I have long suspected I will not live to be 100. As a former ultra guy, there is a certain appeal to that number, the holy grail of long runs. My workaround: I’m trying to make it to the metric 100 instead: 62 years old. I’ve got about five months to go, so barring a five stark hamstring mishap or an unfortunate encounter with a self-driving Uber, I just might make it.
But still. In the back on my mind (next to the part wondering whatever happened to the actress who played Patty Duke’s identical cousin), I wonder. 100. Is it possible?
So it was with great interest that I saw the headline “Billy Graham lived to 99 years eating this.” Click bait? Or survival tip? Only one way to find out.
I must preface this by saying I was never a huge Billy Graham fan. When I was a wee lad, Ma made me watch the Billy Graham Crusades on TV with her. These tended to last eight or nine hours and always followed pretty much the same script (spoiler alert: Jesus wins). But still. He lived more than 99 years, falling just a few months short of getting his 100-year belt buckle. What was his secret?
The unfortunate answer was in the USA Today story (disclaimer: I work for USA Today’s owner, so if you buy a USA Today our cat can continue to have Fancy Cat Food thank you very much).
His son, Franklin (Franklin Graham, sadly NOT Franklin the Charlie Brown character), revealed the secret. Beanee Weenees. He ate them “cold out of the can,” Franklin said, a legacy of his time as a farm boy, when he ate the canned delights for lunch.
You would think, “Well, this is great news, Mr. Pants. YOU ate the canned delights for lunch as a farm boy as well. 100 years, here ye cometh verily verily amen.”
The date was July 13, 2015, a day that will go down in infamy, and then come back up again a couple of hours later. I had this epiphany that eating four cans of Beanee Weenees while running 4 miles, the farm boy equivalent of the Beer Mile, would be a good idea. I was wrong. So, so wrong.
In hindsight, the event’s name — “The National Beans and Franks Day Beanee Weenee 4 mile Run & Hurl” — should have been a tipoff. Sadly, no.
The rules were simple: I ran a mile, ate a can of delicious Beanee Weenees, ran another, ate another, and so on, four times. Let’s just say eating the last can was not pretty. Like Roseanne singing the national anthem before a Padres game not pretty. But I did it. And That. Was. That.
I haven’t eaten Beanee Weenees since, a streak I plan to continue indefinitely. And definitely.
How many years has this dearth of this Farm Boy Magic Cuisine cut off my life already? I guess we’ll never know. What we DO know is that longevity is not worth such a horrible price.
And so my last hope for living to be 100 is gone, unless I figure out a way to short-course it (does life have timing mats at the turnaround?), so it’s back to the 100K. But I guess in life, and in Beanee Weenee 4 mile runs, the only thing that really matters is finishing.
Bye, Mr. Graham. Please tell Ma I said hey. I hope heaven has Beanee Weenees.
And I really, really hope hell doesn’t …