I Met An Old Man Today
By Robert Lynch
Michael Gerrard is the oldest person alive. He was born right at the cusp of the rejuvenation technology that we all take for granted today. Due to his age when the technology was first invented, he has remained an old man for his entire life, rather than reaching a physical plateau at 25 like most people. I got to sit down with Michael and reminisce about a time when death still plagued humankind.
“Life was very different then,” Michael told me. “Knowing that life had an end date was motivating. That motivation resulted in a need to accumulate. Wealth, power, possessions; even relationships to a certain point were coveted. It’s strange being one of the few humans left that ever spent money. My first rejuvenation session cost more than the GDP of a small country, and now you can just walk in off the street and get a tune-up.”
Pre-rejuvenation, Michael ran a company that made software for computers, the ancient forebears of our brain augmentations, back before they were implanted. “That period, the world was moving really fast. It seemed like there were new things every day. When my father was born, it was not common for every family to have a computer, unlike now where they are implanted in most children before the age of three.”
Michael then became more sombre, “When I was born, it was common knowledge that old people become rigid in their thinking. As I look to those who are only twenty or thirty years older than me, and therefore they stayed young forever, I see that is no longer true – for them. For myself, I became old and stayed old, and I’m tired. Did you know that this state still has a voluntary euthanasia law?”
Michael went on: “It seems archaic now, but the law was hard-fought before rejuvenation began. Once people stopped getting old, no one needed that law anymore; except, maybe me. I’ve been thinking that maybe my old ways have had their time. It feels like I’ve lived all I can, and maybe it’s finally come time to rest.”
The Voluntary Euthanasia law was initially enacted to allow terminally ill people to commit suicide with the aid of a doctor and the use of specific drugs for the purpose. Since Michael was not terminally ill, I asked him how he thought he could get the law to apply to him. “Laws have always needed to be updated to reflect modern society. We do it all the time. This battle may take a long while, but I think that it is a battle worth fighting. With the world’s birth rate at virtually zero, the addition of voluntary mortality may be the kick we need to keep on as a species. Without new people to think new ideas, I fear we will stagnate completely. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just an old man looking for one last good fight before I lay down to rest.”