Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Worst Curse

I don’t believe in magic, prayer, or the supernatural, but there is one curse that freaks me out.

“Live Forever!”

I realize that a substantial number of people would like to live forever; belief in an afterlife is pervasive in the United States.  However, it’s really an awful concept.

Imagine you’ve been “blessed” with immortality for a moment.  You’re happy.  You get a job being sawed in half by a magician and nobody can figure out how the trick is done.  You visit every place on the planet.  It’s fun!

Some time passes.

One Hundred Years
Everyone you know is dead.  The new people you hang out with dress funny, talk funny, and listen to irritating music.  Your family now consists of people who call you “grampaw”, “grammaw”, or “that creepy old dude who looks like a vampire.”

One Thousand Years
You’ve been everywhere.  You’ve done everything.  When people ask you out to dinner, you say things like “Chinese food?  I’ve had that eight hundred times!” and you mean it literally.  You start hanging out with others blessed with longevity and form an elite club.  Unfortunately, the others are either just as bored as you or are robots and only interested in talking about nested loops and integers.

One Hundred Thousand Years
Society collapses.  You wish you had gone out to Chinese when you had a chance, since there’s no Chinese restaurants left (only hot dog stands survive the apocalypse).  Your days are spent walking among burned out wreckage, scrounging for a working television to help you pass the time.  The other people you meet are too busy trying to survive to talk.

One Million Years
The few remaining humans have evolved into unrecognizable species (Half have become small creatures with skin that resembles kitty litter, and the other half have become cats.  They don’t get along.)  You spend most of your time staring at the horizon.  There isn’t much else to do.

One Billion Years
All life on Earth is gone.  On the positive side, the sun is turning red.  It’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in eight million years.

One Trillion Years
The Earth has been destroyed, swallowed by the expanding sun.  You spent a few billion years trapped on the sun’s surface.  Luckily, our sun went nova, blowing you out into space.  Unluckily, you are now floating in a vacuum.  Your lungs were sucked from your chest and now dangle out of your mouth on your trachea.  After a few billion years, you manage to bite them off.

One Quintillion Years
You have outlived the universe.  All matter (except yourself) is spread evenly as dust.  Everything is a chilly three degrees Kelvin.  You miss the stars.  You’ve gone insane, since there is nothing to think about, and the song “Call Me Maybe” is still stuck in your head.

One Googol Years
A googol (not to be confused with Google) is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes.  When that many years have passed, you’re still floating in nothingness.  You think back (as you do every million years or so) to the curse that put you there.  You realize you weren’t cursed with “live forever” but “live until the end of time.”  You smile and wait for time to end.

The End of Time
Time is a method of measuring the period between events.  Since you keep existing, you keep making events happen, even if it is to twitch one finger.  Time never ends.
"Dear God, please let me die!"
For those of you looking forward to an afterlife in Heaven, imagine the above scenario, but you’re sitting on a cloud strumming a harp.  Considering how bad I am with musical instruments, I think we’d all agree I’m better off in Hell.


RF said...

I like your logic!
I believe I once read a Greek myth about Eos, goddess of the dawn,asking Zeus to let her mortal lover live forever. Eventually, however, the mortal became so old that he was useless and ugly. So Eos turned him into a cricket. A cricket which has to endure the hardships of living forever.

Matthew Kagle said...

And, if I remember correctly, the Sibyl grew smaller and smaller until she ended up living in a bottle.