Carmelo Flores Laura, a Bolivian Aymara Indian, was born in 1890, according to his birth certificate. And there he sits today, eating in Hell’s cafeteria:

His astonishing age has been put down to a diet that consists of quinoa and skunk meat, and not being lazy.

He said: “I’ve never been lazy.

“We ate mostly skunk meat. I still go on long walks every day.”

Mr Laura, who lost his wife 10 years ago, also believes the secret to his longevity is taking long walk and never eating pasta or sugar.

He has also made do with foxes and lizards to keep his strength up.

What is the point of life, then? If you’re not going to eat your pecan pie, Señor, pass it to me. You can have my skunk étouffée.

UPDATE: I was being flip, obviously, but I think there’s an important philosophical issue to be considered here. Would you really want immortality? What if it meant living on skunk, fox, and lizards? Don’t get me wrong, I think life is a primary good, by which I mean it is intrinsically good. To believe that there are some lives not worth living is to start down a dangerously slippery slope to euthanasia. That said, it does not follow that life must be preserved at every possible cost.

Personally, I would not want my life to be extended to such a degree if it meant having to eat vile things for the rest of my days. I mean, I would agree to that deal now, out of duty and desire; people depend on me, and I want to be part of their lives. But after the age of 80 or so, I can imagine that I would grow weary of life, and of the physical humiliations of old age. My time would be over. I would quit eating the skunk.

Did you ever hear the myth of Tithonus? When Tithonus’s lover Eos asked Zeus to make him immortal, she forgot to ask Zeus also to make him forever young. So he grew very old and very weak, but was unable to die. Old age was a torture to him. I can see that. Can’t you? We make such a fetish of eternal youth in our culture, but most of us, I think, look forward to a natural death, at the end of many years. Even if you could live in the flesh forever, why would you want to?

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