Life Extension

I keep hearing all this stuff about how people are living longer these days, much longer than past generations, and isn’t all so very exciting. And how scientists (or whoever’s in charge of these studies or experiments or tests) are finding ways to extend our lives — which always conjures up an image of a huge simmering pot of Hamburger Helper “extending” many many pounds of ground meat.
From what I can remember, having eaten a lot of that stuff as a kid, Hamburger Helper is pretty damned tasty. It takes a lump of boring meat and makes it into a fiesta! But, see, that doesn’t translate so well for meat shaped like people. Because, hey, let’s face it, once this species reaches very very old age, it doesn’t hold up so well. And yeah yeah yeah, I know there’s more to life than what you look like and how healthy you are, and yeah yeah yeah, I know the mind can still be sharp and Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 350 years old and there’s some guy in Russia who’s managed to reach 162 just by eating yogurt and swimming in freezing water every morning.
But still. Most people, by the time they reach ages approaching the century mark, aren’t exactly holding up too well, and many suffer from blindness, incontinence, loss of hearing, brittle bones, dementia, and a severe decline in sense of style. You see it all the time when the latest oldest person in the world dies and home videos are shown on the news of the person propped up in a wheelchair, blind and deaf and toothless and forced to wear a birthday hat. Doesn’t look like much of a party, does it. So why tack on another 25 or 30 years?
I could see if life expectancy hovered around 30 and the plan was to tack on a few more decades at the end of the usual run. The additional years could actually be enjoyed, and who knows, maybe even be productive. Not to mention that a lot of people are at the peak of their unbelievable hotness when they’re in their 40s. But giving someone another couple of decades of debilitating old age? I don’t know. If this whole life extension thing is going to be all the rage, I think someone had better figure out how to arrange it so that the additional years are somehow added to the middle, like an extender leaf in a dining room table, and not just tagged on to the end of a person’s ordinary life span.
If it’s going to become more common to live to riper old age, I don’t want to just sit around all propped up and wait to become the brownest banana in the bunch — the one everyone wants to discard but feels sorry for, but keeps around and says they’ll make into banana bread … soon … but secretly waits for it to completely blacken so they don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Tip:  To keep bananas fresher longer, store them with their curved side UP. If they complain that it’s a little uncomfortable, explain to them that it’s for their own good.