100? Yes, Please.

“My new goal is to live to be 100,” I announced to my family yesterday.

“Why?” Tara asked.

“So I can knit tiny sweaters for penguins,” I replied. “Duh.”

By now, my wife and daughter were looking at me as if I’d lost my marbles. But the joke’s on them! I’d need to have marbles to begin with in order for that to happen.

“What are you talking about?” they asked in unison.

s-OLDEST-MAN-KNITS-PENGUIN-SWEATER-480x360What I was talking about – or more accurately, who I was talking about – was Alfred Date, the oldest man in Australia. He is 109 years old, and his passion in life is knitting sweaters for penguins. Following an oil spill in 2013, the Phillip Island Nature Park in Australia put out a call for knitters to craft tiny sweaters for their colony of penguins to wear, in order to prevent them from ingesting oil while preening themselves. The oil also causes their feathers to stick together, making the penguins cold (irony alert!) and preventing them from hunting effectively. Alfie, as he is called, got down with his bad self and began knitting like crazy. As a result, he’s got a newfound purpose in life. When asked about his secret to longevity, Alfie replied, “waking up every morning.”

I like this guy.

Who wouldn’t want to live to be 100? I mean, c’mon…the alternative sucks. “I don’t want to be old and infirm,” Tara said.

“Trust me,” I countered. “I plan to stay firm. Err…you know what I mean.”

I’d better. When I reach the century mark, the lil’ lady will be a spry 92 years old. Talk about robbing the cradle. Also, I have to live that long, because by then Alfie will be 163 and probably won’t be able to churn out quite as many penguin sweaters as he does nowadays. We can’t let these little guys go cold now, can we?

penguin sweaterI figure, the odds are in my favor. Well, not really. Actually, the opposite is true. The odds are against me. But that doesn’t sound nearly as optimistic as the first phrase!

Statistically speaking, my diabetes puts me at risk of dying at a younger age. But my family tends to stick around. My grandmother is 97, another relative is 92, and a third is 90. And a great-grandmother lived to 100, while another hit 90. I like these trends. True, all of them are/were women. Also true, one of my grandfathers passed away at 47. But he probably never knitted a sweater for a penguin, so you know, it was kind of inevitable. Keep the body and the mind active, and the sky’s the limit. Also, f!ck you, diabetes.

Today, I used my 8 hours of free PTO and took the day off. Hello, instant three-day weekend! I am driving up to Mount Hood and taking advantage of a gorgeous spring day with a nice, long hike. Provided I don’t fall off the side of a cliff, I should be well on my way to reaching my goal of becoming a centenarian.

How long would you like to live?


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

19 thoughts on “100? Yes, Please.

  1. “He is 109 years old, and his passion in life is knitting sweaters for penguins.”

    Oh Mark, that is sooooo AWESOME! You GO, Alfred! And being someone who loves penguins, that really touched me. Yup, I like this guy too! I’m going to check out the link you shared later today so that I can read more about this guy.

    I’ve never really thought about how long I would like to live. But if I had to say, I would like to live as long as I was healthy – mentally and physically.

    Enjoy your PTO and your drive up to Mount Hood. Can’t wait to read all about it.

    Have a grrrrreat weekend, buddy!


  2. Those little penguin sweater make me giggle they are so cute. As far as how old I am to live, I may or may not be screwed. 50/50. My dad’s side of the family has the tendency to not live past like, 65. My mom’s side however, is looking optimistic. Fingers crossed so I can partake in the penguin sweater making.


  3. “But that doesn’t sound nearly as optimistic as the first phrase!” Made me laugh right out loud.

    I’m with you, Mark, I want to live to 100 … as long as I can still knit sweaters for penguins. ( already know how to do this … though my tiny sweaters have been for teddy bears so far.)That’s enough functionality for me.


    1. As long as you’ve got a purpose, it doesn’t matter whether the sweaters are for penguins or teddy bears. Just keep your fingers active and hopefully your mind will stay active, too!


  4. I don’t have a specific number age in mind. I’d like to live as long as I possibly can independently and with my wits intact. Once I’ve truly become a burden to my loved ones I kind of hope I don’t linger even if that means I won’t become a Centurian. My grandpa turns 100 this summer and he’s healthier than most 80-year olds so there is hope for me yet.

    I am so envious of your day off.


  5. A hike on Mount Hood sounds like a great day! I love penguins, so yeah for those sweaters. I had one grandpa live to be 93. I just want to die before my spouse because I don’t want to live without him. I cry just thinking about it.


  6. For my 100th birthday I’m going to get a tattoo and go bungee jumping. Then, on the way to the emergency room I’ll tell the ambulance driver I want to stop for ice cream. Live long and prosper, Mr. Petruska. Sweaters for penguins! Hilarious.


  7. Ohmygawd, a penguin in a knit sweater. I want one! I will name him Elmo – for St. Elmo’s Fire, not the muppet.

    You do have some good genes there, Mark. All those peeps in their 90’s and above. My dad totally freaked the bejeezus out of me this week commenting how his parents both died 1-2 years past where he was currently. Thankfully, my pop is in pretty good health, but that still worried me. I can’t imagine losing him yet. Ever, really. Hope we all live a long long time. I need that long to learn how to knit.


    1. I know what you mean, Jess. I hate the idea that my parents are mortal. And my mom turns 70 this year…holy crap, that sounds so old! Yet in person, they both act (and look) much younger. Hurray for good genes!


Add Your Two Cents!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: