I've always wanted to live a long life, not because of any particular fear of death, but because the events of my life, and the changes I've seen in the world around me, have been so darned interesting. Even the mundane stuff holds my attention. Take washing dishes for instance. There are two baking pans in our kitchen which absolutely resist all attempts to be cleaned. I read cleaning manuals, search the web for methods, and have tried a half dozen techniques, and it still takes ten minutes of scrubbing per pan to get the things even marginally acceptable. It's imperative that I stay alive at least long enough to defeat those pans.
It may be just a sign of getting old, but I find small routine challenges like that absorbing. The big stuff is sort of interesting, too (major technological changes, scientific and medical advances, trying to figure out why anyone has any fascination whatsoever with either Angry Birds, or the Kardashians).
But, moving along to the topic of longevity , I've just finished reading How Not to Die: Surprising Lessons on Living Longer, Safer, and Healthier from America's Favorite Medical Examiner, by Jan Garavaglia.
I don't have cable TV, and watching anything on broadcast television is extremely rare for me, so I was only vaguely aware that Dr. Garavaglia had a TV show. I picked her book up at the public library. Since I am interested in health and longevity, I frequently browse the stacks on health, nutrition, and exercise, and the title caught my eye.
I wasn't disappointed with the book. It was readable and engaging, the advice is sensible, and despite the tragic nature of the anecdotes she recounts, a number of them are funny in a macabre, Darwin Awards sort of way. One death, which she describes as similar to a cartoon, involved a fellow who sat on a limb he was sawing from a tree. Another involved two men hauling a mattress on a car roof. Lacking a rope to secure it, one of the guys attempted to sit on the mattress to hold it down, with tragic, though predictable, results.
Based on her experience as a Medical Examiner, the advice she gives can be summed up as staying alive by not doing high risk things. Don't drive fast, don't ride without a seat belt, don't smoke, don't drink heavily, keep your eating under control, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol within normal range, visit the doctor and dentist regularly, and so forth. Some of the more interesting stories involve people who managed to die by neglecting things which don't normally kill a person, like a fellow who failed to seek treatment for an abscess, leading to a deadly infection.
The book is worth a read, whether you're interested in auditioning for the Darwin Awards, or like me, trying to avoid that honor.