The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis County Clipper.
By Bryan Gray
Here is a scary thought: What would the world be like if most of us could live until our 120th birthday?
Scientists are not ruling it out. An Associated Press report noted that life expectancy is being dramatically increased in laboratory mice, worms, and flies, leaving the hope that genetic tinkering could do the same for humans.
But most humans are not stupid Р or at least smarter than members of U.S. Congress. When asked if they would want to live to 120 years of age, 50 percent of Americans were not enthused; in fact, 51 percent said such life expectancy would be bad for society.
I agree. The world would be much different.
We would have to quadruple the number of Chuck-A-Rama buffet restaurants, especially around 3:58 p.m. when the senior citizens jostle in line to get the dinner items at the discounted luncheon prices.
And if you think that is problematic, consider the demand for aging rock star concerts. There would be nothing more disgusting than 107-year-old men joining in with a 112-year-old Mick Jagger singing, “I can’t get no satisfaction/I can’t get no girlie action!”
Granted, the longer age would open up new business opportunities. There would be more assisted living centers than there are payday check cashing shops ... grocery stores would have to expand aisles selling Depends and suppositories ... medical manufacturing plants would retool to triple the number of knee replacement surgical kits.
For the first time, greeting card companies would market cards celebrating “Happy Birthday to my wonderful great-great-great grandchild!” Cognizant of the creeping memory loss in senior citizens, the travel industry would focus less on the exotic and more on a new format (“Traveling back to the neighborhood you think you grew up in”). Las Vegas vacations would be reduced, but Missouri officials would have to triple the size of Branson.
Public safety officials would have to take notice. In order to protect the population, a designated freeway lane would be open to drivers 95 and older. (“Officer, I was driving my Chrysler 35 miles an hour in the senior citizen land. What’s your problem?”)
The workforce would change as men and women put off retirement. How much do you tip a 108-year old pizza delivery man? How would younger customers respond to seeing 98-year old women modeling underwear at Victoria’s Secret?
Even though life expectancy gains are uncharted territory, imagine the impact it would have on the Social Security system. (And we think we have problems now!)
Yes, I’m with the majority. Living until I’m 120 doesn’t sound appealing, especially when scientists say a major path to increasing ages is in decreasing the number of calories consumed.
You can take away my ice cream only from my cold, dead hands.