Written by Frank Cotolo

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Sunday, 30 May 2004

When Edwina Edwondozo, ninety-six years old, was asked her secret for longevity, she replied: "It was mainly due to getting off the Titanic after it hit an iceberg."

You may laugh at her reply, (especially since it was later learned she was never on the ill-fated ship) yet someday you may be asked the same question. Especially if you live to be in your nineties or more. Certainly few people will ask you that at fifty or even sixty. Anyway, how will you respond when someone inquires, "What is your secret for a long life?"

The answer given by most very, very, very, old people is a common one. They usually say that they found something to do. Late life activities are important.

At sixty-three, for instance, John Wayne won his first Oscar. A recent survey showed that many people in their seventies and eighties are feeling vibrant and alive because they are waiting to win an Oscar.

Konrad Adenauer was elected chancellor of West Germany at sixty-three, and won re-election the final time at age eighty-one. The same study shows that while older people are waiting to win an Oscar, they often visit Germany and other foreign countries filled with zest at the possibility that they, too, may still have an opportunity to run those countries.

There are also people you may have never heard about, people like Henry Montrose, who took up golf in his late fifties and made the Guinness Book of World Records when he scored a hole-in-one at the age of 93. Even though it was an accident and his handicap had been over two hundred throughout his golf experiences, he got in that book. And, yes, the study also showed that more people are living longer because they feel they could be in Guinness’ book no matter how old they become.

“Age is only important if you want it to be,” said one respondent to the survey. “I've seen people washed up at twenty-seven, and I've seen people really start to live at sixty-one,” said another. Here are some other comments from the survey’s respondents, along with their ages.

“What’s it matter if I cannot pee any longer? I can see the bowl.” –E.D., 89

“My eyes open in the morning and there I am, wrinkly, in pain but raring to don my parachute,” –R.R., 93

“I don’t wanna die! Please! I’m afraid!” –Y.T., 100

“Get me something to eat. Something soft and mushy.” –W.R., 101

“Some day I will rule the world and when I do I will rid it of all imperfect people and mangy dogs. I hate those dirty beasts. What time is it?” –A.V., 93

“I love life. I just wish it were longer and easier to live.” –E.S., 84

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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