Sunday, February 11, 2007
Dec. 12, 2006 (AP) -- Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, recognized as the world's oldest person, died Monday in a Memphis nursing home, the home's administrator said. She was 116. Emiliano Mercado del Toro, 115, of Puerto Rico is now expected to assume the title of world's oldest person, said a Guinness researcher.
Emiliano Mercado del Toro:
They call me El Viejo
Because I'm very old
I hail from another time
When the winters still were cold
When I was born, the distant past
Hadn't yet occurred
We had no running water
We had no written word
(A Guinness researcher flies to Puerto Rico to certify del Toro as the world's oldest person.)
This rolled-up paper, when unfurled
Proves you're the oldest in the world
(The Guinness man pins a ribbon on Del Toro's chest.)
We had no Web, no Super Bowl,
No Nintendo Wii
I tell you, I go back so far
That I'm in front of me
A century's an insult!
One-10 is a joke
If my age was a temperature, the ground beneath my feet would smoke!
And . . .
(Del Toro clears his throat to hit a high note but dies instead.)
* * *
Jan. 25, 2007 (AP) -- Emiliano Mercado del Toro was born when Puerto Rico was still a Spanish colony, and he trained as a soldier the year World War I ended. On Wednesday, having spent just a month as the world's oldest person, he died at his home on the northern coast of Puerto Rico. He was 115.
I certify this brave old man
As a brave old man who's dead
The oldest living person
Is now someone else instead
* * *
Jan. 25, 2007 (Reuters) -- A Connecticut woman born to former slaves in the decades following the Civil War has become the world's oldest person, at 114, according to Guinness World Records. Emma Faust Tillman, born near Greensboro, N.C., on Nov. 22, 1892, became the world's oldest person on Wednesday, following the death of Emiliano Mercado del Toro, 115, of Puerto Rico.
Let's go, let's go!
Let's start the plane Connecticut awaits!
We're doing battle with some
Serious attrition rates
(Guinness man arrives in Connecticut, rushes to meet with Emma Faust Tillman, and reads a proclamation declaring her the world's oldest person.)
Emma Faust Tillman:
I'm so pleased that I made it
How I've waited for this day
Now if you will all attend
I have something to say
(She has nothing to say.)
* * *
Jan. 29, 2007 (AP) -- Emma Faust Tillman, who was born to former slaves and lived to see 21 American presidencies, died at a nursing home just four days after becoming the world's oldest-known living person. She was 114.
This is just unbelievable
I almost feel cursed
I should trade my jet plane
For a flying hearse
Now I must find another
World's Oldest Man
Or Woman. To the plane again?
A tip came in to try Japan
* * *
Jan. 29, 2007 (AP) -- Yone Minagawa, 114 years old and believed to be the world's oldest living person, has lived through four Japanese emperors, according to the staff at her nursing home in southern Japan. Born Jan. 4, 1893, Minagawa was identified as the world's oldest person by the Guinness Book of World Records following the death Sunday of Emma Faust Tillman, also 114.
The year was 1893 when I was born. That wasn't all
The diesel engine was born, too. The light bulb. College basketball.
They say I should be happy
But I fear that all's not right
They say old age should be enjoyed
But it just makes me paranoid
(The Guinness man arrives.)
You're spry for an oldster
You're sharp as a tack
Sit down so I can give you
This certificate and plaque
(Minagawa bows. Guinness man takes off his costume. He is Death.)
Nice to meet you, Minagawa
We have some business, you and I
For my part, I will touch your shoulder
For your part, you will die
I'd like to thank the Guinness Book
For keeping me supplied
With ancient human specimens
To carry to the other side
(Minagawa takes off running at high speed.)
You can't catch me
You can't catch me
I'll run to my reward
Just when you think
You're closing in
I'll turn around and look! A sword!
(Minagawa turns. She is holding a giant sword. Death gasps. She cuts him, first with a YM, like Zorro might, and then into pieces. Minagawa stands over Death.)
It is no small achievement to reach this advanced age
I'm not about to let death remove me from the stage
They say that some excitement does wonders for the brain
Plus, it seems that I have inherited a plane
(Minagawa commandeers Guinness man's jet. The pilot, relieved that he no longer has to work for Death, says he will fly her anywhere.)
First, let's go to my house
Then we'll fly to Hollywood
Next a night in Vegas. The Bellagio is good.
Then Puerto Vallarta, then a New York shopping spree
With today's exchange rate I am only 93
Only . . . ninety . . . three!
-- Ben Greenman, an editor at the New Yorker