There’s a new Highlander in town—and this one is a very old lady who pounds enough Miller High Lifes to go along with the moniker.
Photo via Flickr user Michael Summers
"Take a breather, Christopher Lambert."
It's no doubt a phrase he's heard countless times whilst treading the boards with such iconic and inspired performances as the bamboo-hat-clad Lord Rayden or the heroic Tarzan, the titular "lord of apes." Well, sorry to say so, Chrissy, but it seems to be time to take a break once again.
Because there's a new Highlander in town—and this one pounds enough Miller High Lifes to go along with the moniker.
I am rambling about Agnes Fenton of Englewood, New Jersey, who just celebrated her 110th birthday on August 1. OK, she may not be immortal, but Fenton is what is known as a "supercentenarian"—those who have lived to be 110 years old or more.
Fenton was born in 1905. That's the year the Russian Revolution started, Albert Einstein completed his dissertation, and the Wright Brothers flew a plane that actually stayed in the air for 39 minutes.
The Gerontology Research Group keeps a list of people verified to be 110 years old or greater. Robert Young, the director of the organization, told New Jersey's Record that he believes there are around 600 supercentenarians in the world. Dr. Thomas Perls, founding director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University School of Medicine, says it's more like 360 in the world—out of the 7 billion humans on the planet.
Many have made it their mission to find out what it is that keeps the very old going when the rest of us sputter out so much earlier. Author Dan Buettner, for example, has written a few bestselling books focusing on so-called "blue zones"—the places in the world with the highest disability-free life expectancies: Italy's island of Sardinia; Japan's Okinawa; Monterrey and Nuevo Leon in Mexico; and Loma Linda, California. He found that the people who live to be very old tend to eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and go light on meat. You know, pretty standard healthy fare.
But then, there is the rogue, nametaker that is Agnes Fenton of the Garden State.
Fenton claims God is the reason she is still alive. Well, that and the three Miller High Lifes she drinks every day. Oh yeah, then there are also the whiskey shots. (I think we all know who is doing the real heavy-lifting here.)
Fenton reports that after her only serious health problem, her doctor—who must either be one of the wisest sages who ever lived or a deep-undercover alcohol lobbyist—told her this: "Agnes, you must drink three Miller High Lifes a day." Where are doctors like this when I need them?
She added a shot of Scotch every day for good measure. Her preference? Johnnie Walker Blue. Take that, Big Pharma!
Incidentally, I didn't realize it was possible for me to instantaneously fall in love with someone more than quadruple my age, but you learn something new every day. Seriously though, our lager-saturated affair is going to be a hell of a lot like Harold and Maude.
And my new fling? She's got it going on. After all, there are perks to being a supercentenarian besides, you know, being alive for a very long time. Fenton has received birthday greetings from President Obama and New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The town she's from proclaimed Saturday "Agnes Fenton Day." Her bank even celebrated her birthday. Fenton has full-time nursing care and some neighbors and local firefighters drop by to visit from time to time.
Still, when a local reporter asked Fenton how she felt on her birthday, she replied, "Lousy."
Oh well, you can't ask for everything when you live to be 110. That is, unless you can find a discount liquor warehouse that delivers, or a deal at a maraschino cherry factory.
Keep on shining, Agnes.
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