Questions We Ask the Oldest People

Can you imagine reading a story like this about yourself?

A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized as the world’s oldest living man…

Asked how he felt about the record, Momoi pushed his back upright and said he wants to live longer.

“Say, another two years,” he said.

Momoi said he enjoys reading books, especially Chinese poetry, and sometimes practices calligraphy.

He said there is no special trick for his longevity, but his caregivers say Momoi keeps early hours and eats healthy, according to NHK public television.

It’s always the same pattern with these wire stories:

Oldest person, do you think you have long left?

I hope so, like most other people I do not want to die.

Oldest person, what are your hobbies?

I have some, I wish I had started more. I wish I had started a lot of things.

Oldest person, what is your secret?

Sleep, eating well. Do those count as secrets? Surely not. My friends did these things too and they are all gone, now.

You were alive during [war] and [major event in world history], and before [technology].


Oldest person, thank you for your time, my job is done and yours is too. I’ll talk to your family right after you die!

Thank you, too. Now I must reckon, privately and in public, with the fact that I am the oldest man on Earth and still know nothing.

I think I would skip my turn, if possible.