March 16, 2001
For years I thought it was a joke that you could have your head (or, if you’re wealthy enough, your entire body) frozen after death to be revived at some unknown point in the future. It turns out that there really is an institute where, for $35,000, you can be preserved until that future arrives–or until the power goes out, or the place is vaporized by aliens, or whatever else might happen. And you have to assume, of course, that they’ve not only found a way to revive people, but that they can fix cellular damage that’s the inevitable result of freezing, and presumably even reverse the effects of old age.
Of course I haven’t been able to find out whether such luminaries as Andy Warhol and Walt Disney really are among the ones taking up freezer space, but if that’s true, then it just confirms that all the interesting dead people, the ones you’d like to meet, are just dead, while the not-so-interesting ones are planning on a comeback.
Actually Uncle Walt continues to spread his particular brand of psychosis through the magic of video, and we’re confronted by the ghost of Warhol anytime we buy tomato soup–but I digress. Of course the concept is tempting. In addition to providing plot material for a really bad Star Trek episode (which featured three people so annoying they were promptly re-frozen) and a pretty good X-Files episode, having one’s body frozen after death does have its appeal. Someday you might be revived in a future world where no one needs cell phones anymore because they’ve all got flying cars, science has finally perfected fat-free cheese, and all the frozen people are being revived because the freezer-space is needed to build a mini-mall.
But one thing must give us pause: Anyone who wants to be revived in the future is saying, "What does the future have to offer me?" when they should be asking, "What do I have to offer the future?" Imagine it: three-hundred years from now, two big guys pull me out of the freezer, look at the nametag and say, "Chris…Waldrop…huh. Never heard of him." Next thing I know I’m a frozen entree for a group of giant annelids from the Pleiades. Personally I think I’d rather take my chances with just being dead.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
(Speaking of reviving things, this joke is being revived in honor of St.Patrick’s Day.–CW)
A man strolls into a pub on the West Coast of Ireland one night and orders three pints of Guinness then proceeds to drink all three sipping from each in turn until they’re gone. Then he orders three more pints.
The bartender tells him "Y’know, lad, the foam’ll stay better if you have me draw them one at a time."
"Bless you for your concern," the man replies, "but it’s a tradition. You see, m’ two brothers have moved to the New World… to Boston… and this is m’ way of remembering them. I pretend we’re all three here wearin’ down the events of the day and sharin’ our pints."
The bartender nods. He understands.
Over time the man becomes a ‘regular’ and all the other regulars grow to overlook his odd tradition. Then one fine Spring evening the man enters the pub and orders… two pints of Guinness. He sips the pints alternately until they’re gone, then orders two more.
As the bartender presents the second round he leans over and intones "Me an’ all the others here want to extend our deepest condolences on the loss of your dear brother."
Pat looks surprised and then realizes what the bartender is thinking.
"Thank you for your kindness," he tells him, "but m’ brothers are in the finest of health and prosperin’ in their new country. I, m’self, have given up drink for Lent."