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Thanks, Google, but I don’t want to live that long

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They’re killing me—the folks at Google—with their new “Calico” venture, which is going to explore ways for a middle-aged person like me to live for a much longer time. Setting aside their mercenary interests, who asked them to get involved in my mortality?

I want dignity, not digital.

I’m fine with the current timetable and, frankly, have no special desire to stick around beyond my reasonable interval of usefulness and creativity. And the world I’m seeing isn’t exactly a world I’m looking forward to experiencing indefinitely.

Meanwhile, if I get a critical cancer, debilitating heart disease, or Alzheimer’s, it’s my decision not to be a burden on this already overstrained society—not that of a committee of cyber merchants. Better they should work on the egregious level of infant mortality in this country—or even the horrifying upsurge in teenage suicide—than figure out how to plug me in, robotize my organs, or have computers manage my memory. There’s something about heartbreak, nostalgia, dreams, and crankiness that shouldn’t be disk-fragmented.

I want dignity, not digital.

An abundance of published statistics verify the staggering imbalance between the funds spent on extending the lives of the elderly and those applied to help all other age groups recover from illness or accidents or even violence. I need to be 91 and unable to relieve myself so that I can read in large print about the 17-year old kid whose family couldn’t afford the health insurance required to save her from cystic fibrosis?

I don’t want to die tomorrow but I certainly don’t’ want to live one day past my ability to know when it’s time to make room for new life. And I dearly wish those new lives luck in a world stuck on social media banalities, addicted to cell phones, restricted by terrorism, lacking heroes, unshaped by history, and basically downloading life rather than living it. Heaven help them—before their clones do.

Oy vey: pass me that old photograph of The Supremes and keep your Android v4.1 OS in your pocket. Text is my homeland, not texting; I’ve already outlived you.

www.benkamin.com

Ben Kamin's books about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement can be found via the above web site or on Amazon.com.

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