A lot of marketing and public relations people who do not bother to read or even skim this blog, send requests asking Crabby Old Lady to interview longevity experts or review books about life extension or report on anti-aging products. Perhaps it has been too long since Crabby has made herself clear: she rejects all anti-aging requests because she thinks it's all stupid, useless and wasteful.
The hope, dream and aim of all people involved in the lucrative anti-aging field (after cleaning out our pocketbooks to the tune of $50 billion a year in the U.S. alone) is, like ol' Ponce de Leon in Florida 600 years ago, to cure death so that we will all live forever.
Certainly, you are familiar with commercial anti-aging products – Botox, dermabrasion, skin resurfacing, creams, supplements, etc. These potions, procedures and pills, they tell us, will reverse signs of aging. They cannot and do not do this; they can only mask (or, rather, purport to mask) signs of aging. And they definitely do not extend lifespans.
More serious life extension enthusiasts, some of whom are legitimate scientists, advocate several theories and strategies to extend life indefinitely: cloning body parts for replacement as originals wear out or become diseased; cryonics to freeze our bodies until they can be defrosted when a disease treatment is found; stem cells for rejuvenation; genetic modification; and extreme calorie restriction, among others.
Plus, there are Ray Kurzweil and his followers who believe computer development in the form of the “singularity” will, within a few decades, allow humans and machines to merge into something they cannot describe but will, according to believers, eliminate ill health, aging and death itself. (See The New York Times for the short version.)
It goes without saying, of course, that in one of these ways or another, living forever will take place in the full bloom of youth, beauty and intelligence when their work reaches fruition.
What most drives Crabby around the bend, is that none of these people can effectively explain where we are going to put all these people who continue to procreate but never die. How will we house them? Feed them? Support them? Already the world is overpopulated. We should be devising ways to reduce population not expand it.
So Crabby Old Lady and Time Goes By will have nothing to do with these "researchers" - who lack the ethics to consider the planet - when they come knocking at her cyberdoor to promote their books and wares.
Crabby would rather tell you about geriatrician Bill Thomas, author of the brilliant book on aging, What Are Old People For? who blogs at ChangingAging. He recently posted a note about a window display he photographed while on a visit to the United Kingdom.
Here is what Dr. Thomas wrote about it at his blog:
“I like healthy skin. I want my skin to be strong and unblemished. But. I am living in 50 year old skin and if I am lucky, someday I will be living in 70 year old skin.
“I want skin that works. I want skin that is comfortable. I want skin that is attractive. I can have all those things without the silly conceit of 'reversing aging.' In my experience, the older people live to be, the more ridiculous they consider these kinds of products to be.
“What about you? What kind of skin do you think you want to have when you are 70?”
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ernest Leichter: A Teacher's Dream