Thu 8 Oct 2009
i tend to take research results with a grain of salt.
our accumulated human & societal experiments fascinate me. but when your own flawed self has been the architect of a plan or project designed to illuminate the human condition in some way or another, truths and illuminations from other people’s plans and projects start start to look a lot more jury-rigged themselves. it’s not exactly that they appear less true than they might have before; rather that true itself starts to seem like a conditional state, a window in time and perspective rather than any stamp of mythical absolute authenticity.
still, when i read the other day that 50% of children born in this decade may live to be 100 years old, my head swivelled.
sure, it swivelled in part because i’ve been reading Consumption, by Kevin Patterson. it’s a story of tuberculosis and famine and the Hudson’s Bay Company & mines that all eventually combined to wrangle the Inuit in off the land less than fifty years ago, and the diseases of affluence that have since ravaged that population on a scale that even the most forbidding landscape on earth never touched. diseases of affluence we all suffer from and carry the seeds of deep in our bodies the way that previous generations and many of the world’s poor still today carry TB…diseases like cancer, vascular impairment, diabetes.
we die today mostly because of how we eat. how we choose to eat. as i type this i’m wiping crumbs from homemade pumpkin tarts off my keyboard. hey, they’re seasonal. they’re homemade. they have only 2/3 cup of sugar in, like, the eleven of them i just inhaled. whee. but i wasn’t actually hungry.
if this is how i have to suffer from my own affluence, it’s no wonder people are getting on board this train. even if it is bound for the boneyard.
still, however naively, however in denial of the effects of what i feed them, i like the idea of my kids living to be 100. i usually live in abiding fear of the planet up and belching us all off its weary back long before either of them get their threescore and ten in, and so the possibility that this generation may have longer lives rather than shorter, more brutish ones is deeply comforting.
still, that wasn’t why the news made my head swivel.
it swivelled, dear friends, because i first came across the info as tweeted by film director Duncan Jones, object of my first stalking experiment in social media. poor Duncan. i’m sure it would crush him to know that of his 6000+ followers, the chirpy mom with the slightly twee username who chats him up now and then is actually, uh, strategically and shamelessly using him.
it’s probably not his first time ’round this block. because Duncan Jones, whom you may know better as Zowie, is the 38 year old son of David Bowie, with whom i’ve been conducting an, erm, faithful if one-sided twenty-five year love affair. in my head.
imagine if twitter had existed in my angsty adolescence. i always knew Bowie had a son my age, but seeing as my parents weren’t interested in sending me to a dour and pricy Scottish boarding school, and Zowie cum Joe cum Duncan never once put up a penpal ad in Rolling Stone, i had little access to this otherwise obvious avenue of ingratiating myself into the Bowie clan. pity. dude was probably as estranged from his father at that age as i was – we coulda been buds. and then, you know, i would’ve finagled myself an invite to Christmas dinner and my charming insights woulda brought son to a renewed appreciation of father and father to a recognition of the marvel of a human being lying undiscovered in my old soul – in a manner most un-Polanski-esque, of course – and he’d have married me and that pesky Iman woulda just had to find herself another rock god. i’d have been Bonnie Bowie and the director of Moon my stepson and we’d all have lived happily ever after. ahem.
oh dear god, i cringe in anticipation of my children’s adolescence, if they have imaginations and wills anything like mine.
anyhoo, i follow Duncan Jones on twitter. it entertains me. and the other day he mentioned the study reporting that children today have a 50/50 chance of living until the age of 100. to which i tweeted back some crack about needing to invest in their retirement now, before they’re outta diapers. to which he responded. and then he RE-TWEETED ME.
(because – all kidding aside – i’m damn right. if the poor kids are going to live to be 100, somebody better be planning to pay for the cancer-causing morsels of mush that will sustain them into that long-delayed good night.)
but i digress. research smesearch. the nifty study was merely the catalyst, the subject matter upon which i belatedly and somewhat circuitously launched my lifelong dream. i had a Real Live Online Conversation with the son of David Bowie. direct descendant. fruit of loins. the thirteen-year-old still lurking inside me swooned and fainted dead away.
twenty-five years is a long time to carry a torch. my engraved invitation to the Bowie Christmas dinner? on its way, people. Duncan & i, we’re getting tight. we chatted again, with me at my obsequious best, on Tuesday. we’ll be BFFs in no time. at my current rate of progress, i’m guessing on actually graduating from son to father and finally making personal Bowie contact about 2038. The Thin White Duke’ll be a mere 91. maybe i can spoon-feed him.
then we’ll get married and i can die a happy woman, of whatever disease of my affluence would like to have its way with me.
sigh. if only Bowie’d been born in this decade, i could be half-certain he’d live that long.