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L. Neil Smith's
Number 646, November 27, 2011

"The seemingly eternal conflict in human societies
is between slavers and individuals who simply
want to be left alone to enjoy their lives."

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Thoughts On Not Dying
by L. Neil Smith

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

My wife Cathy startled me the other day by saying, "I want to die young."

Let's just say that the lovely and talented mother of my only child is over 50, so at first this seemed like an extremely peculiar thing to say, until I realized what she actually meant by it. She wants to continue feeling young, right up to her final moment. She also says—and this is a big part of it—she wants to leave this mortal coil with lots left to do. I have to admit that the idea is appealing. Let the graduate students try to figure out how I would have finished my last book. Then they'll die with lots left to do, as well.

Rush Limbaugh says the last check he means to write—just before he slips over the edge of eternity—will be to the IRS, and it will bounce.

There's a scene in The Matrix in which Neo (and no, I haven't changed the subject), recently rescued by enemies of the cyberstate, suddenly appears in a place he doesn't recognize, no longer bald, as he was when he first woke up aboard the hovercraft Nebuchadnezzar, and without the holes up and down his back and limbs where he had been plugged into the life-sucking machinery of the parasitic state since birth. He's dressed fairly nicely, instead of being naked, as he was for most of his life, or wearing rags which are all the rebels have to offer.

Morpheus, his mentor, explains that this is a computer program they're inhabiting, and that what Neo sees when he looks at himself is his "residual self-image"—the way his unconscious mind perceives him.

Now I am a genuine Baby Boomer, born in 1946, and yet my residual self-image is of a man only about 35 years old, with a complete set of teeth, no furrows in his face or silver in his hair, and with a right foot that operates within normal parameters. When I was young, I was a skinny kid. In my 20s and 30s I was working on being a fat guy until I lost weight on a diabetic's diet. But the way I always see myself from the inside, and when I'm dreaming, hasn't changed very much over the years.

Not everybody is like that, of course. The great actor Walter Brennan lost most of his teeth in what turned out to be a fortunate accident in 1932 and looked and sounded like an old man for the next forty years. Cliff Arquette played elderly Charlie Weaver from Mount Idy for half of his professional life. Wilford Brimley has made a career playing cranky but lovable old guys. I especially liked him as the combat engineer and entrepreneur Bradley Tozer in High Road to China.

He was pretty good in Cocoon, as well.

On the same time, I have had close friends in real life who seem to have elected, sometimes as early their 30s, to become old men. One of them once chewed me out at the mall for my interest in visiting a toy shop, saying he'd given up that kind of thing long ago. I said, what a shame. I won't name any of them. They all know who they are. I don't really understand why they did it, I just know that it isn't for me.

In fact I am chagrined to have caught myself on several occasions over the past year or so, deciding not to undertake certain projects I may not have time to complete. That way lies madness and death. I must continue seeing myself as a young man, in order to keep living. As Tom Hanks put it in the movie Nothing In Common, "They pay me to be this way."

Not enough, mind you, but they do pay me.

The encouraging fact is—if we get rid of the vile Obamanists who see human beings as no more than a harvestable crop, along with their mass murdering United Nations accomplices, who quite openly proclaim that they aspire to reduce Earth's population by ninety percent—medical science may begin advancing at a vastly quicker rate.

In the interim, our lives can likely be extended from the inside. Therapists—the job I would have had if I'd stayed in school—should find out why the years seem to go by faster as we grow older, why the hours grow shorter when we're having fun, and put a stop to it.

Like my wife, I plan to die young.

As Groucho Marx said, "You're only as old as the woman you feel."

So if you're young—say, under 40—the next time you talk to someone who isn't, keep in mind that he may not feel any older than you.

I certainly don't.

In fact, I may feel younger.

Originally posted at L. Neil Smith at Random, November 22, 2011

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