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Thursday, May 28, 2020

The "World's Oldest Documented Human May Be A Fraud" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reading an online edition of "The Washington Post" and found a rather interesting story about a woman named Jeanne Calment who for years reigned as the oldest documented person to have lived.  She died in 1997 at the age of 122.  Our local newspaper frequently lists names of those who have reached the age of 100 as well as publishing obituaries that feature people who had died and were 100 years old or older.  Many of my relatives have lived well into their 90s so who's to say how long I might be able to entertain you with the stories I write on a daily basis.  Jeanne Calment died on August 4, 1997 in Arles, France where she lived most of her life.  But, recently a Russian mathematician, Nikolay Zak, claimed that Jeanne was actually Yvonne Calment who took her mother's identity to elude inheritance taxes in the 1930s.  If so, Yvonne Calment would have been 99 in 1978 and not 122.  Zak (neat name, so it is) backed up his theory by telling that the later Calment, who recently died, was nearly the same height at age 100 plus as she had been at a younger age, and it is proven that people usually lose height as they age.  Plus, a passport for Jeanne in the 1930s shows a different eye color entered for her than what was noted in later life.  Zak tells of a litany of discrepancies in her accounts of details of her life over time.  A French woman by the name of Jean-Marie Robine is hoping that Zak's theory is all a hoax, since she wrote a book telling of the life of Jeanne Calment and is trying to sell the book.  Not going to go over very well if all she wrote was a lie given to her by the real Jeanne Calment's daughter.  Robine believes that the Jeanne that died was the real-deal and was 122.  She believes she got that far in life because of a personal regimen of diet, medical treatment, exercise and good genes.  Actually, scientists believe we may live to be 150, but would anyone really want to live that long?  So, whether it was the real Calment or her daughter posing as the real Calment, she did defy the odds since she smoked until he was so old she couldn't light her cigarette without assistance.  She also rode a bicycle until she was into her 100s and loved chocolate so much that she ate 2 pounds a week.  Not bad for a woman that was blind after in her later years, almost deaf and used a wheelchair.  So, what do you think?  I find it hard to believe that a blind and deaf woman could live to be 122 years old.  Not sure how she even lived to be 99.  Do you think the newspaper made up the entire story to sell more newspapers?  Does make for good reading, though.  If the stories are all a hoax, I do feel bad for the person who lived second longest for they were never mentioned in any article.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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