March 17, 1997
A friend of ours says:
"Look, there is something awfully wrong about how life works. I do believe that behind it all there is intelligent design and an intelligent designer but whomever this architect was -- call Her/Him God -- the job was poorly done. Intelligent perhaps; smart certainly not. I am an American and I pride myself to be a practical animal. We have built this country on smartness, not intelligence. Had God been an American he would not have created man, the human species, in His image and he would have reversed the order of things. Look, I am..."
We are looking, we interjected, but we do not see what you are seeing. Get on with it!
"Don't interrupt me, young man," he said, "and you'll see the light. As I was going to say, I am in my seventies and have seen a lot, seen a lot; and God got it all wrong."
At this point our friend seemed to doze off slightly. He closed his eyes and remained silent awhile. Then, his eyes still sealed, his body lying immobile on the hospital bed, he continued.
"The morphine, you know. They gave me too much morphine to kill the pain. I've learned a lot during my time but I don't even know what day it is. The morphine..."
We told him it was Sunday and he was on the road to full recovery with a brand new titanium-made hip and that he would soon be walking again.
"Yes," he said, "I'll soon be walking again, and then my left hip will fail -- the orthopedist has told me the cartilage was also pretty damaged, matter of time he said. And next, it'll be the turn of my knees, and... Do you get the hint?"
We said we did. It's no fun growing old.
"Not only is it not fun," he added, "but it is unfair and totally asinine. This is my point. My body is falling apart when my mind, filled with over seven decades of learning and assimilating, is eager and willing, only to be betrayed by the body. God should have designed life so that our body is old when we are born and young when our mind has learned so much to give us a chance to apply the acquired knowledge. Experience is not transmissible, so it goes to waste. Our graveyards are filled with unfulfilled experience. This is a preposterous, totally insensible condition of our humanness."
"Just imagine," he pursued, "the benefits for humanity, had I been born old. Since my body could not do much, I would have had nothing to do but bury my head into the Great Books. I would have learned in a decade or so what took me seventy years to master. Meantime, my body would have gotten younger, thus allowing me to start applying all the acquired knowledge. At age 20, a walking encyclopedia in a physiologically 55 year old body, I would have been ready to procreate and begin my productive years. Think about it. Look at my kid; when he was born I had no idea whatsoever what I was getting into. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how moronic a system we live in that forces you to study for many years to become a doctor but allows you to pass on life to offspring without any knowledge. This is absurd. It took me almost 30 years to learn my trade [our friend was a doctor in dentistry before retiring] and at age 55 I had to give thoughts to my eventual demise from the profession as my hands were slowly becoming less steady. Well, instead, I would have trained in one third of the time it took and could have gone on practicing dentistry for over fifty years with ever-strengthening hands. Longer practice means more revenues for the IRS, shorter training, less educational costs. And it would make the solvency of Social Security and Medicare a moot issue."
"So, do you see my point now?", he asked.
We said we did but we wondered whether he had thought of the practicality for women to give birth to 5' 10" tall children. Had he a solution in mind?
He answered that it was a little detail, that he was not God and did not have an answer to all the dire problems the human species confronts but that he would not hesitate to ask God, when he sees Her, to think about it.