The newscaster announced that the Creek Nation's oldest living member had just died at age 110. She was born in 1900. Pretty amazing.
Question: How often are the "hyper-generians" not the person they claim to be? How often is it a much younger person who has assumed their identity?
I am always skeptical when I hear the 105-year-olds discuss their lives -- especially the ones who claimed the secret to their longevity is hard living -- drinking, smoking, gambling, eating pork fat, donuts, deep-fried American cheese? They could get the requisite skinniness through bouts of anorexia and bulimia. Why not consider at 75-year-old imposter? Even a 50-something pretending to be an 80-something?
I'm sure it's been attempted, especially if there are entitlement payments in the mix (pension, headrights, oil and gas revenue, etc.).
Where there's money, there's mischief afoot.
If I were compelled to pretend to be a 110-year-old, what would I do?
First of all, I wouldn't do it. I would not pretend to be an 80-year-old, either. Not worth it. I don't want to have the conversations I'd be expected to have -- boring historical ramblings and an invented personal landscape. The alternative would be to feign dementia or Alzheimers. That would be a fragile defense against being exposed as an imposter. It would make me too vulnerable. Before I knew it, I'd wake up to find myself in danger of having my own identity snatched from me, and an imposter installed in my stead.
It's only tangentially related, but the idea of a person pretending to be a super-annuated citizen who has, in fact, passed away, in order to get her Social Security check, pension, and any other dividends or royalties that might be coming her way seems to have incalculable psychic consequences to the person who decides to shove their own identity and reality off to the side in favor of a secure income stream.
What ever happened to "to thine own self be true?"
I suppose the person who is willing to rebirth themselves is somehow dissatisfied with their personal reality.
Don't they realize it means they will never see their existing friends, family, and colleagues?
I guess it's considered the sweet end of the deal, if their life is really so bad that they must go down that path.
Perhaps they're old enough that they've lost everyone anyway and the person they're impersonating was their only remaining relative -- a mother, etc.
Who knows. Seems lonely, and not as regenerative or as materially secure as it might look to the person who is idly contemplating it.
Which leads to My Ten New Year's Resolutions:
1. Be true to myself. Play more. Buy more toys. Translation: get involved in high-tech and very visionary educational / literary projects that challenge me on at least three or four levels.
2. Enjoy what I eat, and eat what I enjoy. Slow down, sit down, and don't wolf it down while standing up. I'm not a cow (yet).
3. Record more podcasts -- audio and video. Continue to interview e-learning innovators. Ask them to provide a video -- 2-minutes average time -- hosted on youtube, which I can embed.
4. Write a children's book. Do not center it around vampires, werewolves, zombies, luisons, or other undead, unless the publisher absolutely insists.
5. Set savings goals; reduce my overhead. Achieve the savings goals. (In other words, set them low).
6. Transform the workplace, make the world a better place. Think of solutions to hamster-wheel jobs and hamster-family workplaces. Do what I can to help people prepare themselves for jobs that have a chance of resulting in something. Who wants to think that their only thrill in life is seeing how many sunflower seeds they can pack into their cheek pouches? It is important to take the high road. Don't become a hamster mommy or daddy who emerges from its shredded Kleenex nest with a hunk of newborn hamster baby tail hanging from your mouth. Be nice to your co-workers, even if it is difficult. It's all about overcrowding and overpopulation. Why else would the hamster mommy or daddy eat its young, live spawn the very night they're born? Sometimes the cage is too small, the cube farm is too cheek-to-jowl and invasive. Help people spread out.
7. Warn the world of the danger of exotic pets. An African black mamba is not a good pet. Don't encourage genetic engineering and the development of such aberrations as glow-in-the-dark anacondas.
8. Watch more film noir.
9. Assume a relaxed, passive position when my loved ones are speaking to me. They will think I'm listening and have acquired (finally, after all these years!) an ability to hear what they're saying -- and-- more importantly -- accept it. I know in my heart of hearts that I have not (and cannot) acquire that ability. It's better to learn how to mentally multi-task. I can mentally rerun what I'm choreographing for fun dance routine, or visualize tennis and the serve I'm trying to learn.
10. Develop a new character to draw as I illustrate the children's book I intend to write.
Meta-Goal: Smile, chant, pray.