The woman on the floor turned 104 years old this week. She stays up late into the night and sleeps until noon. She reads and watches movies and drinks a glass of buttermilk every day. Her face is unlined. My mother is 91 and her neighbor is 98. A few houses down, there is another woman who is 89 as is another friend of my mother. These women all live alone in their own houses. I was thinking about that a couple days ago and realized that the people who live on my mother's street who are my age are not doing as well. They all have medical "conditions." Why is that?
Chemicals. Lots and lots of chemicals. Numbers vary, but an estimated 80 to 100,000 manmade chemicals have been introduced into the environment in the past 50 years, brand new compounds previously unknown to the world. We now introduce about 2,000 new substances every year. We know that in life forms, the developmental period is the most important. Don't let babies chew peeling paint, for instance. It may contain lead, and we know what that will do to their little nervous systems and brains. Still, we let them drink from plastic containers all the time.
My mother and her friends grew up in rural places, farms and such. Growing up on a farm today is deadly, of course. Chemicals. Lots and lots of chemicals. It would be like raising babies next to a golf course. Worse. But when my mother was young, they didn't use chemicals. You could eat produce right out of the field. I guess you'd say everything was organic. The varieties of plants was different, too. And they didn't give cows hormones to make them produce milk or grow fat for slaughter. Same with chickens. Eggs. The whole shebang.
I tell my mother not to eat processed meat. She tells me she grew up eating things like bacon and bologna.
"Yea, but ma. . .they didn't use preservatives and brighteners then. They just cut big slabs of bacon. They just ground up the parts to make bologna and hot dogs and sausages. They weren't adding chemicals like nitrates and nitrites."
They canned their own food. There was no need for a list of ingredients.
"You can't find good bologna any longer."
I read an article on bananas a few days ago. They don't have the same texture or flavor they used to have in my childhood. They look the same, but they are not. They are a different variety that produce a better yield. The same is true of many fruits and vegetables. Oh, sure, we want to discount old people saying that things were better "in the day," but in some cases, it is absolutely true. My friends have hens. They gave me eggs. They taste completely different than the store bought kind, even the organic ones.
I just Googled how much watermelons have changed in the last 50 years. Whoa! Look it up yourself. They don't taste anything like they used to, nor do they have the same texture.
So my conversation went with my mother last night.
Some things are better, though. We used to be stuck with cheddar and American cheeses, and there wasn't much of a wine selection. Breads, too. But in the main, foods do not taste nor feel the same as they did when I was a kid. But even then, the number of chemicals in the world was much greater than in my mother's childhood.
"I don't think my generation is going to get as old as yours," I said. "Plastic."
Milk used to come in glass bottles or in waxed cardboard containers. I used to like to peel the wax off the milk box with my fingernails.
O.K. Enough. I'm just saying we've been poisoned for profit. There is nothing new in that but for the growth of technology to proliferate the poisons.
I still have a collection of hand tools, saws, hammers, and the like. That's what people used to use to build things.
But one must admit we've developed some very beautiful people. The rich, of which there are more than ever, are stunning. Country Club College is down for the summer, the kids gone home, and the streets are less beautiful than they were. By far.
But they are like Replicants, I think. I may be wrong, but it is hard to believe they will live so long. The number of cancers in young people is growing exponentially. Their brains have been rewired by chemicals and technology--ADHD and the like. They suffer from more depression, are far more suicidal, but they are bright, beautiful, shiny things and have been coddled and privilaged since infancy.
Educators can't stand them. But thank god, there is AI now. Kids won't have to know how to write/think any longer.
The world just keeps getting cooler and cooler.
WTF did I just do? O.K. Boomer.
Just one thing, though. Those are all verifiable facts. It may sound like an opinion piece, but I'm pretty sure it is not. Observations founded in science.
Now we just have to wait for the nukes. Everybody has them now.
Don't worry. You'll be fine.