While surfing the web the other day I ran across an article where some brilliant mind argued that we need to change the health care system from one that gets paid for disease to one that gets paid for keeping people healthy. Not a bad concept on the surface.
He revealed himself to be a one-track thinker with a comment to the effect that if we had such a system, all of us could live to be one hundred. With that statement, he joined the ranks of thousands of figures throughout history who failed to see the bad consequences of a good idea.
Who the hell would want to live to be 100 in this country? Personally, I don’t want to live past 70, for the following reasons:
- Social Security doesn’t pay much (if anything by then) and “taking control of my future” left me with a 401(k) that didn’t quite live up to projections due to the three recessions and a financial collapse. I figure if I retire at 65, I have five financially decent years left.
- After that, I will be poor. Because I will be poor, I will have to work. Age discrimination is rampant in every sector of our society, so odds are that I would have to settle for an embarrassing position at Hot Dog on a Stick where the young people will make fun of the old fart in the silly hat. To get that job I would have to compete with millions of other old farts in search of a humiliating experience. A long shot at best.
- Although I am quite healthy, statistics say that the older you get, the more medical care you need. Medicare isn’t free and its costs will rise significantly thanks to the federal deficit. In America, old people are seen as burdens to most younger people. That’s because they are burdens. Young people want to travel, dance, sing, go to the ball game, have a nice evening out. They would stay home to take care of grandpa out of obligation, not choice. Family tensions would rise, making for a very uncomfortable living arrangement. It would also be horribly embarrassing to have a family member clean up a mess I made.
- They might try to shove me in one of those senior communities to regain some freedom, but who will pay the bill? I’ll be broke. The generation to which my children belong have huge student loans and can’t find jobs. They will certainly have less than I had at the same age, so it wouldn’t be very fair for me to ask them to piss their money away on grandpa. And who will be my neighbors? Even when I become an old fart, I don’t want to live next door to a bunch of old farts whining about their maladies.
- We may be able to live to 100, but in what condition? Will I still be able to get it up? Will there be a woman who would actually want to do it with me? Will I be able to play alternative rock on my Fender Strat or will my hands become unusable? Even if my hands work, will I remember the chords, the lyrics? Will I have the mobility to go to the places I love? When I look in the mirror, will I want to crawl under a rock so I can hide myself from a society that values superficial beauty?
Solve all of these problems and I’d be more than happy to live to be 100. I love life and I like the people on this planet. But if what I’ve described is all post-70 life has to offer, I will opt for an earlier exit.