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Longevity | Off Kilter


Last updated 11/13/2020 at 7:31am

A local guy that used to play tennis with us passed away last month. He had reached the age of 100. In fact, he played tennis until he was in his early 90’s (automatically becoming sort of my hero).

I got to thinking about longevity. I’ve read that with advances in science, we may someday be able to live to be 200 years old. If you read science fiction perhaps, by then, as your original body finally wears out, they will then be able to transplant either your entire head or just your brain into another younger body. Thereby raising the possibility of immortality. While this may seem very farfetched, we know based upon Einstein’s theory of general relativity that as one approaches the speed of light that time slows down. So if we were able to get up to, say, 90%, the speed of light in a rocket ship, and travel a number of years in that ship, arrive at some destination in another solar system, then turn around and return to Earth, while only perhaps a decade would have elapsed on one’s body, back on Earth a few hundred years would have elapsed.

While this is not immortality, it would give one that feeling as you’d arrive back on Earth 200 years or so in the future. It would seem as if you’d have lived 200 years on Earth – which in fact you would have in Earth’s reference frame. It might even be possible that you’d read that the Mariners had actually won a world series or two. And that Seattle had finally acquired another professional basketball team. And that Microsoft Windows 137 had just been released.

So if one accepts that in some form, very long extended life might be possible, how would you look at life?

Well, a couple of obvious things would occur. First of all you, by definition, would look at time differently. No longer would the expression “as soon as possible” have much meaning. Why would anything have to be as soon as possible? How about “by next year” would be your new standard. Next, what would you do with all that time? Well, I’m certain as you settled into your new life, you’d catch up on your reading. So after reading the entire works of Shakespeare, Hemingway, Kipling, Steven King, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Mark Twain and a couple hundred others, then you would get started on catching up on your favorite TV shows and movies. First, you’d watch every episode of Seinfeld, Friends, and Cheers a couple hundred times. Then you’d catch up on the Star Wars movie series, then watch all the “Rocky” movies through Rocky 56.

Companionship: If your spouse had taken advantage of these same life extending sciences that you had, then you’d be celebrating your 200th wedding anniversary. Of course, no doubt the romance would have “left” your marriage by then. Or, perhaps you’d be on spouse number 7. Imagine how many heirs would be fighting over your estate. One of the major issues in your house would be keeping track of which set of false teeth belonged to each spouse and seeing if the freeze dried coffee in the closet was still drinkable.

Then you could walk out into your garage and take a ride in your 2020 Porsche, which by then would be worth several million dollars.

Of course, one of the problems with inflation over that period of time could present its own problems. You’d call up the bank and discover that your IRA was then worth $56 million. Then you’d go to the local store and buy a quart of milk, which you’d be shocked to discover then cost $1,500.

Last, at some point you’d be retired. Then you and your spouse could discuss what your plans would be for the day.

Retired couple: Wife: What are you going to do today? Husband: I thought I’d get the mail then get an ice cream. Wife: Why do everything in one day?

And imagine how much nose hair you’d have.


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