How to Get Ridiculously Old, According to the People Who’ve Done It

I hope you like smoking
How to Get Ridiculously Old, According to the People Who’ve Done It

Society will biohack its way to eternal life rather than go to therapy, so we often look to those crowned the oldest people in the world for the secrets to beating back the grim reaper. Unfortunately, they usually can’t offer much more than a shrug and the suggestion of a nice walk now and then, and it’s become abundantly clear by studying these people that your lifespan is mostly a draw from the genetic Uno deck. That’s especially obvious when they do give advice, which is often awesomely reckless.

Weekly Fish and Chips

When 111-year-old John Tinniswood became the oldest living man in April 2024, he was explicit that, though he lived a generally healthy lifestyle, he considered his longevity to be mostly a product of luck — and weekly dinners of deep-fried fish and potatoes. In other words, being British.

Bacon and Napping

Before Susannah Mushatt Jones died in 2016 at nearly 117 years old, she was the oldest person in the world. When asked her secret, she claimed she didn’t have one outside of “believ(ing) in the Lord,” but her lifestyle was unusual. She slept 10 hours a night and napped throughout the day and ate four slices of bacon every morning before squirreling some more away to eat later. That would probably kill us in about four days, so it’s possible she was a superhero.

Cigars and Singing

Until 2012, Christian Mortensen held the record for the longest lifespan of a man at 115 years, but he was no health nut. In fact, he famously enjoyed cigars. On his final birthday, he told the assembled, “Friends, a good cigar, drinking lots of good water, no alcohol, staying positive, and lots of singing will keep you alive for a long time.” Based on our friends’ reactions on karaoke night, we can’t in good conscience agree.

Raw Eggs, Cookies and Being Single

After Jones’ death, Emma Morano became the oldest living person at 117 years old, and they were all hard-earned. In her youth, she was basically married at gunpoint to a man who threatened to kill her if she refused, and she credited leaving his ass and staying single as the secret to her longevity. She also cited her weird-ass diet of raw eggs, recommended to her by a doctor who diagnosed her with anemia as a teenager, and cookies. Again, this would hospitalize us after 12 hours.

Smoking, Chocolate and Screaming at god

The oldest person who ever lived was Jeanne Calment, who was 122 when she died in 1997 and probably would have disagreed with Morano’s assessment. Her secret was a rich husband, because it turns out never working a day in your life does wonders for your stress levels. Until the day she died, she smoked cigarettes after dinner, drank wine every night and ate two pounds of chocolate every week. She also spent every morning “loudly ask(ing God) the reason for her longevity and why she was the only one to be still alive in her family.” 

Calment was proof that eternal life might not be the blessing it seems, but if you get it, living like Lucille Bluth is a good way to spend it.

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