Wednesday night my buddy, Jamie Duffy, killed himself. I got up early today and wrote a piece about all the people I have known who killed themselves, one way or another. From the gassy deaths of Jeff Ward and Jim Ellison to the cocaine and food fueled system failures of Darryl Pandy and Buddy Miles, it made for a really long article. Also depressing as hell. And while it was cathartic for me, I couldn’t think of three people I could lump together who would be able to make it the whole way through without yawning. So I set it aside and did some Googling. And I found stuff. Good stuff. Some of it even funny. For example, Sandusky Ohio launched a tourism campaign. In it they have a link that takes you to Twitter for all things related to #Sandusky. A great idea if there wasn’t a very famous, alleged, pedophile with that name. So whenever people clicked the link they would get a screen full of kiddy porn references. Which, as it turns out, wasn’t really what the Sandusky tourism council had in mind. So they killed the ad. Forgive me for pointing out that, even in Ohio, they have newspapers and TVs and the Sandusky trial has been a major news event for some time. Simply put, this was avoidable. But, since it gave me a funny intro to today’s blog, I’m glad they did it anyway.
For whatever it’s worth, I don’t weant to talk about death today. At least not directly. Instead I’d like to celebrate life. In fact I want to celebrate long life. And, since this is me you’re reading, let’s celebrate a long life fueled by nicotine, booze and sleazy women.
I give you the life of Henry Allingham.
We mourn the loss today of Tomoji Tanabe, who, until early this morning, was better known as the world’s oldest living man.
Tanabe died in his home in southern Japan at 113 years and 274 days old.
Still, in this sadness, we must also greet Henry Allingham who inherits Tanabe’s title. Born on June 1896, Allingham has the distinction of having fought for the British in both World Wars. We now add this decorated war veteran to our photo gallery of World Record Holders.
Though both were born in 1895, these two could hardly be more different. Tanabe, a land surveyor, attributed his long life to abstinence from cigarettes and alcohol, and lived a quiet life in southern Japan.
Allingham laughingly describes his great age to a love of “cigarettes, whiskey and wild, wild women.” His father died when he was just a baby, and his mother begged him to stay out of the military. Still, he went on to become a founding member of the Royal Air Force.
‘War Is Stupid’
“War is stupid,” Allingham told the BBC. “Nobody wins. You might as well talk first, you have to talk last anyway.”
“We’re pleased to see an English man take the world record,” says Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, on a statement on the Guinness website.
“The last time someone from England held the title was Frederick Butterfield, who died on 9 March 1974, aged 110”
Old Hank did eventually kick the bucket a couple of years ago, but given the many depressing stories out there today I hope you don’t mind me pulling this one out instead.
And, besides, when old fogies like me tell you that certain habits are bad for you, you can just hand them the nifty print out of this article.
In fact, I strongly suggest you get it framed.
As to my friend Jamie, and anyone else contemplating a permanent solution to temporary problems, I ask that you go see The Bridge. It is a documentary about people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Every one that lived says the same thing; as soon as they hit the air they knew they’d made a mistake.
Don’t make that mistake.
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.