Theory 106… The Longevity Theory

Last October I made a trip up to my Grandparents house in Idaho. Upon arriving I went downstairs to drop off my bags when I immediately realized something was different. It took just a couple of seconds to detect an awkward silence permeating throughout the basement. The gentle rumbling noise that I had become accustomed to every time I had visit grandma’s house was gone… I soon discovered they had finally gotten rid of their Frigidaire freezer … which had died after 66 years! That’s right… 66 years!

Some things in this world are supposed to last for decades… a Frigidaire appliance is not one of them. For that matter… I don’t know of anything mechanical in nature that is supposed to last that long. My grandparents didn’t even buy the Frigidaire freezer – they were young teenagers when it was purchased in 1945… and only inherited it after they were married several years later. The most amazing thing is that Grandma’s Frigidaire ran continuously for virtually its entire life! Sometime in the late 1970’s it hiccuped and they thought they’d have to replace it – but they decided to call a repairman… who came out and fixed a minor problem for something like six dollars. Turns out the trusty old appliance lived on for another 30+ years providing all sorts of ice cold goodness. Pretty freakin’ amazing!

I’ve always been intrigued with longevity. Want to know one of the most interesting pages on Wikipedia? Check out the article on SUPERCENTENARIANS where you’ll read about Besse Cooper – the worlds oldest living person right now at the age of 115. Besse is one of approximately 300-400 living people who have reached the age of 110 years. These lucky people were actually alive when Adolphe Chailet designed a certain light bulb… which has been burning continuously at a firestation in Livermore, California since 1901. Here we are 110 years later and I must have bad luck with light bulbs… I’m lucky if they last a year or two. Then again… some might define unlucky as living to the age of 110 years old, watching all of your friends pass away, then outliving your own children. Pretty freakin’ amazing!

When I think about my own life… I’ve had a few personal possessions that are “hall of fame” worthy when it comes to longevity. I bought a pair of Nike socks that lasted from July 1995 until sometime in 2002 (I’m guessing most people’s socks don’t last for 7 years). Sometime in 1997 I purchased a long sleeve Tommy Hilfiger shirt that I wore regularly for something like 6 years…. it seems like I was wearing it in virtually every picture taken of me during that phase of my life.

Sure… everybody has a collectible of some sort they’ve held onto since they were a kid… but those don’t really count in my book. To be considered for the longevity hall of fame an item can’t be stuck in some cedar chest for decades… it has to be used regularly… and actually be a part of your life. So what’s my winning “hall of fame” possession? With out a doubt it would have to be my Sony Dream Machine Alarm Radio, which was given to me on Christmas Day of 1988. Over the last 23+ years, my Dream Machine has been there for me every morning… whether I’ve wanted to see it or not…. heck… it even looks new to this day!

My little alarm radio has given me this false impression that Sony’s are somehow indestructible… which I’ve learned (by sad experience) is not the case. Still… 23 and counting for a little electric clock that I use every day… pretty freakin’ amazing… that is until I wake up in the morning and wander over to the fridge… where I’m reminded of Grandma’s Methuselah Freezer. My Dream Machine has only 43 more years until its longevity will eclipse Grandma’s Frigidaire… which is exactly half the number of years I’ll need to live if I’m to surpass the all time longevity record of 122 years. Whoa!