If you want to live forever, or at least as close to forever as possible, you may want to make coffee a good part of your daily ritual. Or at least that was my takeaway from the Dallas Morning News’ recent profile of Richard Overton, the oldest living American man, turning the ripe old age of 112 last week.
Overton, also the oldest living U.S. veteran who actually served in World War II, was born in 1906, which the DMN notes was a year before Oklahoma officially became a state, or as we Texans call it, the better times (which reminds me of some old Texas wisdom: why doesn’t Texas float away into the Gulf of Mexico? Because Oklahoma sucks). When not meeting former presidents, athletes, and celebrities, the Austin resident spends most of his day sitting on his porch, waving at cars and taking photos with strangers who want to meet a living legend.
So what is the key to Overton’s long life? I’m no nutritionist but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is his rather strict diet. According to the article, Overton starts the day with something sweet, like pancakes, waffles, or cinnamon rolls and multiple cups of coffee “with three spoonfuls of sugar and a plastic straw.” He enjoys peach cobbler and ice cream and can be found throughout the day sipping on either a Dr. Pepper or whiskey and Cokes—his favorite drink—while smoking one of his daily 12 Tampa Sweet Perfecto cigars. It is truly a life well lived.
And listen, I consider myself a healthy person: I limit my alcohol consumption, I exercise, I have a primarily plant-based diet. Until now, I had no idea why I did all those things. “Blah blah blah health,” sure. But after hearing Overton’s story, I realize that I’m living this way so that I can make it to the age where I can drink coffee and booze, eat sweets, and smoke cigars all day, and instead of everyone condescending to me about my health, they will just be like, “good for you” and write some nice newspaper articles about me.
I don’t know exactly what that age is—70? 80? 90?—but I know I want to make it there, and thanks to my 112-year-old role model and icon Richard Overton, I know exactly what I’m going to do when I get there.
*top image via the Dallas Morning News
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed Overton as the oldest living American. We regret the error.