The Right Coast
December 26, 2005
By Tom Smith
Update here on the coming singularity. I am spending Christmas with my parents, aged 87 and 84 (dad and mom respectively). As I have said before, this whole business of getting old and sick, and then dying, needs to be seriously rethought. My father spends most of the day in bed, is quite deaf, can't see well enough to read or even watch TV very well, and is often in a fairly ornery mood. But he is very grateful that I am here, which is touching since I'm not doing much. My mother is one tough lady. Last night she prepared a Christmas feast, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, asparagus, and local Idaho wines. My brother and I helped some, but the conversation was along the lines of, "Mom, sit down and let me do that;" "Mom, sit down right now, and let me do that!" "MOM, SIT DOWN and let me do that!!" [Mom physically seized, dragged to chair, sat down, and largish man lifts heavy turkey or whatever.]
So this business of super high tech medicine to give us nannite reinforced bodies with titanium skeletons and positronic brains does have its appeal, even if it is fairly evidently a crock. A more achievable goal is to keep exercising until you are like one of those 80 year olds you see in the fitness magazines, who look like a more leathery, wrinkled version of Golum in LOTR. "89 years old and still running trails!" or whatever. It wasn't lack of exercise that got my dad, but cancer and arthritis, both of which clearly suck.
I spent part of the morning combing through the apartment building's dumpster, looking for my dad's dentures, which my mom had thrown away. This was not senility; My mom has been throwing things away, plane tickets, Mickey Mantel baseball cards, etc. for years. There was some trepidation as to what the Judge would say when he discovered this had happened. Fortunately his reaction was measured; "The damn things didn't fit right anyway. I just get some new ones. No big loss." In the future, we will have nannites to find our dentures for us.