Saturday, February 22, 2014
The Oldest American Film And Television Editor is Elmo Williams*
This afternoon an odd question was posed. The question was, "Is there an agency that keeps track of when the last person born in a specific year, dies?"
That question came about due the conversation centering around who the world's oldest person currently is. Not only is the world oldest person known (Misao Okawa of Japan, born 1898), every single human on Earth older than 100 is known - you can look them up in various Gerontology journals.
That may seem like an undertaking of staggering dimension, but it's actually not, as not a whole heckuva lot of people make it to 100 or beyond - currently, 316,000 people are older than 100 on this planet, out of a population that exceeds 7 billion.
The vast majority of them live in three countries - the United States, Japan, and Great Britain, with France and Italy accounting for a significant percentage of the rest.
The interest in centenarians, and super-centenarians as well (super-centenarians exceed 110 years of age - there are maybe 350 of those worldwide) is understandable. Aging is a universal condition, and long-lived people are interesting if only to figure out how they did it.
So various governmental departments in just about every country, and even in the United Nations, keep tabs on those that have made it to the magical *100*.
And those agencies break down the lists they make into every sub-category imaginable - by gender of course, but also by lifestyle, ethnicity, cultural identity, education (or lack thereof), personal attributes, diet, exercise, career choices - even entertainment preferences.
So the answer is yes with a capital Y. There is not just one agency keeping track of when the last person born every year dies, there are hundreds. Those agencies know when any of the 17 people in Iceland who are older than 100 pass away, or if any of the 53,364 people in the United States older than 100 fails to make it to 101.
The natural follow-up question is, how do you get a job keeping track of really old people?
*I share a birthday with Mr. Williams - April 30th. He's just another entire lifetime older than me.