Scientists may be close to figgerin’ out a way we can all live forever or at least for a thousand years. They think there is something called a “telomere” that if prevented from shortening, our bodies can be kept from deteriorating. An exciting notion, until you start thinking it through.
First, the obvious: I deserve to be around for a thousand years, because I’m a pretty fabulous guy — but I don’t think my neighbor does. I’ve been tolerating his crap for over 20 years, and the thought of watching him put up those stupid inflatable Christmas decorations for another thousand Christmases is too much to ask.
Second, my wife has informed me that “forever” is not in her marriage contract. A central tenant of her marriage policy is “until death do us part, and then you’re on your own.” She believes even life sentences should come to an end. So living forever means, at some point, I will eventually have to learn how to run the dryer.
The social implications of overcrowding will be an issue. Death provides an important cleansing service. For the most part, graveyards are simply brimming with millions of horribly disagreeable people, and the majority of us are glad that they’re there and not still living next to us. I prefer Strom Thurmond permanently planted at the local cemetery rather than living next to me for eternity. Imagine having to listen to Joan Rivers for 900 years screaming “Oh, grow up,” or worse, an eternity of the Kardashians. Death is nature’s way of saying “Nope, I was wrong, let’s try this again.”
And where would new people live? The entire planet will become a ginormous old folks’ home. Everything will smell like Ben Gay and there will be old, ratty slippers everywhere. Driving will be a nightmare, with billions of ancient people driving at a snail’s pace in huge Cadillacs equipped with curb feelers.
Besides, what do you call a May-December romance between a 900 year old and 600 year old? True love? Really disturbing? Or pedophilia? In any case, buying stock in Viagra may be a wise move; you could become a billionaire on Viagra futures.
So let’s think about how this might actually play out.
What will your children look like at age 600? Your once adorable little tyke will now resemble Frankenstein, but not nearly as good looking. The urge to hug the old relic and say “I love you, dear” will have faded at about year 300. You’ll spend most of your time shuttling back and forth between the hospital and NAPA auto parts looking for spare pituitary glands and neck bolts.
That idiotic relative you can’t stand and you secretly wish would visit the great beyond, won’t. If there is a pile of dust on the kitchen floor, do you sweep it up, or worry that it might be grandma?
Will our pets benefit from the same immortality arrangement? Do you have any idea how much friggin’ dog food an Irish wolf hound goes through in a thousand years?
What about retirement age? My life’s goal has been to make it to 65 so I can collect whatever the government will part with, never get off the couch again, and die lazy. So the thought of working until age 865 is frightening, to say the least. And that still leaves another hundred and thirty five years to live off my savings, which I’ve already spent, at the package store. I like my beer, so kill me.
Yet another problem: Looks are very important and they haven’t told me what I will look like if I live to a thousand. I’m really not interested in living forever if I look like Methuselah on crack, and my saggin’ ass doesn’t arrive until five minutes after I do.
Assuming scientists have figgered out how to keep me alive for a thousand years, it stands to reason they will have solved other things. At the very least, this should mean not having to suffer the humiliation of the dreaded colon invasion anymore. I’ll simply yank out 23 feet of intestine every few years and replace it with some garden hose from Home Depot, so that one goes in the plus column. But it brings up other questions, such as: Will our refrigerators be stocked with spare thumping hearts and a lung or two, in case Aunt Millie needs to swap one out during canasta? Will my bedside table be full of extra kidneys and sphincter muscles instead of the dozens of triple A batteries and rubber bands it currently contains? Can I swap parts with other people? Cuz I’d love to have Matt Damon’s waistline, and what the hell, maybe even try out a pair of breasts. Will our teeth grow endlessly like beavers, or eventually wear away to dull nubs so we’ll all be left gumming hash browns for eternity? I really need some answers here before I make the leap to immortality.
Finally, it occurs to me that I’ll have to pay an awful lot of taxes if I live forever. On the other hand, if I keep working for another nine hundred years, I might get close to paying off my mortgage and at least one of my kids’ college educations. But even living forever won’t make a dent in my Visa bill.
Oh, and what about the religious among us? If they don’t get to die, they’ll never get to see how wrong they were.
I don’t know about you, but that graveyard is looking better all the time.