Monday, January 24, 2011
Jack Lalanne dead at age 96--unfathomable.
Ideally, he should have lived forever, the poster-elderchild of how to have and maintain a body at peak fitness. My own grandfather died at 98--allowing a colon cancer to win over his body because he couldn't fathom accepting a colostomy in his later years as being too great an indignity. My father-in-law is a rotund man of 97 years, who gave far less of a shit about eating or excercising well, but lived for his garden--the man's diligence to his tomatoes and basil is what I think living is about--Daddy has taught me that you have to care about something. He loves his garden and his family--and he lives. My Granddad loved his family, and playing cards and telling jokes. Maybe both my spouse and I are just lucky to have these great genes where our progenitors are long-lived. But none of our forebears lifted weights or pulled boats with their teeth or looked especially beautiful in bathing suits after the age of fifty.
Jack Lalanne juiced, and jogged, and set a marvelous example, that other men outdid sitting on their arse and watching Wheel of Fortune. And yet the idea that this particular person is done seems so remarkable. How does such a powerhouse of fitness pass? Did he go quietly? Shouldn't he have expired in the midst of a monsterous series of leg thrusts? Fit to the bitter end?
When I was conventionally fit, he was one of my idols, a furnace of humanity, always burning with energy. That a man in his 90's passes now, is not unthinkable to me. But it still seems out of tune with his image--Brylcreamed and jumpsuited, and ready to drink a quart of beet juice and do push-ups until somebody is gonna puke. And not Himself. He was a marvel. It's always shocking to find that marvels fade.I wish his family peace and good memories.