So Uncle Nunzi sees me reading this new book by Don DeLillo called “Zero K.” I explained that it’s DeLillo’s take on the future of cryogenics. Cryogenics is about freezing the body after death. The idea is then to bring the person back to life in the future when whatever disease caused the death can be cured. In DeLillo’s novel, some folks decide not to wait until their body deteriorates to undergo the process, what the book calls “Zero K.”
I knew this conversation was going in the wrong direction when Uncle mentioned former baseball great Ted Williams. Williams underwent cryogenic freezing when he died. Uncle claims Williams went from being called the “Splendid Splinter” to the “Splendid Icicle.” I was interested in hearing whether Uncle had any interest in being frozen when he passed. “Only if they can get Birds Eye or Jolly Green Giant to do it,” he replied.
I hate to be a cynic, but after I shell out big bucks to be thawed out in the future, what guarantee do I have that 100 years from now anyone will be interested in defrosting me? Just how can I ensure that I will get what I paid for instead of being thrown into a dumpster in the year 2116?
I have to admit that there are positives to waking up 100 years from now. Maybe all the political ads will finally be over, although I’m sure the descendants of Clinton, Trump, Bush, and Kennedy will likely be running for office. A dark thought just crossed my mind. Maybe Vladimir Putin’s progeny will have made our free elections obsolete. Or President Trump’s.
I imagine as an Eagles fan waking up in 100 years and seeing Carson Wentz’s number 11 in the Eagles Hall of Fame next to that of announcer Merrill Reese. Reese will still be calling the games. The only difference will be that his broadcasting partner will have changed his name from Mike Quick to Mike Slow.
The FBI will still be investigating John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. Hillary’s last e-mail will be released as folks wonder “What the hell is an e-mail?” Trump’s great border wall will be a discount mall. Atlantic City will have a museum dedicated to displaying artifacts from something called “casinos.” Meteorologists will still be trying to explain why they got their storm predictions wrong — something known in the future as a “Bolaris.” Folks will wonder at the origin of that word.
The Phillies and Eagles will have new stadiums where fans can buy purified water for $150 a bottle ($75 if you’re willing to drink from a garden hose stationed conveniently at various sections of the ballpark). They still won’t be able to see replay of important plays at the Phil’s new park (called Global Waste Management Park, waste management being the most important industry on what’s left of the planet). Since pills have replaced real food, artificial aromas of hot dogs and pizza will be pumped into the new stadiums. New deodorants have finally eliminated any evidence of body odor. For authenticity, body odor is also pumped into the new facilities. A personal seat license from the Eagles costs the equivalent of a working person’s annual salary. Everyone is on some kind of happy pill in the new America so there is no booing at the games. Someone asks “What’s booing?”
A new biography has come out with a revisionist history of the life of Donald Trump. The book claims that, contrary to popular belief, Trump was not responsible for the demise of the Republican Party. Someone asks, “What’s a Republican?” It took 100 years for someone to figure out Trump’s immigration policy. Is it hardening? Is it softening? I find out that the current president of the United States is a multi-racial transgender. No one cares. The offspring are beautiful and can choose whichever restroom they like. Fox News is but a memory. Someone asks, “What’s Fox News?”
War has been replaced by international chess tournaments and boundaries changed based upon the outcome of the contests. We’ve lost Texas, which has been taken back by a Mexican chess champion. Someone asks, “What’s Texas?”
Unfortunately, libraries have disappeared. It’s not as if there are no books, but because everyone believes they have self-worth, they read only the books that they themselves have written. It’s the same with music. There are no more recording artists. People hum their own songs. Someone asks, “Who were the Beatles?” I cry and sing “Yesterday” in protest. I worry. What will happen to karaoke?
There are no charter schools. No parochial or public schools. There aren’t any schools at all. The individual is considered supreme, so there is nothing to be learned except from one’s self. No one fails. Individuals grade themselves an “A.” On the bright side, there is no college debt because there are no colleges. Don’t despair. Frat parties are still plentiful because beer still exists. Sexual crimes have been eliminated since all sex is done through computers. You don’t have to wine and dine anyone but yourself. And, as someone points out to me, it’s much more hygienic. No more need for erectile dysfunction cures. Someone asks, “What’s Viagra?”
I’m not interested much in a new body when they thaw me out. I need a new head. I prefer either Einstein, but my fallback is George Clooney. My wife loves Clooney. SPR