Column: He’s 111 and he’s talking more sense than most stories about people living to an old age

Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.
Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.
The UK is the proud home of the new holder of the World’s Oldest Man title. This is a win at a time when we’re told we’re too obese and sedentary. We must be doing something right, says comedian and writer Steve N Allen.

John Tinniswood is the world’s oldest man at 111. It’s gender specific as the world’s oldest person is mainly a woman.

It’s the one area where there would be push-back at biological women identify as men competing. It’s not often the controversy is that way round.

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John says he isn’t too bothered by the title. I understand why. It’s one you only get when someone of your approximate age has just died, which is hardly something to celebrate.

It’s also a title that you only lose one way. Put it this way, it’s a title for life.

Normally news stories tell us about the world’s oldest man or woman and they ask the OAP for their secret to living so long. They don’t have a secret. It wasn’t something that set out to do. No 18-year-old has their eye on the title.

Nevertheless the old person will say they have a drink every day or they enjoy a good fry-up and the newspapers make it seem like that is scientific evidence: “See, this old person smokes cigars and lived to 111, ergo smoking cigars is good for you.”

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These stories ignore the other evidence that’s out there of all of the millions of people who also smoked cigars and died in their 50s or 60s.

Newspapers prefer the narrative that these old people prove medicine wrong. They want to say, “Don’t listen to so-called experts. This guy had red meat seasoned with methamphetamine every teatime and he lived to 100.”

The plot twist this time is that John Tinniswood does not smoke and rarely drinks alcohol.

I’m amazed the newspapers even mentioned him. No one likes people who rarely drink.

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He was officially named the world’s oldest man by the Guinness Book of Records. I bet they’re furious. They’ve got stout to flog.

John is a great-grandfather from Merseyside. If the people from Guinness have just left could you send them back. I think most people in Merseyside are great-grandparents by 36, so he might be getting his second record of the day.

The final word should go to John who said his secret to longevity is ‘pure luck’, adding ’you either live long or you live short, and you can’t do much about it.’

He’s 111 and he’s talking more sense than most stories about people living to an old age.

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