Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bionic Americans

Some friends were over for dinner and a movie the other night, and during the after dinner conversation, we found ourselves in agreement on one observation about our modern lives:

Growing older in America these days is largely a matter of exchanging our organic components for bionic equipment.

We're all relatively early in the phase of middle age, but it has started nonetheless. Everyone in the room wears corrective lenses of some kind. In my head are now four synthetic teeth--two gold crowns, two ceramic ones. I also now wear a hearing aid in one ear sometimes--I'm the first among our immediate group to succumb to this symptom of decrepitude.
Don't knock it. It's why I can still walk. 

A work colleague is a breast cancer survivor and speaks fondly of her bionic boob. We're at that age where cancer seems less like a tragedy and more like an inevitable rite of passage, albeit a grueling one. Once a rarity among our peers, we now know dozens of folks living with cancer.

Even our food has become more bionic. I quietly supplement my diet with a few vitamins and minerals that make a distinct difference in how I feel. Such things would have seemed silly 20 years ago, when my body was a paragon of efficient metabolism. For less efficient older bodies, though, dumping pure vitamin supplements into the system is only rational. I have one friend who takes this to extremes, devouring 20 or 30 different supplements and vitamins each day. It will only accelerate as we grow older. We'll add second hearing aids; somebody will eventually need a mechanical heart valve, or an internal insulin pump. Knee joints, hips, shoulder joints may eventually need to be replaced by bionic alternatives. I already have a rebuilt knee with tendons reinforced with metallic wire that will never corrode. Another Geezer just had an entire foot rebuilt to return him to the land of the ambulatory. This is no longer an aging process, but a swap meet.

I'm not complaining. The way I figure it, before long I'll be able to buy ultra-high spectrum eye glasses, and hearing aids that will let me eavesdrop on other people's thoughts.