J e p h r e y



Immortal man at the end of time 

Two Kinds of Immortality

I was on an Etihad airways flight to Brussels, enjoying the welcome glass of champagne and looking forward to reading the novel I picked up at the airport bookshop. Sadly, an American, of the overly friendly sort, took the seat next to mine. Although Etihad keeps business class seats reasonably well separated, it does not make conversation impossible and this chap so wanted to converse, mostly about himself, he was more than willing to overcome the obstacles to conversation.

He was a handsome guy around 30 with impeccably groomed hair and a fashionable amount of beard sprouting out of his face.

“I plan to live forever!” he told me.

“Good for you!” I said, taking a sip of my bubbly. “And, how do you plan to do that?”

“My company is spending millions on anti-aging therapies and technologies,” he said, handing me a business card. “We reckon that in a few years, we will be able to extend a person's life by 100 years!”

“What about quality of life?” I asked.

“We're working on it!” he said.

“That's nice,” I said.

“Wouldn't you like to live forever?” he asked, sensing that I was not as enthusiastic as he clearly wanted me to be.

“Oh, I've already found the secret not only to extending my life, but improving it,” I said.

“Oh?” he said doubtfully. “What technologies are you using?”

“None.”

“Is this some unproven, new-age concoction?” has asked.

“Not at all. It's older than the hills.”

He smirked.

“You don't have children, do you?” I asked.

“No,” he said.

“I have. Two sons,” I said. “I have been actively involved in their lives, rather than spending all my quality time at work. So, not only do they have half my genes, but they have also been influenced by me. I have tried to give them open, enquiring minds, which they have. So, they can evaluate what I have taught them and make thoughtful decisions about where they go with their lives.

“I know they do not agree with me on everything. And, I am proud to say, they are both brighter than me. After I die, they will live on, carrying a part of me within them; but they will be an improved version of me, with greater knowledge and an access to information that is much greater than when I was their age.”

“But...” he said.

“And I have achieved this through shorter working hours, enjoying life, spending time with my sons and actively enabling them to achieve more than I have done in life.”

“But what about you?” he asked.

“As long as my children have children and they have children, I'll be around for a long, long time,” I said.

Just then, the cabin attendant came past with a tray of drinks.

“Could I trouble you for another glass of champagne, please?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said.

With it in hand, I settled into my seat, opened my new novel and tucked his business card in the middle of it. It would make a good bookmark.

I believe he pulled a laptop out and banged away on it for most of the flight. But I am not sure. I was enjoying my novel too much.

 

 

 

 

© 2018 Jeffrey Baumgartner