Monday, August 28, 2006

Mills of the gods

Short Lived Title

The problem with being the world's oldest person is that you don't hold thge title very long. Maria Esther de Capovilla died this weekend, just a little short of 117. She lived in Ecuador. The new oldest person in the world is also 116. her names is Elizabeth Bolden. she lives in Memphis, Tennessee. The real question is, does the world's oldest person ever really know that they are the world's oldest person ? I doubt it. Or, if they do, they probably only know it when told each day, and then forget it.

Ms Capovilla was born the same year as Adolph Hitler and Charlie Chaplin, so to get an idea of her age, she could have been in a trench with Hitler in World War One, and making silent movies with Chaplin, and not as a child actor. Maria was already of drinking age when World War One ended. She outlived Hitler by over 6o years (although, in fairness, Hitler killed himself) and Chaplin, who lived a very long life, was outlived by almost 30 years. Can you imagine that ? If you are 86 years old and still have 30 years to go ? She was around for the first car. My Grandfather lived to see the first airplane and then saw men land on the Moon. She was a teenager when the Wright Brothers went up, and only 80 when men walked on the moon, 37 years ago. Less than half of the people living on the earth (a lot less than half) were alive 37 years ago.

But now the crown passes to Ms. Bolden, and the proud peoiple of Memphis, but for how long ? Jeanne Louise Calmet, who dies almost 10 years ago, lived to be 122. That certainly gives Ms. Bolden something to shoot for. Madam Calmet was the oldest person ever documented.It is going to be tough,I don't know what a Life Insurance Comapny would say about the life expectancy of a 116 year old. I suppose it depends on whether she smokes or not. Senora Capovilla did not. She did drink a small glass of wine every day at lunch. Probably about half an ounce a day. Of course over time that adds up. If she drank the half ounce every day for 95 years (after she turned 21) she put away well over 130 gallons in her life. Imagine you are pumping gas into your car, only the pump holds wine instead. You'd have to gill up a 15 gallon tank almost 9 times to equal Senora Capovilla's wine intake for lunches. That does not count dinner or wild Ecuadorian New Year's Eve parties, ringing in 1900 AND 2000 ! I'm sure she did a few shots on those nights.

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