This month I have been feeling my age. It feels slightly wobbly around the middle and ever so slightly sparse on top. My muscles are softening, my arteries are hardening, my bones are becoming more brittle and my capacity to write fluently and grammatically is not was it what.
I cannot claim to be as sanguine on the subject of ageing as ex-Wolves footballer Steve Bull, quoted this week as saying that he would be happy to live to half the age of former England goalkeeper Bert Williams, who turned 90 on Sunday. Bull is 45 next month. I am more like Woody Allen — I want immortality, not through my work but through living for ever.
So how do you get to live forever — or at least for significantly longer than three score years and 10? Well, the most simple and effective way to achieve longevity is to move to Kensington and Chelsea. It may not be the most haimishe of boroughs but people who reside there have a longer life expectancy than anywhere else in London. My advice to homeless people is take their cardboard boxes to the royal borough — it will add years to their lives.
However, there are problems with living in Chelsea. It is expensive, so the difficulty of keeping up repayments would cause me stress — and stress is a killer. So would the positive effects of life in Kensington and Chelsea offset this? I’m getting stressed thinking about it which has reduced my life expectancy by five minutes already.
Never mind, at least I can drink more alcohol. Again, perhaps not the most Jewish solution, but recent research indicates that drinking substantial amounts of alcohol affords protection against heart disease. However, although I will be less likely to die of heart disease, I will be more likely contract cancer, liver disease and my brain will deteriorate even further.
So I need to decide what I am more likely die of and act accordingly — a stressful decision to make, particularly given that I haven’t even moved out of Enfield yet.
Still, at least I’m not a bus driver in Glasgow. Bus drivers have significantly higher death rates than people like me in white collar occupations, and Glaswegians spend a significantly shorter time on the planet than the rest of us.
On the minus side, I am eating too much. There seems to be a growing body of evidence that if you want to live to an extraordinary age, you need to spend a significant part of your life being very peckish. Calorie restricters believe that by limiting yourself to 700 calories less than is commonly accepted as healthy, you slow down the ageing process — well, it works on mice and fruit flies anyway.
The downside is the fact that you have to pack nutrition into every ounce of food you eat — which means wheatgrass cocktails, kilos of alfalfa sprouts and brown rice by the bucketful. Calorie restricters also eschew fried food, roasted food, eat very little red meat and practically nothing in the way of cake. Oh, and there’s no smoked food or white bread, which rules out salmon bagels.
Hmm, death by chocolate is sounding more seductive by the minute.