Roger L. Simon

How long is too long?

The new dispatch on longevity from Reuters – in which a Cambridge scientist asserts the first person to live to 1000 has already been born – certainly got my attention. The article also has some more mundane and predictable opinions:

Paul Hodge, director of the Harvard Generations Policy Program, said governments around the world — struggling with pension crises, greying workforces and rising healthcare costs — had to face up to the challenge now.

“Life expectancy is going to grow significantly, and current policies are going to be proven totally inadequate,” he predicted.

Okay, what’re we talking about here? 130-140 years? 230 years? Using the way-back machine, that would mean someone born around the time of the US Constitution. Maybe they could tell us if Jefferson really got it on with Sally Hemmings. As someone who has reached a “certain age,” I have always labored under the assumption that I wanted to live as long as possible or until someone could prove to me incontrovertibly the existence of a benign afterlife (whichever came first). Now I’m not so sure. 112 years, say, of retirement doesn’t sound exactly enthralling.That’s a lot of checkers and parcheesi. One of the scientists interviewed in the article said people are living vigorous lives these days in their 70s. Ho-hum. What about in their 140s? Anybody for120 and over tennis?