You Can’t Be 100 Without Being 99 First

Posted on November 17, 2011



Apparently, while most of us are spending our time asking “Did he actually just say that?” in reference to Herman Cain, other members of the US population are more goal-oriented: They are turning 100.  While it’s true that some of them do it without much fanfare, and others, when wished a Happy 100! respond with “I think I did a poo,” many others are brazenly crossing the line with hats, streamers, balloons, cake, and a total disregard for the consequences their longevity will have on society.

The November issue of National Geographic brings some startling data to our attention: As of April 1, 2010, there were 53,364 centenarians.  If we take this number and divide by 50 (or by 37, if we ask Herman Cain), we can see that this means a lot of really old people.  Or, we can divide by 49, since Florida, which has about 1000 centenarians per square block, has its own Really Old People’s Census which has been held since April 2, 1513, when the first really old people arrived with the famous Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. 

Ponce de Leon and his really old passengers were, as we can totally understand, searching for the mythical Fountain of Youth.  When the Native Americans in Residence responded to PdL’s offering of cheap beads and Cain campaign DVDs, by shooting a poison arrow into PdL’s shoulder, his passengers were permanently stranded in the New World.  Unfazed, they then decided to stay where they were and to invent white pants that could be worn year round. Fascinating as all this revisionist history is, we must return to the topic at hand.

Worse news from National Geographic: It is projected that there will be 601,000 centenarians in the US by 2050, a veritable deluge of really old people and one that threatens to spill over the borders of Southern Florida into several unsuspecting states.

This writer has done a fair amount of research, mostly while ripping open a bag of M&Ms with her teeth.  And something startling has been uncovered to explain the dramatic rise in centenarians.  Census 2000 was the first time in history that the 65 years and over population did not grow faster than the total population.  Yet the older population, 85 years and older, showed the highest gain.  This can only mean that a lot of people are bypassing the years 65-85 and jumping right into the 85+ group.  We have no idea why this would be so.  But it brings us to the very real possibility that others are bypassing the 85-99 age group and leaping right to 100. 

Since all this data has entirely too many numbers in it, and since this writer doesn’t like numbers to begin with, we will end with one request: If you are over age 65, please consider going through all the numbers required and in the proper sequence before you hit 100.  Don’t worry.  Social security might be bankrupt, but we’ll make sure there are enough party hats, balloons, and cake for you.