CREDOS : Live to the lees — I

I don’t think I made a conscious decision to live forever. But, it’s working out that way. It started 20 years ago in London when I was doing interviews for a movie. When you open a movie, the studio arranges for you to meet as many journalists as possible. The journalists, understandably, all ask pretty much the same questions; so unless you have a knack for making up the facts of your life — and I envy people who can do that — you hear yourself saying the same things over and over again. This numbs your brain and gives the audience a chance to be sick of the movie before they’ve even seen it.

But in that London hotel room, I was on my 13th interview when suddenly I snapped to attention. The journalist was asking me a question I hadn’t heard before... “I’m sorry, what?” She said it again: “How long would you like to live?”

It wasn’t such an extraordinary question, but it was different. I was glad not to have to hear myself recite the same boring account of my rise to world power through my fantastic creative process. “A hundred and six,” I said. “I’d like to live to 106. If I can still make love.” She smiled and made a note.

The next day, my wife, Arlene, opened the newspaper and read the headline: “Watch out girls. Alda wants to live to 106 and still make love.”

Arlene put the paper down and looked at me. We laughed about it but, from that moment I assumed that the number 106 would be my life span. —