Funny stories in under 500 words.

The Secret to a Long, Long Life

One of the ongoing stories in my family is about the time my father shaved his head. It was a precaution, to be fair. As a young man, my father feared nothing more than going bald. “Always be prepared for the worst,” my father, the bald boy scout, would tell his momma. You may laugh (we did), but these kinds of safeguards allowed him to live to be 93 in a good physical state and a sound, albeit hairless, head.

But it wasn’t just him. This particular quality was passed around our family like an heirloom.

Take my grandmother, for example. She spent her days, rolling and moaning in bed, telling us how she was treating her many ailments. I learned so much from her growing up. Most of it I could find on WebMD today; regardless, she made it to the respectable age of 90.

Is this an effective tactic? Like whistling in the dark or painting your entrance door and windows blue, against the evil eye?

I’ve spoken to my doctors about this. None of them were huge fans of my theory, and most of them recommended physical activities and a diet change. But why bother? Between shaving his five o’clock shadows, my father did not work out a day in his life, and look how long his life was. He spent most of his days in his room, worrying about his coming demise and getting upset with certain political issues. He even joked his life was too long... I mean, how spoiled can you be?

When my kids were young, in what seems like a lifetime ago, my husband and I planned a long trip to Canada. We studied the maps, looked at pictures, and planned stops on a very detailed schedule. Knowing we’d need to be well-prepared, we even bought games to entertain the kids during the long hours on the road. Then what did we do? We never took the trip! I felt we knew the area well and there was no need to be troubled with the trip itself. Why risk it? After all, the kids were just as happy to play in the backyard. “Safety-ness is next to Godliness.” That’s what I would always say to my husband, all those years ago. I wonder how he’s doing?

And thanks to the electronic new world, there’s really no point to move physically. The world can just come to me. Before leaving my bed to face the world, I can see with complete clarity every corner of the globe down to the smallest detail via aerial maps. Without lifting my head from my soft pillow, I can communicate with all my relatives and friends, even virtual, imaginary, and lost ones, over the social network. Instead of leaving my warm blankets, I can shop online from every store on the face of the earth, and watch movies from sunrise to sunset.

So what’s the secret to a long, long life? I am positive my family is on to something. In fact, sitting in my room and contemplating my nearing end, the days seem to never end.

This story was written by Ariela L. Zucker. She was born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1949 and moved with her family to Maine in 2003. She's a retired educator practicing a second career as a motel owner and a writer. Check out her books on Amazon, Living off the road and Chasing Memories: Anatomy of a Family Search.


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