Me: Happy birthday, Mr. Warren Buffett.
Warren Buffett (WB): Thanks Vishal!
Me: So how does it feel at 86?
WB: Oh, I’m feeling younger than ever. I continue to do what I have loved doing all my life. I continue to eat like a six-year old. I continue to be friends with people I have been friends with for decades now. And that makes me feel younger than ever.
Me: You truly know the secret of a long and happy life, don’t you?
WB: Oh, there’s no secret than what I just shared with you Vishal. Do whatever makes you happy, and there are great chances you will do those things for a long period of time.
Me: True, Mr. Buffett. But I tend to disagree with your thoughts on eating. You seem to be one-quarter Coca Cola. And that’s not a great thing to consume if you wish to live longer, right?
WB: Yes, I have three Cokes during the day and two at night. I have been doing this for the past many decades now. And I am still alive, you see.
Me: In that case, Mr. Buffett you are like that 86-year old man who has smoked six packs of cigarettes daily all his life and is still alive. But anyone younger must not follow him and must remember that base rates don’t justify such acts. In fact, I had to answer a lot of difficult questions my children posed after seeing you consuming Coca Cola and See’s candies in your latest AGM.
WB: Well, Vishal, you may have a point here and I am not promoting the consumption of such things to the younger generation. But you see, I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old. It’s the safest course I can take.
Me: Ha ha! I believe your never-ending cheerfulness and happiness is what has kept you going so long, else the Cokes, the chocolate ice-creams and potato chips would have messed up with you much earlier.
WB: Vishal, I think it was David Ogilvy who had it right when he said – “Develop your eccentricities when young. That way, when you get older, people won’t think you are going gaga.” My family feels that we overreacted to David’s advice. But that’s the way I have chosen to live my life, and I have no regrets about it.
Me: Mr. Munger is older than you by almost six years, and you two seem to be following each other in your eating and happiness habits.
WB: You are right. But don’t expect us to change.
Me: Well, Mr. Buffett, as per your actuarial life expectancy, you have about five more years to live, and as per your own Berkshire Hathaway’s insurance arm’s calculations, you have just two years to go. What do you say about that?
WB: Well, Vishal, junk those numbers! If enjoying life promotes longevity, we will put in jeopardy the record of Methuselah, who as per the Bible lived 969 years.
Me: You seem to be in the pinkest of health and spirits and all set to do that, Mr. Buffett.
WB: Thanks Vishal! Charlie and I have gotten the opportunity to paint our own painting every day and it’s a painting that will never be finished. We love it.
Me: Certainly, Mr. Buffett. Happy birthday once again!
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.