Old Man Has Tale
In an era of unsubstantiated social media claims, Earl Carpenter prefers a personal touch.
The Man of the Dart. The Man of the Javelin. Sacred texts say he was the oldest person who ever lived…
His name was Methuselah and—in spite of the fact that he is a well-known figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—he is still a largely an enigma centuries after his death.
Or at least… he was.
Earl Carpenter, 72, claims to have met the supposedly long-dead biblical patriarch. OnlySky caught up with Mr. Carpenter to find out more about his chance encounter with the oldest man in history…
OnlySky: Mr. Carpenter, you claim to have met Methuselah, the Bible character believed by many to have lived more than 900 years. Can you tell us about that experience?
Earl Carpenter: Oh, sure.
OS: …Would you tell us about that experience?
EC: Oh! Yeah, he was buying some Certs and a nudie magazine.
OS: And where did this take place?
EC: It was in a gas station. Back then, celebrities still went out and did normal things like go to the gas station or stand around in the grocery store eating grapes or pick up a hooker in plain sight.
OS: So this wasn’t recent?
EC: Oh, no. No, this was back… Phew. It was in the 70s.
OS: We were under the impression you’d met Methuselah recently.
EC: No, no. It was a while ago. Haha, he’d be pretty old by now!
OS: Yet you still make public appearances as The Man Who Met Methuselah.
EC: Yeah and bands who had one hit 40 years ago still tour the oldies circuit.
OS: The two things are hardly comparable.
EC: Look, I haven’t done much with my life. One time I thought I backed over Bigfoot, but it turned out to just be the neighbor boy’s dog. I helped him and his family look for it for several days before I finally told him the dog must have gone back to his home planet like E.T. God, I loved that little guy…
OS: The dog?
OS: We’re… getting off-track.
EC: Yeah, yeah, that was my idea too. I lugged that old dog down to the train tracks and I was gonna toss it onto one of the open cars. I figured Jack Kerouac or whoever could lord it over his hobo friends in some kind of… railyard fashion show. That particular train didn’t have any open cars so I finally just put the dog back in my trunk and abandoned my car. Later I claimed that the man who stole the car was clearly some kind of mysterious stranger who had shot the dog. Probably because the dog witnessed him stealing my car.
OS: Can we get back to the man you claim was Methuselah?
EC: Oh, sure. So, yeah, there I was… I’d just gotten the feeling back in my legs after sitting in the gas station toilet for… oh, about an hour and a half, I guess, reading a feature article in National Geographic. That’s what I always liked about that National Geographic: you got your nudie pictures, but you also learned a little something too. And you could act like you’d been to one of those terrible countries they had in there if you needed to impress a woman or secure a loan.
OS: Uh… huh. What sort of… “nudie magazine” was Methuselah buying?
EC: Oh, it was one of the weird ones. Just Torsos or Sideshow Sexpots or Deformed Divas. One of those.
OS: And– why did you think this man was Methuselah?
EC: Oh, well, he said he was.
OS: He just announced it?
EC: I wouldn’t say he “announced” it. I said, “Hey, old timer, what are you, Methuselah?” and he bobbed his head around like Katherine Hepburn in On Golden Pond. And then he said, “What’s it to you, pilgrim?”
OS: He said, “What’s it to you, pilgrim?”
EC: That he did, yes.
OS: Like John Wayne.
EC: Well. I mean– yes, like John Wayne, but “pilgrim” also has religious significance. Like the pilgrims who came to America who were religious nuts. That’s what he meant. He knew that I was a seeker.
OS: Is this the same story you tell audiences?
EC: Oh, no, I spice it up with a lot more swearing.
OS: And people come to your meet-and-greet events for this… tale?
EC: It makes them feel closer to God.
OS: It absolutely does not.
EC: Well, like they say, your mileage may vary. I think a lot of people come to see me when I appear at a local church or fundraiser because they feel like there’s no magic left in the world anymore.
OS: And you… believe you inject some “magic” into their lives.
EC: Not like– “Hey, that guy was really sawing that lady in half! Look at his eyes! He’s crazy, I tell you! Crazy! Say, where’d he go?” and turns out his vanishing cabinet really worked and who knows when he’ll kill again magic, but a good amount, you know. A good amount.
OS: …Is that all that happened?
EC: Oh, heck no. I went out in the parking lot and I said, “Hey, Methuselah, how’s about giving me one of those breath mints?” and he gave me one.
OS: And then what happened?
EC: It tasted like keys.
OS: Did this man you claim was Methuselah say or do anything of any… significance, whatsoever?
EC: He offered to let me look at his magazine for half the cover price.
OS: Have you no shame, sir?
EC: No, but I have a story about the time I staked the vampire from Dark Shadows. Between the two, I get along okay. Especially during convention season. Uh– Can I interest you in a signed mallet?