Saturday, April 26, 2008

Live forever? Why not?

Several things this week got me to thinking about technological innovation and longevity of lifespan. First was the death of an amateur radio operator I never met but admired greatly--L.B. Cebik, W4RNL. He epitomized the ham spirit of helpfulness through his extensive writings and wonderful website devoted primarily to antennas. Though his true calling was as a professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee, he brought that teacher mentality to his avocation, to the betterment of us all.

Well, that got me to thinking about mortality. Another ham radio acquaintance, Pete Sides, W4AUP, celebrated his 100th birthday last Saturday, and a group from the Birmingham area bused down to Montgomery, Alabama, to join him for a great party that featured some of his old ham gear and QSL cards from decades ago. I didn't get to go but I saw a video of the event at the Birmingham DX Club meeting this week. At one point, Pete said, "People are always asking me what I did to enjoy such a long life. I tell them I know exactly what the secret is. I had the good sense to pick the right parents and grandparents."

Of course! Genetics is probably the biggest factor in enjoying a long, healthy, productive life. Too bad we can't really pick out some long-lived ancestors. (Pete did give one other key to longevity: having a goal. He says his goal is to last at least long enough so he will have been retired as long as he worked, and that will be 2011! By the way, W4AUP is still active and can be heard most mornings at one of several frequencies on 75 meters.)

I've mentioned before in this blog an interesting statement I read someplace that the first person to live forever is already 60 years old. The implications of that are many, and especially to me, since I just turned 60 in December. And then, this week, I saw that the MSNBC web site is doing a very interesting series of articles on extending the life span of us human beings.

Is it because so many of the babyboomers are hitting 60 that we are suddenly so interested in extending our tap dance on this orb? Or is it simply the fact that medical knowledge has now progressed to the point that 150- or 200-year lifespans are not so far-fetched anymore?

As I tell my kids, they were a burden to me for at least 20 years. I expect to return the favor!

Don Keith N4KC

No comments: