Lee Pitts: Living forever | TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: Living forever

Recently I read that some babies being born today will be “lucky” enough to live until they are 150 years old!

WHOA! No thank you very much!

In medieval times a peasant could expect to live 25 years and 3,000 years ago most Egyptians died by the time they were 30 because that’s how long their teeth lasted. In that respect they were like gummer cows. Today in America if you reach 65 years of age you can expect to live another 20 years! I can’t even imagine living for 150 years, can you? By my calculations that’s 18 colonoscopies to look forward to! Uggh!!!

Someone’s gonna live to regret this. Does this mean they’ll have to wait until they’re 125 to get Social Security or a Senior Citizen’s discount on the blue plate special at Margie’s Diner? Are those “lucky kids” several generations from now going to want to work for their parents for 100 years for starvation wages just so they can inherit the ranch when they turn 120? Will people be trimming shrubs, mowing lawns, bucking hay bales, throwing calves, riding broncs, and checking- out groceries when they’re 103?

I can see it all now. Three or four generations will all be crammed into a 900 square foot cracker-box house where family members will need name tags. At family barbecues Great-Great-Great grandparents will be boring their younger kin folks with… “Why, I can remember when we read out of things called books and believe it or not, you had to actually drive the car!”

The problem is that our bodies are simply not keeping up with all the technology. Take one look at 85 year olds today with their saggy skin and their criss-cross networks of bulging veins and then imagine that same person 60 years from now! I’ll be 65 my next birthday and already everything in or on my body is either shriveled up, doesn’t work or leaks. I can’t imagine what I’d feel like 75 years from now in the autumn of my life! A significant part of our elderly population already faces the problem that if they hear a leaking faucet it causes them to wet their Depends®. They reach down to straighten their wrinkly socks and realize they aren’t wearing any. Or they sneeze and break their hip. By my rough calculations at 150 years of age people will be working on their fifth set of teeth, their 12th marriage and their tenth ton of bran, prunes and laxatives. You think you spend a lot of time in doctor’s offices now, just wait until you’re 130!

As I understand it, people will live that long in the future because diseases like cancer and heart disease will be wiped out. If you need a new kidney, heart or lung, scientists will just grow you a new one using your stem cells.

Still, I don’t think we’ve thought this one through. This will change all aspects of life and it could wipe out entire industries. If people quit dying I wouldn’t want to be in the mortuary business, for example. Obit writers will be lonelier than the Maytag repair man. A Duggar will have a cable show about their 250 kids and the Mega Lottery will have a payout over 120 years. Kids will be born on Medicare and AARP will hound you for 70 years, instead of 30! Anyone croaking at 100 will be said to have died young and obituaries will run for three pages, listing all the survivors. Couples will celebrate their 100th wedding anniversary and IBM will hand out watches to anyone working for them for a century! Classmates will attend their 130th reunion and lie to each other that they don’t look a day over 120.

Those “lucky’ babies being born now can look forward to 90 years of arthritis, Metamucil®, Coumadin®, wobbly knees and broken hips. They’ll be locked up in some geezer camp where they’ll be bar-coded, warehoused and visited once a year. As a ward of the state they’ll awake only for their annual birthday party. There will be 20 candles on each slice of cake and if all the candles are lit on the cake it could start a three alarm fire that could burn the rest home down.

Well, they can hope can’t they?

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Lee Pitts

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