By Stephen Ainley
Well, now I am really depressed. In a massive show of advancing old age, I woke this morning to find a giant hair growing out of my right ear. It was definitely not there last night, I know, because I do an inventory every evening just in case there has been a spontaneous regrowth on my head during the day. I was reading in National Geographic where that happened to a man in Tajikistan. Evidently, he had been bald for fourteen years, then one morning, he woke up looking like Mick Jagger, but obviously with smaller lips.
Anyway, that’s not important, but I woke with this huge hair hanging down to my shoulder; I know I should be pleased; it’s been a long time since I had shoulder-length hair. This growing old business is a bit strange; you lose the hair on your head, and yet you get something, not unlike Van Gogh’s paintbrushes protruding from your ears and nostrils. What’s that all about?
Another thing is that happens, are you get all sorts of strange aches and pains in places you did not realize existed, this gets worse and worse as you get older until when you are extremely old, you can be just having a chat with someone, and you pull a hamstring in your lip.
According to the Bible, the oldest person who ever lived was Methuselah; he apparently lived to be 969 years old. Imagine the aches and pains he must have had, and what about the body hair situation? It must have looked like he had a mink coat hanging from each nostril. Now I know it would be nice to live to an old age, but 969 is a bit much to me. I think the biggest problem for Methuselah would have been planning for his retirement. I’m pretty sure that the life expectancy in those days would have been about fifty, so his plan was probably to retire at forty-five, buy a campervan and tour around the Middle East and then spend his remaining years in a Retirement Village by the Dead Sea. But instead, what happened? He just kept on living. The government was getting really annoyed with having to keep paying his pension for hundreds of years. His social life was a disaster, mainly because of the difficulty of meeting people in his age group. When he was 700 years old, he married a young girl of 308, but it was not a success. Anyone will tell you that a 400-year age gap in a marriage is just too much. She still wanted to go to parties and disco’s, whereas he was having trouble getting out of his Jason Recliner.
Also, when he was about 60, he thought to himself, “it’s not worth buying any new clothes; surely I can’t last much longer”. Consequently, he was wearing the same outfit for about 900 years, with the only consolation being that about every twenty-five years, it came back into fashion.
Another obvious problem would be your memory. I mean, I’m already starting to forget things, so I would imagine poor old Methuselah spent the last 800 years of his life trying to recall where he parked the campervan.
Finally, a piece of advice for anyone planning to live to this type of age, be careful what name you choose. Compared to Methuselah, I am just a young lad in peak mental condition, yet I could only spell “Methuselah” by looking it up in my “Bumper Book of Really Old People with Weird Names”, so I would think something like “Joe” or “Don” would be favourite.