104-Year-Old "Strongest Man" Dies In Car Accident
I passed the headline while surfing, but came back to dig on it a moment later, for there was my daily ration for meditation.
It raised various emotions in me, most strikingly, strength and fragility and how life presents itself to us in its myriad interplays.
Joe Rollino once lifted 3,200 pounds at Coney Island Amusement Park and landed the title “Strongest Man in the World.” He was a decorated World War I veteran, and after the war he earned fame as a strongman in the 1920s during hey days of the Coney Island carnival.
Rollino was struck by a minivan as he crossed a major street in Brooklyn and suffered multiple fractures. He succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
He would have turned 105 on March 19 and was in excellent health. He had been a vegetarian, abstained from alcohol and tobacco, and exercised daily. Ten time Golden Glove winner Peter Spanakos called him “A true patriot, and an athlete’s athlete.” Last year, at Rollino’s birthday party Spanakos gave him a quarter, and Rollino bent it between his fingers. After the feat he apologized and said that at one time he could bend a dime that way.
He was an example of fitness and vigor and he demonstrated that people can live to be a centenarian and still be at the prime of their lives. He stretched the boundary of human existence and set a bar for others to cross. Joe was indeed an inspiration setting mark of endurance.
Yet, at the end he showed how frail human life is against the external forces. The greatest miracle is to be alive, and be in good health, and get the simple things done. Everyday living is a miracle, a gift that shall be returned in kindness and hope to others. In that is the fulfillment of individual life.