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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By Paul Ford
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
When I see people older than myself in difficult circumstances—losing a job, faltering in a career, writing terrible prose, finding themselves dependent on younger people who don't respect them—I do not pretend that such embarrassments won't come to me, but I do try to take precautions by adding notes into my online calendar.
Some of these notes are typically annoying things that a person in his 30s might say to a person in his 70s: “Make sure you've been taking care of your health,” is there for 2025, but it should of course have been there for 1985, too. And “Don't stay too long in one place,” is down for December, 2032. “Machines probably doing everything, accept it,” for April 2060.
“Remember that transitions are painful,” is there for August, 2020. I can't remember what inspired that one, but it must have been something extra-awful.
“Younger people are taking over now, which is probably fine,” is something I have for myself in 2024, when I'm 50. And for 2075, when I'll be 101: “It's totally okay and likely better for everyone if you're dead,” In the “Description” field for that event is simply: “Start smoking.”
One day my wife came into my office and said, surprisingly: “You should have thought seriously about having children by now.” Then she shook her head and squinted at me.
I did not disagree, but I was confused.
“That popped up as a text message,” she said. “I was in a meeting. I thought it was from you, that you'd just sent it to me.”
She showed me the message on her phone. She shares my schedule. I'd added that calendar item three or four years before.
“I turned off alarms,” I told her. “I totally would have missed that if you hadn't caught it.”