POCONOS MOUNTAINS, Penn. – Former Philadelphia resident and a lifelong follower of the straight edge lifestyle Craig Holden celebrated his 145th birthday this week in a remote wooded cabin, completely drug free and totally alone.
Scientists believe that Holden’s dedication to the counter culture lifestyle is the reason behind his incredibly long life. Holden’s doctor Dr. Rodney Steiner has been studying the aging straight edger more than 40 years.
“Craig is a unique case. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather all attended to him as a physician and really worked to understand the relationship between his mortality and straight edge. It took a while because for about 110 years there really wasn’t a name for straight edge. People just thought he was a killjoy and a finicky prude looking for attention. It has paid dividends for him though it’s amazing what refusing alcohol, tobacco, drugs, promiscuous sex, and popular music can do when applied at the level Craig has,” Dr. Steiner remarked.
Holden was a longtime fixture in the Philadelphia underground music scene and remained involved through his 50s.
“I saw friends come and go. When I turned 21 that was an especially hard year. Lots of friends sold out by using alcohol and pipe tobacco. Not to mention that was 1892 and there was a terrible cholera outbreak that swept through Pennsylvania,” said Holden from his remote mountain cabin.
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For Holden the moving on never stopped. “Decades and decades go by but soon everyone slips up. They are all morally weak and all give in. It doesn’t matter how ‘down for the cause’ they are, or how ‘true ’til death’ they are. I cut off my last crew back when I was 120 because I found out they broke edge taking ‘lifesaving’ heart medicine and blood pressure pills,” Holden said dourly. “Sell outs man, fucking sell outs.”
This year Holden plans to spend his birthday enjoying some of his favorite releases on vinyl with his peregrine falcon, Ian. Dr. Steiner believes that Holden will probably outlive him. “Craig is a living wonder. We are close to determining whether it is the straight edge lifestyle or if he is just too stubborn to die.”
Photo by Justin Gonyea.