Sunday, August 10, 2008

Calling off the Actuaries

People who manage to live to 100 don't have much to worry about, as it's a well-documented fact that very few people die after 100.

The Rabbis of the Gemarah knew this joke almost 2000 years ago: There's this discussion going on about how to relate to a missive that has arrived from far away, sent by an old man (this was in pre-Blackberry days). One position is that so long as he was younger than 80, we assume he's still alive when the document arrives, but if he's beyond 80, we can't depend on it. Abaye, however, says that if he was 100, we assume he's still alive when the document arrives, since he has a proven track record of not dying. ("Keivan de'iflig, iflig: since he's already lived long, he'll continue to).

Gitin 25a.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'm glad you're not my doctor!

From what I've seen, as people age they step down in abilities quicker; as they tack on years.

In other words? My mom graduated Brooklyn College at 80. But just like when children are born; we watch them change so quickly.

By the time my mom turned 85 she had slowed. And, by the time she reached 87, she had had her first heart attack. She kept on going until she almost made 91. It ended fast! And, I knew she was lucky.

I also knew my mom was in "something" of a competition with her brother's wife. Her sister-in-law. Why a competition? Two different types of women.

And, Janet made it to 100.

In her 90's, (she still walked wherever she had to go), she had a routine doctor's visit, and the doctor said "he wished he was in as great a condition as she was."

Aging still occurs. And, when Janet's lights went out, she too faded fast. While she looked so young!

When Janet was 90, her children did one of those super-duper birthday parties; and one man; who had had a crush on her for years and years, stood up and toasted her with the thought that "she could still turn men on."

Alas, nothing is forever.

Humans are not good at accepting the facts of life.