The Monday afternoon group challenged me seven weeks ago to invent something every day. They probably thought I would be stymied by the next week’s meeting to come up with anything, and they would have a quiet little laugh at my expense. Unfortunately for them, I have been presenting them with seven new inventions every week, and they are quite bored with the game.

Anyway, … the centenarian crowd has convinced me that olive oil is a good ingredient for long life and for what is now called healthspan. On page 101 of Borrowed Time by Sue Armstrong, there is a report on the recent findings on healthspan compared to lifespan:

“Thus, on average, the proportion of their lives spent with serious incapacity was 9.4 percent for those who died in the late nineties; 9 percent for those who died between the ages of 100 and 104 years; 8.9 percent among those who died aged 105-109; and only 5.2 percent for the oldest old, those who died between the ages of 110 and 119. In fact, 10 of the 104 supercentenarians escaped serious disease right up until the last three months of their lives. By contrast, the controls whose lifespans were not considered exceptional suffered chronic ill health on average for 17.9 percent of their lives.”

It is common knowledge that olive oil, a significant component of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with living to be 100 years old. Since I am now eighty-three and three-quarters years old it is time to pay attention to my health and stop flying Air Force jets around, and hanging around the center of Berkeley radical activists and being pursued out of third story windows by police. Now my physical problem is avoiding the crazy activities of old people here in Bend, Oregon. Mountain bike riding, which brought a friend huge bruises on his chest; riding bikes on winter ice which brought on a dislocated shoulder and elbow; canoeing down a river rapid which led to serious bruises and the death of the other occupant; … skateboarding through traffic, freestyle-rock-climbing Smith Rock, looping an airplane starting at ground level which didn’t work out well at all. I didn’t do that back when I was flying T-28s, but did do some nearly as risky stuff, and many more such things I don’t do anymore. So, now I’m moving on to an olive oil-enriched diet.

It turns out to be important that the olive oil is kept fresh to maintain its effectiveness for generating centenarians. Part of the maintenance in storage and in the retail sales bottle is keeping the olive oil in total darkness. Apparently, even a little direct sunlight on a bottle of olive oil begins its life of ruin.

So what’s my problem? The olive oil is sold in bottles. The bottles are made of glass and glass is transparent to light. Therefore, the olive oil industry packages their olive oil in dark green bottles which will cut down the intensity of the light hitting the olive oil and apparently helps to ease the rate of deterioration. That’s probably okay, but a further fix would bring the olive oil into near total darkness and would cost nothing whatsoever except for the artwork on the label and reprinting the labels.

Print wraparound labels made of the kind of metallic coating found on almost every packaged item these days. I have held some of these up to the sun, and they are perfectly opaque. Wrapping the olive oil bottles all the way around the bottle the way some other products are already being treated would solve the problem. A small vertical opening between the edges of the wrapping could be left so the height of the contents could be seen. A shoulder cap could be added to the top of the bottle, for further protection, and it would look cute.

This post is proof I can get a long story out of almost nothing.