We must presume, or I must anyway, I am often accused of being presumptuous, that job opportunities were limited in the past. Before fire was discovered in the Early Stone Age, there weren’t any firefighters, only people throwing the first stones. And before wheels started rolling off production lines, no cars travelled along non-existent roads, so becoming a driving instructor was a doomed ambition.
It also stands to reason that cavemen stood on their own two feet before the invention of footwear, so any talk of prehistoric shoemakers is just a load of old cobblers. Even hairdressers were probably few and far between; theirs would have been a niche profession to say the least, given the hairstyles visible on some of those cave paintings.
But suddenly someone cried out, “Ouch! We have ignition!” and cavewomen could start their unpaid daily toil as head cooks and childminders, rocking the cradle and slaving over a hot stone watching the nettle soup bubbling in the earthenware pot. Not too different from the domestic life of my dear old gran, minus the nettle soup. She cooked thistles.
The average human today is more likely to die from obesity than hunger. I often see folk taking Marie Antoinette’s suggestion literally, eating cake instead of steamed tofu with quinoa, although I’m not sure that is an exact translation of the French queen’s advice. Not that eating well did her much good, her health suffered badly when she was beheaded.
Some writers believe that 21st-century mankind is now poised to make a serious bid for immortality. Apparently, mortality is a technical problem which can be solved. Any ideas? Death is seen as a crime against humanity, but surely the idea of living forever is a short-term solution?
The prospect of “a job for life,” so beloved by politicians — all that extra tax! — will bring some problems in its wake, not that there will be wakes anymore. Eternal longevity might lose some of its initial appeal by the time we turn 110 or so, unless we still feel healthy and — if you are anything like me — 18.
Immortality of the earthbound kind could also cause some concerns for organised religions; they may have to organise some alternative holiday packages to heaven, or offer sightseeing visits instead. The former company called Paradise Travel and Tours Limited has gone into liquidation, if that helps, so their name is now available.
There will be definite downsides once we start living forever. Granted, our pensions will be worth quite a bundle of lettuce as we rack up the years of employment, and we won’t even have to eat lettuce if we don’t feel like it. But I have a sneaking suspicion that each time we approach retirement age, governments will revise it upwards. 120…135…150… Our pension will eventually amount to a considerable sum — but will we ever live long enough to collect it?