Excerpt from Pancho Durango and the Zen of Fishing:
Wilson studied a couple of sea gulls fighting over a shred of dead shrimp on the surface of the bay. When the battle no longer held his interest, he turned and asked the old man, “Pancho, how old are you?”
“I am not sure.” Pancho continued to slowly reel and jerk his line, his attention thirty yards out and ten feet deep.
“How can that be?”
“I was born deep in the Copper Canyon. We did not keep records of anything, including birth.”
“Well, we know you are at least in your seventies and perhaps in your eighties.”
“Perhaps.” The conversation held less interest for Pancho than the three dimensional chess match he silently waged with fish that apparently only he could see.
“And you are strong of mind and body. “
“Some apparently believe so.”
“What is the key to longevity?”
Pancho said with no hesitation, and with as much emphasis as you’d expect from a request for another live shrimp to hook for bait, “You live as long as you have something worthwhile to give”.
“And who is the judge of that.”
“Only you of course.”
Wilson frowned as he squinted at the horizon. “So, goodness and righteousness have nothing to do with it?”
“It all depends on what you consider is good and right.”
Wilson sunk his head and smirked apathetically at the ripples beneath his feet. Once again Pancho had blithely turned a simple question into a deep philosophical riddle. Time to rebait the hook and make another cast. Always the right thing to do when you know your next question will be hit out of the park by the old man like a twenty year old on steroids.