Besse Cooper of Monroe Georgia just celebrated her 116th birthday. Inevitably the local newspaper asked the inevitable question: “How do you explain such a long life?” Besse shrugged: “I mind my own business and don’t eat junk food.”
Another centenarian explained it this way: “I’ve lived a long time, seen a lot of changes, and was against everyone of them.”
I leave it to my eminent psychiatrist son to fathom the subliminal messages in these answers. As a layman huffing and puffing here 19 years short of the mark, here’s my take: Who would seriously want to live that long if some of our current trends persist?
I’m not referring to the obvious — persistent wars, terrorism, unemployment, street violence, drug abuse and presidential elections. None of those are new; been-there-done-that. Instead I’m thinking of three recent reports:
* The Parents Television Council reports it found 76 incidents of full nudity on prime-time network last year, an increase of 407% from the year before. My reaction…? If they’re going to keep this up, can they at least find better bodies with less grunting!
* The Natural Resources Defense Council reports 40% of all food in the US ends up in the trash, which comes to 20 pounds per person per month. My reaction…? Can anyone explain then why we’re so fat!
* CNN reports US weapons sales more than tripled in 2011. We sold $66 billion worth of arms, up from $21 billions the year before. My reaction…? We do we keep calling weapons of attack a defense budget!
I don’t know anyone who wants to rush their own death. At the same time, I don’t know anyone who finds statistics like these a reason for prolonging this sort of life. I look at it this way. Until the politicians fulfill their pledges to “improve Medicare as we know it,” I may still have a shot at 100. However, once they get their hands on it, well ~~~~~
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