a result we as a species are somewhat obsessed with longevity.
I am somewhat bemused by this. I don't want to live forever. I imagine it would get tediously boring after a while and that is assuming I maintain the physique of a thirty year old. In practice, the older we get, the more we tend towards being a drooling incomprehensible heap in a wheelchair which doesn't strike me as a particularly great ambition. There is also the small matter of financial support – if pension funds suddenly found themselves having to provide a living wage for an additional fifty years the system would quickly collapse.
Yet gubmints everywhere are doing their level best to force us into Homes for the Ancient and Bewildered. We must live longer they scream, and introduce Nanny Laws to force us down that path, even though that requires those extra years to be dull, colourless and humourless and ultimately utterly dependent on others.
Whenever the meeja finds someone who has survived for a particularly long time, the love to descent on the poor wretch and ask the same old question – "to what do you attribute your longevity" [or words to that effect – tabloids tend to be more monosyllabic]? The poor wretch is then expected to tell us that they never took salt or sugar, and of course never smoked or drank. Doubtless if they do confess to being a fast food junky on sixty fags a day then the story won't reach print. It's a fucking stupid question anyway, as these people just lived their lives without any quest for beating old age. It's like asking me why I wasn't run over by a bus yesterday.
A Japanese woman was asked how she lived to be 117. She replied "Well, I don't know" which the reporter remarks is a "refreshingly honest answer" which shows that the reporter was actually expecting one of the usual trite and probably dishonest answers.
These people don't know how they lived so long. It was something that just happened. It was helped a lot by genetic makeup, possibly diet and definitely an infinite number of other variables which just happened by random chance to lead to a long life. Most likely it is genetics. It could well be the climate. It could indeed be down to diet. I could point out that the Japanese [known for their longevity] have an 83% higher smoking rate than us poor sods in Ireland [they rank 17th in the World of smokers while we are at a paltry 53rd place]. I would tend to believe that it's just one of those things with no answer.
In a way, I hope I do live to 117, or at least long enough to be asked that inane question.
I shall reply that I smoked, drank and ate what I liked and my secret is that I enjoyed myself. And then I shall add as an afterthought that I had sex with a donkey every day and that that is the real secret [I didn’t, but they don’t know that].
I could die happy knowing that my legacy to the world was a generation of donkey shaggers.