PURCELL: Living to 125 too much of a good thing?


“A 125-year life expectancy for human beings? I have zero desire to stick around that long.”

“Ah, yes, you speak of a debate among scientists over human longevity. I read about it at Business Insider. Some scientists argue that the maximum age humans may live is 115 years, whereas others argue that 125 years is possible.”

“A hundred and twenty-five years of watching Republicans and Democrats going at it? The heck with that.”
“Living is rife with challenges, to be sure. But living a long life has its upsides. Wouldn’t you want to visit your parents and other family members for a lot more years than most of us are able? Wouldn’t you like to see them all at a Sunday dinner several more times than most human beings are able?”

“Maybe with your family. My family has taken years off of my life!”

“I see, but wouldn’t it be awesome if some of our finest human beings could stick around longer? Don Rickles, one of the greatest entertainers ever, died this year at 91. How great would it be to keep him around for two more decades?”

“True, but if Rickles were to stick around longer, that means annoying celebrities would stick around, too, and keep yapping at us every time a Republican becomes president.”

“There are other upsides to a longer life. What if we could keep our greatest minds around longer? Where would the world be if Einstein had another 25 years to unlock the mysteries of the universe?”

“But what if he figured out ways to extend human life even further, which would require me and the wife to have to keep coming up with new things to bicker about? Who has that kind of energy?”

“The downsides are a fair point. As people live longer, they could overburden government programs, such as Social Security. Where would we get all the money to support them?”

“How about we especially extend the lives of the rich so we can take them to the cleaners?”

“And living is expensive. If you live to 125, how will you pay for your housing and food and everyday expenses?”

“Thank goodness McDonald’s is always hiring, but I for one have no desire to flip burgers at the age of 125.”

“The costs of medical care are too high for millions now. I imagine that at 125 years of age, one’s medical bills would be difficult to manage.”

“Look, as a middle-aged guy, who is already showing signs of fatigue, here is what I know about living. Life is largely made up of colds, bills, speeding tickets and people who let you down. These experiences are connected together by a series of mundane tasks.”

“Did anyone tell you how cheerful you can be? Go on.”

“Well, these drudgeries are occasionally interrupted by a wonderful meal, a really good laugh with friends or a romantic evening with a lovely woman. Then the mundane stuff starts all over again. Who wants 125 years of that?”

“A lot of people do. The human lifespan has improved significantly in the past few generations. Millions are living healthy lives beyond the age of 80 today, and, when they were younger, few of them expected to live that long. Why not live relatively good lives until 125?”

“Because then I’d really worry about my slacker son.”


“He’s 35 years old and still living at home. If we drastically extend lifespans, my wife will have to tell him: ‘Son, you’re 100 years old! When are you going to move out of the basement and get a job?'”

©2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Wicked Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at Amazon.com, is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc.

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