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In a Sow’s Ear

by Gwen Petersen
Big Timber, Mont.

Good news. Barbara Walters is going to tell you how to live to be 150. Yes she is. It says so in a fascinating squib I just read. Barbara is going to interview a bunch of “experts” in various fields. (I’m not talking hay-meadow fields).

For instance: Cloning. Would you like to have yourself cloned? Kind of like heartburn. You repeat yourself. Would you start your clone-self as an infant? Think of the possibilities. The lab could make a new you and you could be the designated caretaker of yourself. Imagine. You could teach your cloned self all the stuff you’d meant to accomplish but you ran out of time and got too danged old to attempt.

Then there’s Cryonics ” where you pay to have yourself frozen. At some future time when the scientists get their ducks in a row, they’ll thaw you out and bring you back to life. By then technology will be so far ahead of you, you’re going to feel really stupid. You won’t be able to drive any vehicles of the future, none of the movies will make sense but ” Al Gore, or his clone, will still be touting Global Warming. As a backup plan,

maybe you should have yourself cloned first, then freeze the clone.

Specialists in stem cell and drug therapy miracles will be available to clear up any pesky problems. There will be miracle treatments guaranteed to fix your heart, your diabetic tribulations, your varicose veins, your arthritis, your ugly face and make childbirth a pleasure. (Women only on the last named condition).

Barbara is also going to interview individuals who have had the temerity to live to a hundred or beyond and still have functioning minds. For instance: A century old professor who’s writing his memoirs. (Will he be using a quill pen, a typewriter or a computer?). An airplane pilot. (He flew with the Wright brothers?) A water-skier. (The mind boggles picturing a hundred-year-old half-naked body in a bathing suit). (All of these centenarians eat meat. None of them subscribe to Esquire or Playboy. It is not known if any have bowel trouble.)

Barbara was born in 1931 which makes her 77. She looks pretty sensational for her age. She’s had the best in hair care, remaining defiantly blonde; she’s had numerous surgical nips, tucks and lifts. Her teeth are shiny white and have never been floated. Maybe they’re store-bought?

According to Barbara, “In the future you’ll be able to replace old body parts the way you would replace the old parts of a car.”

Hmmm. That thought boggles the mind. You might turn into a mish-mash of pieces. Kidneys: aged 60. Liver: Aged 85. Eyeballs: Aged 13. Kneecaps: Aged 40. Teeth: Brand new. Would a carcass with mixed-aged bits be functional?

Having had a few body parts of my own replaced, I’m thinking next I’d like a new head, one with a thick head of glossy hair and Rita Hayworth looks. (Parked on top of my current figure, however, that might scare the horses).

If you have television, be advised that Barbara will be presenting her program “LIVE TO BE 150 … CAN YOU DO IT?” on Tuesday, April 1. You can lay odds that every Baby Boomer in the country will be watching.

Hmmm. I don’t want to sound overly skeptical ” but isn’t the first day of April called, April Fool’s Day?


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