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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Healthy Living

‘Hello Mr Olden. Thank you for letting me interview you for BBC news.’

‘No problem, son.’

‘You are England’s oldest man, at one hundred and eighteen years.’

‘So they say.’

‘To what do you attribute your longevity?’

‘Well, it’s probably down to a number of things. For example, I’ve never exceeded my maximum recommended daily alcohol intake.’

‘Research certainly shows that must have contributed to your long life.’

‘I suppose it did. But then all my friends kept getting rat-arsed and having a better time than I did. I was always too sober to let myself go. Also, I was always the driver.’

‘Did you follow other healthy lifestyle guidelines?’

‘I maintained a strict vegetarian diet.’

‘Statistics show that would have added eight years to your life.’

‘I hate soddin’ vegetables. I don’t know why I did it.’

‘Ah… I also gather you never succumbed to un-prescribed drugs.’

‘Even when my friends were stoned out of their heads and having the time of their lives… I must have been bonkers.’

‘Er… Let’s move on to your exercise regime?’

‘Oh yes. A five mile run every morning; a two mile swim every evening. Never missed a day.’


‘I loathed it. My psychiatrist said it was driven by an underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder. I couldn’t stop myself.

‘I see… What about sexual restraint?’

‘I saved myself until marriage, and then Mavis and I did, well you know, every three months. I was never unfaithful.’

‘Despite the dreadful moral example that I gather was set by your friends?’

‘They were all swinging, and screwing anything that moved… I wish I’d joined them… What stopped me?’

‘Um…You were happily married for fifty-five years?’

‘I should’ve ditched the frigid old bitch and shacked-up with the au pair.’

‘Er… After one hundred and eighteen years of healthy living, do you have any advice for our viewers?’

‘I wish I’d got regularly pissed, stoned on dope, scoffed yummy grub, lazed around all day and screwed as often, and in the variety of ways, that my friends did.’

‘If you’d have done all that, you might have died thirty years ago.’

‘It's true that all my old friends pased away thirty years ago, but I would have died happy, with them. For the last thirty years, I’ve just been surrounded by the tedious healthy living brigade, banging on about diet and exercise. George next door was a real lifestyle zealot. He probably would’ve lived to be older than me.’

‘What happened to him?’

‘Well, I suppose I can tell you, now. It’s too late to make any difference. I got so sick of him evangelising about his lifestyle that I killed him last week. He’s buried under the patio.

‘I see… I think I ought to be leaving now… Do you have a final message for today’s young people from your long experience of healthy living?’

‘I certainly do. Ignore it. Do what the hell you like… No one lives for ever, and life’s not a soddin’ longevity contest.’

‘Er… Thank you Mr Olden. Good night.’