Al Batt: Find a glove each year for 100 years and you’ll live 100 years

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

I find things.

Al Batt

Sometimes I find things funny.

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I can’t find things, too. I couldn’t find my camouflage socks.

Sometimes I find things I can’t find funny.

I found a glove the other day. I’m keeping it in case I find one for the other hand. My mother bought mittens for me and put them directly into my grade school’s lost and found shelf. Family legend said it was a rare day when I came home from school with even a single mitten. I never thought I’d lost any mittens, I’d merely misplaced them, but that’s a matter of semantics.

Not long after my big glove find, I sent a birthday card to someone turning 100. I wondered if that person had been a chronic loser of mittens when in elementary school.

The New England Centenarian Study by Boston University’s Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine found the prevalence of centenarians (people aged 100+) in the U.S. population in 2021 to be 0.027%. I’m going to go with those 2021 numbers because I’m too lazy to count 100-year-olds as they scurry about. In 2021, drivers in Minnesota received 1,225 citations for driving over 100 mph. None of those drivers were over 100 years old.

How do you live to be 100? Everyone has an opinion, but no one knows for sure other than you need to keep breathing.

There is a Tibetan proverb that says, “The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.”

The length of a life can be foreshadowed by habits, personality, fitness, work, health, family, friends, routine, heredity and Lady Luck. Hank Williams sang, “I’m not gonna worry wrinkles in my brow ‘Cause nothin’s ever gonna be alright nohow No matter how I struggle and strive I’ll never get out of this world alive.”

Walking keeps people going and available healthcare is important. When the veterinarian looked at our cow herd, my father had him look at me. The vet told him I was as healthy as a horse.

Years ago, I watched an accomplished cigarette smoker blow impressive smoke rings. I knew him a little, not a lot, and when he walked over to say hello, we howdied but we didn’t shake. In the ensuing conversation, he shared the fact he smoked two packs of Camels each day. I told him those were world-class smoke rings, but he should quit smoking. A characteristic shared by most humans is the readiness to offer unsolicited advice to reform others and make them more like us. He appeared as shocked to learn that as he’d have been to learn his toaster wasn’t waterproof. He asked why he should quit something he was good at. I told him it’d be good for his health. He’d live longer. He told me that his uncle lived to be 96.

“I’ll bet he didn’t smoke two packs of Camels a day,” I said, as any wisenheimer would.

“No,” he answered. “He minded his own business.”

My Aunt Edith lived 105 years, 8 months and 13 days. She never once told me it was going to rain because her joints ached. She lived through the 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and a man walking on the moon. She wasn’t a member of a gym, owned no exercise equipment and was a picky eater. There were 12 kids in her family and they used forks as weapons at the dinner table. No wonder her appetite never ran wild. Yet, she never passed up a piece of pie. She was an avid reader and a constant learner who had won the genetic lottery.

The easiest way to live to be 100? Lie about your age. When you turn 40, tell everyone you’re 41 and add another year at every birthday, making you 43 when become 41, etc. You’ll get to 100 when you’re around 70 and still able to drive after dark.

Once you’re 100, you can butt ahead of everyone in any line by using the excuse you didn’t notice the line.

I wish you a happy 100-year, 1,200-month, 5,218-week, 36,526-day or 876,624-hour birthday one day.

You’ll be getting a glove from me — maybe two.

Al Batt’s columns appear in the Tribune every Wednesday.