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It’s an established fact that married men live longer than single ones. Seventeen years longer, according to Health Research Funding. Given I’m over 70 now, that puts me in the extra-years zone, which must be blamed on my wife. When I accused her, she simply replied, “You’re welcome.”

Maybe you’ve noticed it, too: our wives aren’t just striving to keep us going a little longer, they are attempting to make us live forever, totally dependent on them as our life support system.

That’s got to be it, because we know married guys aren’t living longer just because of the energy they save having their wives do the house cleaning. Let’s face it, we would never have expended that effort on our own. Think back to your last bachelor pad. Did you waste money on buying a vacuum cleaner? Of course not. And that’s my point.

We are living longer because our wives are forcing us to. Healthier food, less beer and booze, no smoking, and in my case, even stretching and strength training. Yes, I’ll admit I do feel better as a result, and probably the rest of you do, as well. But it’s not our fault and I can prove it. The National Center for Health Statistics finds the death rate of widowers is almost three times as high as life-long bachelors.

Why? I’ll tell you why. Left unsupervised, most of us would head to the nearest fast-food joint for a double-cheese burger with supersized fries. Then we’d stop by a local watering hole for a few beers and maybe a shot or two. It would be big steaks and tall cocktails, until the paramedics found us sprawled in front of the giant-screen TV we bought with the life insurance money.

How do I know this would happen? Because we are out of practice. Our wives have laid a trap by taking such good care of us. When it comes to all the old vices, we are out of shape and lack the experience to live that way safely.

So, what can we do? Well, that’s the tough part. It’s too late to turn back. Our only alternative is to accept our fate and take the best care of our wives we can. After all, it appears we can’t live without them.

Scott Funk lives, works, and writes (and gardens) in Vermont. His Boomer Funk columns are available at www.VermontFunk.com, as are his blogs and archived Aging in Place columns. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.