Staying Alive

By: Tim-Knox

What if someone handed you a pill and said, "Take this pill and you will live to be 120 years old."

Would you take the pill?

What if they said, "Not only will you live longer, but your body will stop aging from this point on. You can be 120 years old with the heart, mind and body that you have now."

Would you take the pill?

I know a lot of people who would take such a pill without so much as a second thought. These are the same folks now spending fortunes on spray-on hair, mega-vitamins that contain bits of George Burns' DNA, liposuction, breast implants, nose jobs, eye jobs, tummy tucks, butt lifts, ear bobs, and the ever-popular Turkey Neck Reduction procedure, wherein the doctor pulls the loose skin back from beneath your chin and ties it in a decorative bow at the top of your head. These people are always taking something out of their bodies and putting something else back in, in a neverending quest to stay young. They are the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads of our generation.

But what about you? You're not a shallow, narcissistic, pinhead with interchangeable parts. To the contrary, you're a very intelligent person, grounded in common sense and analytical thought. You know that it's not the length of your time here on Earth that really matters, but how you spend the time you have. Quality, not quantity, is the best measure of one's life.

So, if someone said, "Take this pill and you will live to be 120," would you take the pill?

I ask this in light of last week's announcement by the Geron Corporation, a Menlo Park, California biomedical firm, that they have - quite literally - discovered what makes our biological clocks lose time over the years and eventually flash "12:00."

The answer begins with the discovery of "Telomeres," the Energizer Bunnies of the DNA world.

Here's the scientific explanation of Geron Corp's findings: At the tips of our chromosomes are strands of DNA called Telomeres. When our cells divide, as they do time and again over the course of our lives, some of our Telomeres fall off in the process. The more our cells divide, the more Telomeres we lose.

In other words, it's the loss of Telomeres that causes our hair to fall out, our ears and nose to get bigger, our backs to bow, our fingers to crook, our teeth to turn to chalk, our plumbing to leak, our demeanors to grow cranky, and our skin to resemble a prune that has been dipped in a cup of Clorox Bleach.

Bottom line: We grow old, we look and feel like hell, we die. Have a nice day.

But wait, there is hope. Geron Corp scientists claim to have found a way not only to stop Telomeres from falling off dividing cells, but to put Telomeres back on cells that are TD (Telomere Deficient, a term of DNA political correctness). This process of Telomere regeneration involves the use of the Hubble Space Telescope, the actor who played Tattoo on "Fantasy Island," and a really tiny tube of Super Glue. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)

Geron Corp claims that it can rejuvenate Telomeres through something called "gene therapy," which, I'm guessing, involves a little, bitty couch and a teeny-weeny psychiatrist, probably Dr. Ruth. Telomere rejuventation can also occur when the genes are exposed to certain enzymes, scientists say, which may one day be available in pill form.

Hence the question: Would you take the pill?

The one thing Geron Corp's study doesn't cover is, who's going to foot the bills for all these years of extra life? Call me ungrateful, call me lazy, but I don't want to live to be 120 if it just means having an extra 50 years of hard labor tacked onto my current life sentence. I have a hard enough time getting up every morning now and going off to work. Just wait until I'm 120!

And when the government raises the retirement age to 95, look out! Talk about a bunch of crotchety old people with the hearts, minds and bodies of twenty year olds. You say you want a revolution? Well, here it is.

So answer the question, good citizen.

Would you take the pill?

Would I?

I'm not sure. Give me another fifty years to think it over.

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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"

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