Methuselah was an old fart in the Bible . . . in fact, he was the oldest fart in the Bible . . . approximately 969 years. Now, that is old! I guess I shouldn’t complain about being a sprite 56 years old! I only know one person even close to that age who lives in Michigan, and I doubt if he would even admit to being anywhere close to that age.
It seems that we are all chasing Methuselah . . . chasing that mythical age of never aging. In the most recent issue of Health—a magazine I would never subscribe to if it weren’t for the free points to purchase it for nothing—there was a quiz about determining one’s real age to figure out one’s life span . . . and, basically how much longer one had before kicking the bucket. There were fourteen questions about habits and tendencies that gave a number of points . . . you answered the questions, received a score that was divided by ten, and whether it was a plus or minus score you added it to your actual age. Now, if it was a positive it added years to your actual age to let you know how many years your gluttonous living had shorten your life span. If it was a negative number it subtracted years off of your age to tell you how many years you had added to your life span. Pretty depressing stuff . . . I broke even . . . in fact, I probably cost myself ten minutes of life taking the stupid quiz.
The first question dealt with the body mass index . . . basically wanting to know how much of a person’s body was made up of fat. First of all, I doubt if the majority of the human race even knows what their body mass index number is . . . I had to look mine up from my recent health screening . . . and, it was not pretty. Second, I doubt if most people are going to be honest about their body mass index number . . . as humans we have a tendency to lie . . . we knock it down to a smaller number. I really scored poorly in this area . . . added about ten years to my age. Suddenly I was sixty-five and had the urge to retire.
The second question had to do with drinking habits . . . yep, I drink. That should have been good enough, but no . . . they wanted to know the frequency . . . how many drinks a day. That added a couple of years to my age . . . now I was thinking about moving into assisted living . . . as long as they let me bring a few six-packs of Montana microbrews.
The third question had to deal with how people handled stress . . . did folks have people they could share their stress with. Heck! I’m an introvert . . . add another couple of years to the death toll. At this point I felt the urge to knock at the door of the local nursing home. The quiz was stacking up the points of my longevity quicker than I could add them up. I wasn’t sure at this point I wanted to continue the quiz . . . better to admit defeat and live under the illusion of ignorance about the longevity of my life.
Question four dealt with the amount of red meat that people eat . . . how often was the main emphasis. Thanks to my wife . . . who seems to want to make me healthy with lots of chicken and salmon . . . who only allows me red meat about two times a week . . . I was able to keep the damage down. I was slowly climbing out of the pit . . . there was hope as I ate my steak.
Education level was the fifth question. Apparently the higher one climbs up the educational ladder the longer his or her life will be. Shoot! With this one I knocked off five years to the death notice I was working on . . . I wanted to cheat as I had a couple of graduate degrees, but the quiz wouldn’t let me.
Question six dealt with support in times of crisis . . . again, I am an introvert. What the heck is support. Luckily I could answer that yes, despite my protests, there would be a small group of people who would come to my aid. Of course I would curse them, but being a nice guy I would accept whatever they offered . . . and, I would secretly wish that they hit the road and leave me alone. I scored a big zero in this category . . . nothing gained, nothing lost.
Community involvement was the basis of question seven. I am not as involved in the community as I should be, but I do the best that I can. The minor involvement I put into the community actually knocked another year off of the death sentence . . . or at least the prelude to death.
The next question killed me . . . knocked me on my butt. It had to do with moderate to vigorous exercise . . . like in how often does one do moderate to vigorous exercise. None of the choices in the quiz really reflect what I actually do . . . I am not of the exercise fanatics, but nor am I one of the great couch potatoes. They suggested adding five years to my life . . . this really killed the momentum I had been building . . . as Bob Marley and Bob Dylan both elegantly sang, I was “knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.”
Number nine dealt with smoking . . . I have never smoked. Now this was a category I thought I could make up for lost ground. Having never smoked I thought I would gain at least a decade . . . but, no! For having never smoked I did not get to subtract any points at all. What a bummer! I could have smoked and only lost a few points . . . and, for all of my good behavior I get a great big zero! Hand me a cigar!
Ten reflected a normal menu . . . what does one typically eat? First of all, the choices they offered were of foods I would not regularly eat . . . heavy on the chicken. Unless chicken is deep fat fried with the skin on . . . well, I will have to choke it down. The closest they came to my ideal meal was a burger and dessert . . . I will take the burger, but skip the dessert. This one threw a couple of years to my death sentence . . . Ol’ Methuselah was well beyond my reach. I think I had slipped on climbing out of the burial tomb.
I had no problem with the next question as I do not drink coffee. Of course, this did not add or subtract anything to the tally. It was a moot point . . . I think it was the bottle water industry that lobbied hard to get that question added to the quiz.
Sleep was the next question . . . yes, I do sleep. No, I do not sleep enough to make a major difference, but I did knock off a couple of years. Which was good because the next question dealt with sex. First of all, it is really none of anyone else’s business . . . second of all, a gentleman does not kiss and tell. Needless to say, this did not add or subtract to the death toll. Rumor has it that Methuselah had a whole bunch of concubines and that it really added up the years . . . I think it killed the ol’ fart. It is hard enough to please one woman, how in the world did he please a harem full of women! I guess, at the age of 969 years old, it finally killed him . . . it wore him out!
The final question dealt with the longevity of relatives . . . did any relatives live to a long life? Well, I really do not know. Both of my parents died around the age of seventy . . . but, outside of that, I really do not know. Always being younger than most of my relatives I always figured them to be old . . . as in ancient. Now, whether or not that was the truth . . . I do not know. So, all I could answer was nope . . . nope was good for nothing. Nada.
Tallying up the score from the quiz, divided it by ten, and then adding or subtracting it from my actual age . . . well, I came out as to being my actual age. Imagine that! I was pretty much the age I actually was . . . OLD! Old, but alive!
I do not imagine that Methuselah has to worry about this individual catching up . . . I doubt if I live anywhere close to the age of 969 years of age. Long ago I predicted that I would only live to the age of fifty-five . . . I am now a year beyond that. I guess I am not a very good prognosticator when it comes to things such as predicting one’s life span. Yet, at the same time, I must be pretty lucky . . . I have already beat my prediction by one year! I am still alive and well . . . there is something positive about not seeing one’s name in the obituaries.
It seems fruitless to pursue Methuselah . . . ain’t ever going to catch him. Yet, at the same time, I rejoice in beating my youthful prediction . . . of already being a year older than I thought I would ever be. Life has been, for the most part . . . great. I have witnessed a whole lot of blessings . . . I have related to a whole lot of people . . . and, I have been able to grow thorough it all. I have been blessed . . .
The question now is . . . how much longer? I do not know. All I know is that I must reach out each and every day to count my blessings . . . there has never been a day that I could not rejoice in the graciousness and love of God. There has not been a day that I have not been blessed. I may not be the oldest fart . . . but, I am an old fart . . . just call me Methuselah, Jr.