Gerontology: Secret of Long Life

How old can a man be? Consider Charlie Smith, who last week celebrated what he calculated to be his 125th birthday in Bartow, Fla. A spry ex-slave, Charlie runs a small cold-drink and candy shop and thrives on raw sausages, crackers, 7UP, and telling people how old he is. Naturally, he has his secrets of longevity: "I never drink no green [plain] milk—only chocolate. I don't eat no table food—cooked stuff is not too good for me."

Out of loyalty to his country, Smith arbitrarily celebrates his birthday on the Fourth of July. He says he was born in Liberia...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!