Saturday, October 25, 2008

If I Could Live To Be A Million...

In 1969 The Moody Blues, one of my favorite bands, put out an album called "To Our Childrens Childrens Children". In genealogy terms that means my great grandchildren. On that album were two songs, "I Never Thought I'd Live to Be A Hundred" and I Never Thought I'd Live To Be A Million". Besides having a certain amount of reverence for the incredible idea of having two songs on the same album with the same tune with the same name except for the last word, it is a song that has always made me think, something that none of my teachers accomplished.

Would I want to live to be a million? Or five hundred?

Well, when I bring that question up in casual conversations most people that I talk to say no and that's before they even know the conditions.

So I pose the question to you. Would you like to live to be five hundred?

You would be in relatively good health, which means you're not a vegetable, you can walk, drive, converse. You would have all of your mental capacities including all of your senses. Diminished slightly but you'd have them.

You wouldn't look like a prune, more like Paul Newman or Audrey Hepburn. Before they died. You'd still have your personality, you'd be able to sing, learn new things, play the guitar if you could before, learn to play it if you didn't. Your memory would be as sharp as can be expected and you would behave much as you do now, with choices and consequences for those choices. You would experience love and hate, joy and sorrow, new life's and the deaths of friends. If you forgot to zip up after going to the bathroom you probably still would. If you forgot to zip down, well, maybe you don't want to be five hundred.

You have to make the decision that you might be without your spouse. Or accept the fact that over 470 years together might grate on each others nerves. You'd get tired of chicken and , sandwiches, may even steak. You'll have seen things that others have only read about in history books. You'll be history.

Any takers? I've only found one so far and we agreed to hang out together somewhere around age 125.

I'm in. I like this world. And despite every one's effort to say that we're destroying it I love this earth. And it's not the prospect of dying that makes me want to live to be five hundred. It's the prospect of living. I think that knowing that most of us won't be around much past 80 let alone 500 stops us from doing things that remind us that we are alive.

Besides, can you imagine how much money you can get from Social Security if you live to be 500? 428 years of monthly checks! I'd be happy just because I was getting more than I put in.

What? There won't be any Social Security? Well dream smasher, I'm setting the conditions and it will be still paying out checks to me in the year 2458. Global warming will have come and gone a dozen or so times, same for global cooling. We'll find that oil and other natural resources will be enhanced by new technologies to be efficient or we'll have come up with alternate methods of energy.

Somewhere around age 115 they'll start asking me to be on TV talk shows as the oldest man in the world. Kids will write me letters asking me what its like to be the oldest man. I'll have a steady source of income as a analyst/expert on talk and news shows. I won't be a Republican or a Democrat, I'll just be an American, kind of like right now. I'll finally be in the Guiness Book Of Records.

My children will still be around because they will choose to be 500 also. My wife, she'll go 3 years before me so she won't be lonely (But I don't think she wants to be 500). The last 30 years of my children's lives will be the toughest because I'll already be gone and they'll have to miss me. My class reunion will have an attendance of one after about 2048.

And through the centuries that I live some things will never change. I'll still have hope and faith, still like my old t-shirts, my favorite song will still be from 1973, and I'd still want to drive one of my old cars. Of course I might need the 500 years to get them restored. I would still prefer green over blue, stripes over solids, real potato's over potato flakes.

I'd never get tired of looking at the ocean and hearing the tide go in and out. I would never tire of having a child hold my finger as we walked, pulling my finger to get a laugh and falling asleep on my chest when the day just got too long for them. Flowers would amaze me, the smell of fresh cut grass would still set off memories, I'd still catch snow on my tongue and teach my grandchildren to make snow angels.

And some things would change. I'd withdraw from the rat race and become more involved in the human race. My home would be in a small town where I could know my neighbor a little better. My happiness would come from what I have, not from what I want.

So yes, I'd live to be five hundred years old and once I get close to that I might make the choice to be a million.

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