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Everyday Is A Good Day
September 23, 2010 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Walter Breuning reminisces about his life in three centuries. As the oldest man in the world and in celebration of his 114th birthday on September 21, Mr. Breuning agreed to this exclusive interview. Questions were gleaned via the internet from individuals around the world.
posted by gman (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Roosevelt was elected in 1932, you senile old husk! Why does anyone listen to him?
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2010


Nobody gets to be the oldest man in the world for very long, and it's no fun to lose the title.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:39 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is exactly the tone and posture I adopt when I tell my teenage acquaintances about the rotary dial phone.

I am 36 years old.
posted by rog at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Whatever, he can't play Halo on the Legendary level at all!
posted by nomadicink at 2:53 PM on September 23, 2010


I wasn't expecting Halley's comet as the most memorable event.
posted by Danila at 2:54 PM on September 23, 2010


His description of life in the 1900s does not match my experience in the 1900s at all.
posted by The World Famous at 2:57 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most memorable event ... Halley's Comet.

He could've chosen anything. He chose a real once-in-a-lifetime event.

Kick ass.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:01 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Roosevelt was elected in 1932, you senile old husk! Why does anyone listen to him?

Yeah, and World War II started in Dec. 1941, not 1942. But I think he gets a pass here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:02 PM on September 23, 2010


Twice in a lifetime if you're Mark Twain.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:03 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Walter Breuning reminisces about his life in three centuries

That's only one more century than I've lived in. Call me when someone gets to 4.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:06 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


how did he do it? live that long without the job of pushing up daisies? but given the number of human beings living on earth, i guess its the same odds as the Memphis Belle living thru 25 missions.
posted by tustinrick at 3:10 PM on September 23, 2010


He could've chosen anything. He chose a real once-in-a-lifetime event.

Actually, Bruening was around for both the 1910 and 1986 approaches. The 1910 approach, without air pollution, must have been much better than 1986, which had "the worst viewing circumstances for Earth observers for the last 2,000 years."

Twice in a lifetime if you're Mark Twain.

It's quite possible Twain never actually laid eyes on the comet the first time it swung by during his lifetime, since he was born two weeks after its perihelion.
posted by jedicus at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2010


Brother Bruening is also a Master Mason and 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. He joined the fraternity in 1925.
posted by mrbill at 3:31 PM on September 23, 2010


Here he is, talking about Masonry.
posted by mrbill at 3:39 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and World War II started in Dec. 1941, not 1942.

Poland would like a word with you.

(pardon the snark :-)
posted by boubelium at 3:59 PM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


Brother Bruening is also a Master Mason and 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. He joined the fraternity in 1925.

Ah, well, that explains it. With, you know, the conspiracies and all ...
posted by krinklyfig at 4:03 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, and World War II started in Dec. 1941, not 1942.

Poland would like a word with you.


And China would like to talk to both of you for a second.

(I think all three dates have some justification)
posted by ts;dr at 4:16 PM on September 23, 2010


Twice in a lifetime if you're Mark Twain.

It's quite possible Twain never actually laid eyes on the comet the first time it swung by during his lifetime, since he was born two weeks after its perihelion.


...and he didn't lay eyes on it on his way out the door, either:

His prediction was accurate – Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.
posted by item at 4:19 PM on September 23, 2010


Oops. He died one day AFTER it's appearance, not before. Stupid brain. I blame gamma rays from Haley's Comet's 1986 visit.
posted by item at 4:21 PM on September 23, 2010


*its - again, gamma rays.
posted by item at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2010


Yeah, and World War II started in Dec. 1941, not 1942. But I think he gets a pass here.

I was being facetious. I love him.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:18 PM on September 23, 2010


Love his response to growing up in World War I: "It was a pretty tough business, I'll tell you that."

Gold! Gotta say, he's looking pretty good for an old dude. It _blows my mind_ that this guy was 54 in 1950. 54, and think about how much the world has changed since that time, a time when he was already heading towards old age. Incredible.
posted by smoke at 6:43 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


He is about the age my grandfather would have been were he still living (he died at age 96) and as a child I was raised with grandparents as part of our household that were on their own by WWI and in Europe. I spent part of each day with them and am thankful for it. People who grew up before any mass communications had a radically different world view.

I am glad I watched this if for no other reason than to see someone wearing my grandfather's same glasses. I am full of nostalgia. I loved to hear stories of London during the Great War and the evil Black and Tans making life miserable in Ireland before the Republic.
posted by readery at 7:11 PM on September 23, 2010


This is exactly the tone and posture I adopt when I tell my teenage acquaintances about the rotary dial phone.

Man, I HATED phone numbers with lots of nines and zeros in them!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:41 PM on September 23, 2010


What a guy! Here's hoping he makes 115.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:47 PM on September 23, 2010


What an awesome guy. Still full of joy -- an inspiration.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2010


how did he do it? live that long without the job of pushing up daisies?

Fish and sea greens, plankton and protein from the sea.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:50 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I HATED phone numbers with lots of nines and zeros in them!

That guy's got two zeros, screw that guy!
posted by Evilspork at 11:46 PM on September 23, 2010


jedicus: He could've chosen anything. He chose a real once-in-a-lifetime event.

Actually, Bruening was around for both the 1910 and 1986 approaches. The 1910 approach, without air pollution, must have been much better than 1986, which had "the worst viewing circumstances for Earth observers for the last 2,000 years."


While I was really surprised to hear him say Halley's Comet, this made a lot more sense when I realised he was probably referring to the experience of having seen it the first time, not the second. Against the backdrop of that era - HG Wells was contemporary literature - it must have been a phenomenal thing to see.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:51 AM on September 24, 2010


protein from the sea

RENEW!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:52 AM on September 24, 2010


Here in Great Falls, on the morning of Walter's birthday this week, our newsroom assignment board had several stories listed that we planned to cover that day. Unfortunate placement of the top two stories: the first said simply WALTER, and the second story slug, right below that, was AID IN DYING - which was actually planned coverage of a local debate about right-to-die issues.

It was...disconcerting...seeing those two story slugs together.

More about Walter: "Breuning takes one aspirin each day, eats two meals a day, and strolls the halls of the Rainbow Assisted Living Facility every morning, always wearing a suit and tie. His mind is extremely sharp, and he remembers his grandfather talking about the Civil War when Walter was only three years old.

Walter said, "Everybody's got a mind that God gave us, and if you don't start using it from the time you're a baby, you're losing something. Every day (that) you don't learn something new, you've lost a day. People think that I'm crazy because I don't jump up and down," a reference to the flurry of media attention over his new-found celebrity.

So, what kind of advice does a man born in 1896 give about having a long life? Walter says its all about remaining active: "Keep your mind busy and your body busy at all times; you'll find out. I got told years ago...they tell you if you don't develop your mind...keep your mind going or it just goes right down the chute."
posted by davidmsc at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


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