MAKING IT TO 100 | 2003-08-02

I remember reading about how often the ancient Greeks stayed active until they were very old. A lot of them stayed active into their late 90s, one until he was 99. But then they died, and none of those mentioned made 100.

It is no accident that Strom Thurmond and Bob Hope made it to 100 and promptly died. My grandfather reached 90 and promptly died because he knew he would not make it to 100.

George Burns had a big party planned for his 100th birthday. Then he died at 99, too.

But Strom and Bob Hope made it to 100 and then died.

I wonder if this is like the four-minute mile. In my youth the big deal was for somebody to finally run a mile in four minutes. Roger Bannister did it, and soon another man did it. Then even college athletes began to beat the four-minute mile.

That happens with most records. First everybody barely misses it, then lots of people break it once the barrier has been crossed.

Maybe Hope and Thurmond have started a trend.