Medical science is at it again, this time filling our heads with the crazy idea that many of us living today are going to live to be 100 years old or more (without even giving us a chance to get a second opinion). I have always thought 72 a fair and sociable timeframe for winding down the party (76 for women - only time we gentlemen may go first). It wasn’t that long ago when our stooped, asthmatic Victorian forbearers seldom lived past age 40. (And who could blame them?) And what about Australopithecus? If he made it to 23, the pandemonium on the savannah would go on for weeks. But try telling him he still has another 80 years of chasing mammoths all over the subtropics, and he’ll get a heart arrhythmia just thinking about it.
My problem is that I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing over all this extra lifetime, except for staying out of everyone’s way. Younger generations will all be pushing and shoving everybody and making a ruckus. After all, these will be their peak pushing and shoving and making-a-ruckus years, and I’ll be taking cover. According to my understanding of Mr. Charles Darwin, turtles represent a fine standard on just how to stay out of harm’s way into your 100s (please don’t quote me on this - in fact, I wouldn’t mention it at all). Our crafty reptilian friends taught me three important survival rules: keep a slow, steady course, never make a sudden move, and most importantly, duck inside at the first sign of danger. To say nothing of their theory of never leaving your house at all.
But there’s another problem. I don’t believe I can afford to live to be 100. Taking into account every penny I have so far for my retirement, I estimate that if I retired today I could afford to live until the end of this calendar year. Anything longer would require that I forage for food and ferret out a little secret home in someone’s tool shed.
So, I’ll need a financial plan to help me stretch my dollars (although the stretching I need may be against the Geneva Conventions):
First, to hedge against inflation, I’ll have to buy several decades worth of canned food at today’s lower prices. These would be brands packed with scrumptious, unidentifiable gristle with just enough flavor to vaguely suggest the taste and aroma of the original food source. Thanks to the label, I’d know whether I was having my turkey or my tuna “Delights.”
Next, for my health care, I will be closing my eyes and taking placebos, seeing as they do only slightly worse than most of our regular medications, and they are much cheaper. A box of Tic Tacs, for example, costs less than a dollar, and is for many of us a treatment guaranteed effective for any ailment.
Finally, to help fill up all that extra life span, I could join the underground bunker where others my age will be hiding out and engaging in traditional retirement hobbies -- bricklaying, glass-cutting, sculpting, and learning to play the organ. Over 40 years of this, we could wind up with a fair-sized cathedral and attract small, charitable donations to cover the cost of our Tic Tacs.