This is a novel longevity secret in two ways: it’s not quite from a centenarian and it’s really a gentle dig at the whole idea of longevity secrets.
Its author is the scriptwriter Norman Lear, who’s 94 on July 27th. Lear has a string of US TV successes to his name, most famously All in the Family, which created the character Archie Bunker. As with the UK original Til Death Us Do Part (and the equivalent British character Alf Garnett), it broke taboos around discussing race on TV. It still makes terrific viewing, tackling racist attitudes with wit and warmth.
Lear has been raising issues as a writer and political activist since 1945, when he returned from the three years’ services as a US Air Force gunner in the second world war. A documentary about his life has just opened in New York.
And his longevity secret of “dancing naked in front of a full-length mirror every day”? “Well it just could be,” Lear told the Huffington Post. “I don’t know of a scientist on the planet who has said it is not the secret to longevity.” And, he adds: “I have a dozen such secrets.”
Probability rating: doesn’t apply.
The concept of a longevity secret is fair game for Lear. We love to believe (in fact we’re probably programmed to believe) in patterns and causes but there isn’t always a simple reason why someone lives a long time.
It can be fun trying to explore the subject though. And it’d make a great subject for a sitcom, Norman.