Punch Drunk 

Jack Defies the Genetic Lottery

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Want to live to be 100? Well now you can.

For the past 50 years, scientists at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg have followed the lifestyles of 855 men born in 1913. They say that they’ve determined the main factors that contribute to prolonging or decreasing one’s lifespan.

Only 10 of the 855 men taking part in the study lived to be 100. Unsurprisingly, the universal commonalities were avoiding cigarettes, staying thin by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and limiting coffee intake. Genetics and financial stability also played a role, with all of them having mothers who lived a long time. These men also owned their own homes by the age of 50.

While broad strokes like no smoking, eating healthy and genetics are well and good, there must be other factors that influence longevity. It can’t be that easy, right?

While not officially licensed or trained or even knowledgeable on the rudiments of the subject, I’ve always fancied myself an expert on the aging process. Hey, I moisturize nightly and use SPF-50 at the pool. I don’t smoke (unless I’m drinking or it’s the weekend) and I even take vitamins (sometimes)!

That being said, here are my tips for hitting the century mark:

  • Avoid these places: Countries over active fault lines, war zones, highways, near or inside of moving vehicles.

  • Frequent these places: Your crawlspace, former missile silos turned bomb shelters, Air Force One.

  • Avoid most cellular-damaging free radicals by living in a bubble.

  • Find a higher power. Having something to believe in is important. It gives you a sense of purpose in a world that sometimes is bereft of hope. You know, things look so bad everywhere. In this whole world, what is fair? We walk blind and we try to see. Falling behind in what could be. Bring me a higher love. Bring me a higher love. (I’ve found that listening to Steve Winwood is a good substitute for attending church.)

  • Use Nerium. Surely you’ve seen friends pitching this snake oil via Facebook. You probably scoffed and considered blocking that person too, but I have a little secret for you: It actually works! This is the multilevel facial cream marketing scheme that you’ve been waiting for! Now just send me a certified check for one thousand dollars and we’ll get started.

  • Don’t trust modern medicine with its fancy machinery and “science” and “antibiotics.” Most of it’s unproven, wallet-sucking hooey.

  • Do trust cheaper alternatives such as holistic shamans or the power of denial. You’re not sick — you’re just weak!

  • Don’t trust 99 percent of the anti-aging tips and secrets you read on the Internet. Most if not all of these websites are just shills for some crappy product.

  • Do trust guys who have their own columns in your city’s alternative weekly.

  • If you must smoke, smoke Kools. You’re telling me that a smooth, refreshing pull off a Kool is bad for you? Yeah right. Next you’re going to say that the effervescent effects of a fresh wad of Timberwolf Long Cut don’t promote sinus health!

  • Drink a bottle of red wine a day for the flavonoids, which reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Doctors say a glass of red wine is really the optimal amount, but that’s merely a suggestion — sort of like the dosing guidelines on a bottle of Lorazepam.

  • Be happy. Stress is the silent killer. Reduce it by not having a job or responsibilities of any type.

Or maybe it’s all a shot in the dark. Realistically, if only 10 of 855 men made it to 100, then what chance do you have? And this study was in Sweden! The biggest problem facing most Swedish men is bicycle theft.

My grandfather, a D-Day vet and lifetime smoker, lived until he was 93. To my knowledge, he didn’t concern himself with aging and its effects. He worked, he provided, he made mistakes and he lived his life. Meanwhile, young people in perfect health routinely contract cancer and die for no reason whatsoever.

I guess the point is, wake up every day being thankful, try to do your best and don’t do anything overtly bad for your body. And who knows? You might get lucky.

Always wearing a football helmet and a layer of Kevlar is a good idea as well. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at @jackgoesforth.

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