7 Old People Who Gave Retirement the Finger
Some of us can't wait until retirement so we can park our asses on futuristic hyperchairs all day, yell at kids who are jet scooting on our hoverlawns and quietly wait for death or the end of the world (whichever comes first). But there are some senior citizens who aren't quite ready to give up just yet. These old people not only have more ambition than most of us despite being well past their prime, but they're also doing jobs most of us wouldn't even begin to consider.
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An 80-Year-Old International Jewel Thief
Let's say you work security in a jewelry store and the proprietor lets you know that a very expensive diamond ring is missing. The only customer who looked at it was a tiny old woman who merely wanted to try it on. It may interest you to know that you've just fallen victim to one of the most prolific international jewel thieves in the world.
And that's why you should always tear gas the elderly whenever you encounter them.
The jewel thief in question is Doris Payne, and she is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for the theft of an $8,900 diamond ring. But larceny is nothing new for Doris; she's been doing it almost every month for the past 50 years.
Payne's method was very slick. She would dress as a fancy, well-off woman and head to the jewelry store. Using her charm and good looks to confuse the clerk, Payne would ask to try on many different pieces, often causing them to forget how many items they had taken out. In the confusion, she would shift the rings from hand to hand and then finally declare that she'd "think about" the purchase and leave, becoming a few thousand dollars richer in the process. The clerks wouldn't discover that they were a ring short until after Payne had left the store.
Wheeling out just ahead of an incredibly slow-moving explosion.
Payne traveled the world, stealing from shops in Paris, Greece, England and Japan. Sometimes she got caught, but most times, she didn't. In fact, she once MacGyvered a diamond from its ring setting when she was in custody and sewed the diamond into her girdle, which prevented authorities from finding the stolen merchandise. She was eventually profiled, and a major search for the jewel thief went into effect.
Wanted: Al Capone, Grandma ...
Still stealing as recently as 2010, Payne has stated that it's not even about the money anymore, but about seeing just how much she can get away with. We're not the only ones to realize just how noteworthy this story is, either: Her life will be the subject of the upcoming film Who Is Doris Payne? starring Halle Berry.
(The one on the left.)
Really, Hollywood? Who Is Doris Payne? Not No Payne, No Gain? OK. Your loss.
Frank Evans, the 69-Year-Old Matador
Of all the animals a person could choose to fight, bulls are, of course, one of the most dangerous. They usually weigh about a ton, have two extremely sharp stabbing weapons on their heads and are built like brick shithouses. If you're going to go one-on-one with one of these monsters, you'd better make sure you're spry and agile, and have balls of steel.
And a rectum of mithril.
With the precise timing needed to be a bullfighter, it's no surprise that the average age of a matador is around 25 to 30. Enter Frank Evans, who's slightly older than that. To be precise, he's 69.
"Yer grandmama was tougher than you! I know this to be a fact!"
If we're going to discuss just how badass some old folks can be, we really need to break down Frank Evans' life. In a time when the title of "matador" was awarded only to fighters from Spanish-speaking countries, Evans decided he would go for it anyway, despite being very, very British. This would work out in his favor, as he earned his title and became known as El Ingles, the first top-level British bullfighter in the world. He was eventually ranked number 63 out of some 10,000 bullfighters worldwide.
His methods include self-deprecation and fatal doses of sarcasm.
Frank did consider retiring a few times. He had a minor setback when he was forced by his doctors to leave the ring for knee replacement surgery. During that time, doctors also realized his heart was in big trouble. After quadruple bypass surgery and a titanium knee replacement, Frank did what anyone recovering from serious surgery would do: He started fighting bulls again.
"I used the leather from the bulls to make my face."
Now, as he nears age 70, Frank says he still plans to be a bullfighter -- a sport that has injured and killed men less than half his age. When asked why he continues to do what he does, Evans says, "There's a 98-year-old man who runs marathons. If he can do that, I can fight a bull."
Frank is of course talking about ...
Fauja "The Turbaned Tornado" Singh
It sucks to get old. Your back begins hurting and your knees have a tendency to give out on you. It's hard to keep up with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Menial, everyday tasks become harder and harder to do, until you actually need a device to assist you in the simple chore of walking.
And the not-so-simple chore of pants selection.
Which makes it all the more natural that Fauja Singh, when he was a mere lad of 81, decided that his ninth decade on earth would be an absolutely bitching time to take up a career as a world-record-setting marathon runner. With Matlock's cancellation looming, it was really the only logical choice.
Nicknamed "The Turbaned Tornado," Singh has spent his later years not on the porch with a pair of slippers and a walker, but in a pair of sneakers, running marathons all over the world.
We guess his beard kind of looks like a tornado.
Singh was born in India in 1911. If your math skills aren't up to snuff, that makes him just a shade over 100 years old. The Tornado is the near record holder for the oldest marathon runner in the world. We say "near" because Guinness can't grant him the record spot without a birth certificate -- something that unfortunately didn't exist in India in 1911. He was born before birth certificates, and he's run more marathons than you. That's just wild speculation, but hell ... prove us wrong.
People speculate that he's actually a 25-year-old woman in a charity costume that got slightly out of hand.
The Guinness snub is not enough to keep Singh out of his running shoes. He currently runs every day with his elderly gang of joggers called Sikhs in the City.
"I'm Carrie!" "I'm the sex-obsessed one!" "I'm gonna poop myself if we don't stop!" "I'm the red-haired one!"
After completing his first marathon at age 89, Singh devoted his life to the sport. He has since run in eight marathons and even plans to run in the Torch Relay at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.
So what's your excuse for not jogging today?
Hershel McGriff -- NASCAR Driver at 84
When you think of NASCAR, you automatically think of fast cars, fast drivers and Danica Patrick in a bikini soaping up her stock car.
This is a legitimate sport that deserves our attention and respect.
You don't tend to think at all of senior citizens. Since the track is reserved for those who want to go really, really fast, NASCAR racing requires a careful combination of speed and safety. So in a time when the fastest speed many seniors drive is however quick their Rascal scooters can go, NASCAR racer Hershel McGriff cuts a different image.
"I don't know if it's possible to outrun death, but someone's gotta try, dammit!"
The average age of your typical NASCAR winner is about 33. McGriff is 84. Having kicked off his racing career in 1945, during the pioneer days of stock car racing, he's raced on and off in the nearly 70 years since. And what have you accomplished today, again?
McGriff raced for NASCAR in 1954 and finished the year off with four wins under his belt. In 1967, after more than 10 years off, McGriff returned to the track. At 40 years old, he decided to show the younger crowd how it was done by finishing in first place after starting in the 41st position.
He hasn't quite mastered the smash-through-the-side-window-feet-first trick yet.
And he wasn't done yet. In 1989, McGriff snagged the record of oldest driver to win a NASCAR race at the ripe old age of 61. In 2002, he was the oldest NASCAR driver on record ... a feat that was only broken seven years later, when McGriff got back behind the wheel at age 81 and finished at a very respectable 13th, shattering his previous record when most people his age are shattering their hips.
And guess what? As of this past summer, McGriff is still freaking racing. At 84 years old, he's surpassed every old driver you've been stuck behind on your way to work, and still places in the top 15 in his races. With no plans to quit anytime in the near future, he's secured his place as the old guy who makes your driving look slow.
Eat my Metamucil, d-bags.
Ernestine Shepherd Will Kick Your Ass
Getting the body you want is hard work. Some people are happy with just eating right and going for the occasional walk. Some like to bulk up and show off their bodies at the beach. But if you needed an excuse to start being healthier, look no further than Ernestine Shepherd, who, in her mid-70s, looks like this:
Some say we have the body of a 30-year-old, too, and then they call the police.
What looks like a bad Photoshop is actually a very toned and muscular 75-year-old body, which belongs to a grandmother and former couch potato from Baltimore. After trying on swimsuits with her sister about 20 years ago, Ernestine looked at herself and determined she was just not happy with her body.
"I won't stop until I have a septuplapack."
Deciding that life isn't worth living if you can't pass for a co-ed at the age of 56, she chose to do something about it. What followed was 20 years of Shepherd kicking the shit out of old age by bulking herself up and becoming a regular on the Musclemania circuit. She is now in better shape than most people in their 20s, and could severely hurt and embarrass any mugger who tries to steal her purse.
"Oh, that's cute. Go on, sugar. I'll give you a head start."
The elderly super grandma can now bench press 150 pounds, which is 20 more than she weighs, and runs 10 miles every day before lunch. Can you bench more than your weight? Moreover, can your grandma lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk without snapping like a twig?
Shepherd has gone on to win several bodybuilding championships, and currently works as a personal trainer and a part-time model. In 2010, Guinness World Records officially granted her the title of oldest competitive female bodybuilder. As a big fan of the Rocky movies, her idol is Sylvester Stallone, whom she would love to meet someday. It's really sad to think that, while she's over a decade older than Stallone, she could probably lay his ass out on the curb with no problem whatsoever.
"Stop or my Mom will destroy you."
Joseph Scalise and Arthur Rachel's Last Jewel Heist
It's been said that if you're good enough at something, you should never stop doing it. That seems to be the case for Joseph "Jerry" Scalise and Arthur "The Genius" Rachel. Back in the '80s, they were arrested and found guilty for stealing the 45-carat Marlborough diamond from Graff Jewelers in London. A diamond which, to date, has never been recovered.
What's a "diamond"?
The pair were imprisoned for 13 years, and were released in 1993. After becoming crime-life consultants for Hollywood, many thought the pair had turned from their old ways. That proved not to be the case when the two friends, now both 73 years old, planned a major heist of a former mob boss' compound in 2011.
The elderly duo met inside a van to work out their upcoming crime spree. In it, they discussed their plans and even came up with a way to not be recognized as old people when Scalise suggested that they "Put on a black sweatshirt with the hood up and baggy pants and blast. Then run up the block. They'll think it's a kid."
"Wait, you mean this isn't how kids dress nowadays?"
Everything seemed to be in place, and the planning was almost finished. The downside? The FBI got wind of it and planted a bug in their van, allowing the entire conversation to be recorded. The pair and a third accomplice were arrested. Scalise and the accomplice pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, and Rachel opted to go to trial. Given their history, we would have to imagine they would have succeeded if it weren't for those meddling FBI guys.
The lesson here? Never stop doing what you love.
Dr. W.G. Watson -- 15,000 Deliveries in 100 Years
In February of 1910, a baby by the name of W.G. Watson was born. A century later, Watson went into work at 6:30 a.m., did his rounds and then celebrated his 100th birthday among his friends and co-workers.
Go to the store and get some candles. All the candles.
While most doctors hang up their stethoscopes and head for the golf course around age 60 or so, Dr. Watson has been going strong at his practice since the 1940s. This makes him the oldest practicing physician in the United States.
"Curly" Watson is currently the head of the Women's Center at Augusta's W.G. Watson Women's Center. Yes, he is the head of the department of the building that is also named after him. Watson graduated at the top of his class at the Citadel in 1931 and started in the medical field in 1947, and he has since delivered somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000 babies, which is somewhere around 290 babies per year for the past 55 years. Among the babies he delivered are several patients who have been seeing him regularly every year since their birth.
This makes the Rocky statue look like a pile of garbage.
Now entering his 102nd year, Dr. Watson still crawls out of bed in the morning at 6 a.m. to make his rounds at the nursing stations and operating rooms. Even though his eyesight is diminished and he's got a nasty case of arthritis, he still has no plans for retirement.
"Don't worry about Death. I'm pretty sure he's given up."
Erik Germ is the owner of hugefrigginarms.com and would love for you to follow him on Twitter. Many thanks go to Eric Yosomono, who helped with research for this article.
For more old folks who give us the willies, check out 6 Old People Who Could Kick Your Ass. Or learn why they act the way they do in 6 Obnoxious Old People Habits (Explained by Science).