Let’s take a breather and talk longevity.
Driving from upstate New York to New York City after the World Speedgolf Championships, Mía Moore notices an Apple news story about the world’s oldest barber – OMG his town of Newburgh, NY is en route! And I also need a haircut. So, we exit the turnpike or whatever you east coast people call a “freeway” and drop into a nondescript strip mall, enter a Fantastic Cuts shop, and there he is: Anthony Mancinelli – Guinness World Record holding oldest living barber – age 107. He’s been cutting hair since he was 11 years old, for 96 years and counting.
Mr. Mancinelli is as sharp as a tack and we had a great conversation during my excellent cut, where he was on his feet for 25 minutes concentrating hard. When asked his secret to his longevity, he said confidently that, “there are no secrets.” A widower for the past 14 years, he lives alone, makes his own food, does his own chores, drives to work, and puts in 40 hours a week of hard work on his feet most of the time. He reports no aches or pains, takes no prescriptions, and only visits the doctor (“what for?,” he exclaims) when his loved ones force him to. Mancinelli discounts any genetic advantage, noting how he lost six brothers and sisters in their 70s-80s. His father lived to “only” 80, mother 70. Which are actually quite impressive when you consider how long ago that was. He says that the Lord must be watching over him as explanation for why he is still going strong.
Right now Mark Sisson and I are researching and writing a book about longevity, and while Mr. Mancinelli professes no secrets, the first observation that jumps out is his youthful spirit. This is something that Dr. Deepak Chopra references frequently in his studies of centenarians. Me. Mancinelli shared a story with me about a 73-year-old client who complained about having to lower into the barber chair, as these things get more difficult as you age. The client said “you know what I mean? You must be 73?” Mancinelli replied, “no, I’m not 73. But my kid is.” We all have the potential to embody a youthful spirit at whatever age, especially as the complaints, excuses, and rationalizations start to creep in.
Remember, everywhere we look, we are surrounded by consumerism the forces and cultural traditions telling us to get more lazy and more comfortable. In the name of technological progress luxury living. This stuff is a big fat lie, because more satisfaction comes when you do hard work, are mobile and active and making a contribution to the community. I had a great visit and conversation, but was most profoundly affected by what I saw in the background as I was leaving the salon: Mr. Mancinelli quietly sweeping up—not only the hair from my cut, but also covering the neighboring stylist’s area to keep the whole joint tidy. Just another day at the salon.
His siblings and parents passed away in the 70s and 80s. He doesn’t know his secret. [00:05:22]
He works 40 hours per week. [00:07:30]
In his spare time he works around the house, cooking and cleaning. [00:08:10]
When he started out he bought a brand new Ford for $500. It used to cost 25 cents for a haircut. Houses cost $6000 or $7000. [00:08:55]
He is a veteran of both World War I and World War II. [00:12:46]
Does he know anyone his age? He doesn’t go to the doctor because he feels fine. He takes one baby aspirin a day. [00:14:28]
What kind of food does he eat? [00:18:06]
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Speaker: Brad Kearns and Anthony Mancinelli
Brad Kearns:Welcome to the Get Over Yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
“Sitting here getting a haircut from the world’s oldest barber.”
Welcome to a breather show about one of my favorite topics – longevity. Usually, it’s just a theoretical topic, right? Wouldn’t it be neat to live to 100 and feel great the whole time? Yes. What are some lifestyle practices we can engage in to promote longevity? I’m actually working with Mark Sisson on a book right now about that very topic, especially how the ketogenic diet applies to longevity goals.
So, here I am in upstate New York, competing in the super exciting, fun world speed golf championships, three rounds in four days, getting set to hit the highway and drive into New York City for more fun and games and excitement. And Mia Moore’s there. You know her from the Mia Moore Show, reading her Apple newsfeed on her phone and notices an interesting story about the Guinness World Record holding oldest living barber; Anthony Mancinelli from Newburgh New York.
What an interesting article with assorted, spicy, sharp quotes from the man who’s 107 – years-old, breaking a new Guinness World Record every single day that he reports to work. He’s been cutting hair since he was 11 and on and on with these great quotes. As I’m sitting across the room doing research on the topic of longevity and then, oh my gosh, Mia Moore says, “Guess what? Newburgh New York.” Why? That’s on our way downstate.
So, we drive into this little hamlet, show up to this nondescript shopping mall where there’s the fantastic cuts location. Walk in and there he is waiting to cut my hair. Anthony Mancinelli, what an amazing experience to talk to this guy. He’s as sharp as a tack. You got to talk a little bit loud. That’s the only concession. And he was holding court on a variety of topics. You’ll hear our nice Q&A.
It was a bustling shop, beauty Salon. So, sorry if the sound quality wasn’t perfect. But I captured some interesting insights. One of my favorites when asked what the secret is to his longevity, he shrugged the question off, “Of course, there’s no secrets.” And he mentioned how he said goodbye to his five or six brothers and sisters long ago. They lived into their 70’s and 80’s. He claimed that it’s not even in the genes because his parents only lived to 80 father and 70 mother. And I’m like, “Dude, that’s not bad for a long time ago, right? If their son is 107-years-old.”
But his nonchalant attitude was really interesting and I think there are secrets that are extracted just from his mindset and his youthful spirit. And he loves the attention and he definitely soaks it up and he has his canned answers that he knows go over well with the media. But at the same time, he’s just a guy who shows up to work every day. He works 40 hours in the week in the barber shop. Some of my questions, he’s like, “Well, of course, I work 40 hours a week. I got two days off. That’s plenty to get my errands done and hang out at the house.”
He cooks for himself, lives alone, drives to work every day. One of my favorite answers was when I asked him if he drove every day. He looked at me like I was crazy. Like, how else is he going to get there? So, he drives himself to work. You’ll be amused at what kind of car he drives, or his answer to that question.
What more can I say here? Here’s some conversation with my brush from a real live, living, breathing example of longevity. Quick sound bites, I would say thank you Mia Moore for chiming in, in the background of the recording.
He seems like a chill guy that doesn’t sweat the small stuff – number one. And number two, he has a youthful spirit. He does not see himself as old and needing assistance. He said that he doesn’t go to the doctor. Why should he? He’s not sick. He doesn’t take any medications. He has no aches and pains or complaints of that nature. Just doing his thing.
The most touching thing I saw after finishing taking the pictures and filming him and saying goodbye, and giving him a little tip for his nice job that he did. We’re walking out of the place and I look over and there he is, 107-year-old man, sweeping up my hair after a haircut – that feels kind of funny, got to say. And then he’s got the broom out and he’s going all the way over to the neighboring station. A young lady who just finished a haircut, and cleaning up after her too. Making a big pile, putting it in the trash. You can see a little clip on my Instagram; Bradkearns1, of this guy doing his thing at the salon.
What a pleasure and a privilege to get a haircut from Anthony Mancinelli in Newburgh, New York. Enjoy the conversation.
How young did they pass away? Your brothers and sisters?
Anthony Mancinelli:I don’t how I’ve been living this long. My father was only 80-years-old when he passed away. My brothers all died young. My sister, she was 89. My mother was only 70 when she passed away, and I don’t know what it about me. I don’t know. I guess the good Lord wants to keep me here for long.
Brad Kearns:Someone’s got to cut hair.
Anthony Mancinelli:They need a barber, I don’t know. I must be doing something right, and he’s rewarding me with long life.
Brad Kearns:No secrets you say.
Anthony Mancinelli:Everybody thinks I’ve got a secret, I don’t know. If I had a secret, I’d give to my brothers. They all passed away young. Six brothers gone.
Brad Kearns:Well, that’s pretty good for your parents to live to be 80 and 70 that long ago. That’s pretty old for them, right?
Brad Kearns:If your father lived to be 80 a long time ago, that’s really good. That’s impressive. Just like 107 is pretty impressive and counting of course. Sitting here, getting a haircut from the world’s oldest barber. [Spanish 00:07:12]
Mia Moore:Nothing. I think his secret is not sweating the small stuff. That’s the big secret. Taking life, what comes is what-
Brad Kearns:I also like the story of how he’d come to work every day and has a purpose and a contribution working. How many hours do you work, sir?
Brad Kearns:How many hours do you work here in a week?
Anthony Mancinelli:40 hours.
Brad Kearns:So, he works a 40-hour work week at 107.
Anthony Mancinelli:Five days a week.
Brad Kearns:They’d probably give him time off if he asked, but he doesn’t need it. The guy is fine.
Mia Moore:He doesn’t call in sick.
Brad Kearns:Right, that was from the article, huh?
Anthony Mancinelli:I have two days off. That’s all I need.
Brad Kearns:That’s all you need, right?
Anthony Mancinelli:Yes. Every Wednesday and Friday I’m off. The rest of the week I’m working.
Brad Kearns:What do you do in your spare time?
Brad Kearns:What do you do in your spare time at home?
Anthony Mancinelli:Nothing. You know, stay home, do some cooking and some cleaning. As I said, my wife passed away. She was 89. We were married 69 years. And she passed away when she was 89.
Anthony Mancinelli:That’s only 14 years ago. I’ve been alone for 14 years. I do my own cooking, my own cleaning. I do it myself.
Brad Kearns:And you still drive, right?
Brad Kearns:You still drive?
Anthony Mancinelli:Oh yeah.
Brad Kearns:Of course, of course. What kind of car?
Anthony Mancinelli:Can’t even think of the name. It’s [inaudible 00:09:16].
Brad Kearns:It’s younger than you. I know that. It’s younger than you.
Anthony Mancinelli:When they showed a clip, haircut, has changed, a quarter.
Brad Kearns:A quarter, huh?
Anthony Mancinelli:Yep. 15 cents for a haircut, 10 cents for a shave.
Brad Kearns:And what did a car cost then?
Brad Kearns:What did a car cost or a house?
Anthony Mancinelli:A car, you bought a brand new Ford for $500.
Brad Kearns:What about a house?
Anthony Mancinelli:Not too many cars out there because people didn’t make that much money.
Brad Kearns:Oh, right.
Anthony Mancinelli:But at $500, you’d get a brand new car.
Brad Kearns:What did a house cost in New York?
Anthony Mancinelli:I was wondering how they could make it. All that metal they use for $500 and still make a profit.
Brad Kearns:Amazing. What was a rent or a house cost then?
Brad Kearns:How much was rent or house cost back then? When the haircuts were a quarter, how much did a house cost?
Anthony Mancinelli:A house?
Anthony Mancinelli:Oh, you bought a house 6 or $7,000.
Brad Kearns:Six or seven big ones. That’s like points now. Wow.
Anthony Mancinelli:You had no five cents a quart delivered to your home.
Brad Kearns:Oh, the milkman, sure.
Anthony Mancinelli:And it was milk with cream and everything. Today, there’s no cream, no, nothing. It’s just plain water. “I call it white water”. I don’t call it milk. Because there’s nothing it. They take all the cream out. Years ago, five cents for a quart delivered to your home. The milkman used to come-
Brad Kearns:Yeah, the milk went away in the ‘70s.
Anthony Mancinelli:Yeah, way back.
Brad Kearns:Did you have an icebox or a refrigerator?
Anthony Mancinelli:Ice box. Nobody had a refrigerator.
Brad Kearns:So, you had to have the iceman come too, right?
Anthony Mancinelli:The iceman. Yeah, [Alexi 00:11:43], I don’t know if you know the new version now. Alexi used to be a pond … that’s where he manufactured the ice. It was getting cold [inaudible 00:11:57]. I used to watch him cut the ice in blocks and then package [inaudible 00:12:08] type of garage. You put one layer, one up and then put straw, put another layer and layer it up. And it kept the ice all summer long.
Brad Kearns:All summer, it would stay cold?
Anthony Mancinelli:I used to watch him cut the ice.
Brad Kearns:That was in Newburgh, huh?
Anthony Mancinelli:Yeah. Newburgh.
Brad Kearns:You lived here your whole life? Have you lived here?
Brad Kearns:Yeah, wow.
Anthony Mancinelli:I was in Europe the First World War. I saw the First World War, I’m a veteran in the Second World War.
Brad Kearns:Right, so you immigrated here after the war?
Brad Kearns:You immigrated here after the war from where? What country?
Anthony Mancinelli:Well, I had my shop before I went in to service. I had to close up my shop because I was called out, a soldier. I closed up my barber shop and then I came back and opened up again in Newburgh. I was there for 40 years. I had my own barber shop. Then I got out of there. I sold it because things were getting bad. All these dope addicts would come and hang around my shop, and I was afraid I was going to get robbed or murdered or something. So, I got out, I sold it, and I came here. Otherwise, I had my own barber shop in Newburgh.
Brad Kearns:How long have you been here?
Anthony Mancinelli:[Inaudible 00:14:29] all the barbers that I knew, are all gone.
Brad Kearns:Do you know anyone around your age? Do you know any people that are 100?
Anthony Mancinelli:They’re all gone. Everyone is gone. Nobody I know who barbers here reached the age of 100. They all died before … some of them got in the 80’s, as far as the 80’s and that’s it.
Brad Kearns:Yeah, it’s tough to keep going after that.
Anthony Mancinelli:I don’t know of a barber who’s 100.
Brad Kearns:Right there says Guinness World Records.
Anthony Mancinelli:I must be doing something right, I don’t know. I don’t know what it is.
Brad Kearns:Well, I like how you come to work every day, and keep busy.
Anthony Mancinelli:[Inaudible 00:15:45]. But I’m thankful. [Inaudible 00:16:02].
Brad Kearns:No aches and pains or anything? You’re standing up for a long time.
Anthony Mancinelli:I had a doctor who comes here. He begged me … he comes here and he – “Did you ever go to a doctor?” I said, “What for?” “You should go.” “Like why? I feel fine. I go to the doctor, if there’s something’s wrong, I don’t feel right.” “Well, you should go to the doctor [inaudible 00:16:34]. If I came to you, the first he’s going to ask me, what’s my problem? And I’m going to tell you, I have no problem. And you’re going to tell me, ‘What did you come for?’” There you are.
Brad Kearns:Good bye.
Anthony Mancinelli:It’s alright, he says good bye. That’s why I’m telling you, [inaudible 00:16:57]. Then he says, “Well, how do you expect to [inaudible 00:17:05] to make a living?” And I go, “Oh, that’s what you’re looking for?” I suspect that doctors make money, they make a living … they don’t want somebody old here. If he feels right, you can’t do nothing for him, what is he doing here? “You must be taking something, huh?” Yes, I only take one pill a day.
Brad Kearns:What’s that?
Anthony Mancinelli:What’s that? I said, “Baby aspirin.”
Brad Kearns:Oh, baby aspirin, huh?
Anthony Mancinelli:Baby aspirin. Because as you get older, your blood thickens up and you can get a heart attack or something like that. And that’s why I keep the blood thin.
Brad Kearns:That’s cheaper than most prescriptions. What kind of food do you eat? What kind of food do you eat?
Anthony Mancinelli:Anything. [Inaudible 00:18:18]. I want to see what kind of food you’re buying. [Inaudible 00:18:37]. I don’t buy anything special. They all think I buy special food.
Brad Kearns:No longevity foods in the basket. You can probably just even go to Wholefoods man.
Anthony Mancinelli:Can’t get any share [inaudible 00:19:04] because I’m 73-years-old. [Inaudible 00:19:11]. So, he asked me if I was 73 years, no. “Are you older?” He said, “Are you 80?” “No.” “85?” “No.” “Are you 90?” “No” “How old are you?” I told him I was 107, he almost fell off the chair.
Brad Kearns:He almost fell of the chair he couldn’t get on.
Anthony Mancinelli:He tells me, he’s an old man at 73. I said, “You’re only a kid. You’re only a boy. At 73, you call yourself old? At my age, I don’t even call myself old. You can’t do anything – I do everything.” [Inaudible 00:20:05].
Brad Kearns:I love it, beautiful. Thank you. I appreciate it.
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