Death and taxes

Living forever sounds like a full-time job to me, and doesn’t seem to include the orange juice and a half a bag of Ruffles® I had for breakfast.

Photo of tax form.

Here’s some senior humor by Charleston Mercury columnist, Patra Taylor.

You grew older today (no kidding)

Benjamin Franklin said, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” If you believe Ray Kurzweil, the modern-day Thomas Edison, by the end of the 21st century Franklin’s adage may have to be altered to read, “The only thing certain in life is taxes.”

Kurzeweil, a proponent of the coming singularity–a technological “event horizon,” of sorts, in which we mere humans will be able to augment our bodies and minds with a cocktail that includes genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics resulting in the emergence of greater-than-human super-intelligence–teamed up with Terry Grossman, M.D. to devise a prescription to halt the aging process so we can all be around (barring being hit by a meteor) in mid-century when our evolution is expected to take a giant leap forward. Here’s what these two suggest in their book, “Transcend”:

“You grew older today, but did you age as well? If you drank a few cups of green tea, had five servings of fruits and vegetables, exercised for a least 30 minutes at your target heart rate, took nutritional supplements optimized for your age and health situation, spent quality time with close friends and loved ones, consumed a glass of red wine, had a romantic (and sexual!) time with your spouse or significant other, and got eight hours of quality sleep, then you probably aged very little if at all.”

Living forever (which is Kurzweil’s goal) sounds like a full-time job to me, and doesn’t seem to include the orange juice and a half a bag of Ruffles® I had for breakfast. But Kurzweil and Grossman really blew my mind when they suggested that those of us in our “new middle age” should resort to doing that–you know, the X word–every single day to halt aging! Really? Everyday?

It’s reported that Kurzweil figured out how to cure his own Type 2 diabetes, so it’s hard not to take the guy seriously. So if I have to engage in the “X word” every day in order to finally evolve into the super-human intellect that is not currently reflected in my college transcripts, then so be it.

The “X word”

It’s just that I hate engaging in the “X word.” My idea of exercise is taking the parking space farthest away from the door at the grocery store, then buying myself a Snickers® as a reward for walking so far. My idea of exercise is carrying as many bags of groceries into the house at once (my father refer to that as a “lazy man’s load”) so I don’t have to make as many trips. My idea of exercise…well, you get the picture. I’m sweat adverse, a disease to which I hope there is no cure.

However, I am so intrigued with the concept of the coming singularity, that moment in the future when we humans literally merge with our technology, that you might just see me out walking the neighborhood every morning from now on. I am particularly fascinated with the part of the singularity where we humans will be able to augment our bodies. I’m hoping we’re not stuck with an R2-D2 body situation, because, if you will allow me a moment of shallowness (which I’m sure my husband will fully support) I’m only interested in more of a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader body option.

It’s interesting to think about just how a 200-year-old earthly consciousness will coexist with a 20-year-old hot cheerleader body. Further contemplation on the matter quickly reveals that skinny-dipping in stone quarries with Catholic high school boys is definitely out of the question. And going panty-less to your cousin’s funeral–the cousin who got hit by that meteor–is also not an option.

The creepy possibilities aside, we are the first generation of humans that might have a chance of living forever here on beautiful planet earth. Now if we could just get rid of the damn taxes, we’d be all set.

Copyright © 2019 by Patra Taylor Bucher. All rights reserved.

This column first appeared in the October 15, 2012 issue of The Charleston Mercury.

Need a little more of Patra Taylor’s biting humor? Check out these articles:

The wolf, the chocolates and the curse jar, Part 1

Science fair may draw cynical parents closer to nature

Consents, concerns and failure to fit

Author: Patra Taylor

A freelance writer for three decades, Patra Taylor is currently a regular columnist and features correspondent for the Charleston Mercury. In that capacity, she has interviewed numerous Charleston celebrities along with a few national figures including FOX News political commentator, Tucker Carlson; Washington, D.C. insider-turned-winemaker, Bear Dyke; and country music singer/songwriter, Philip Claypool. She is also a regular contributor to Charleston Style and Design and the Southeast Film Guide.

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