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Tempus non fugit (time d.., p.1
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       Tempus Non Fugit (Time Does Not Fly), p.1

           Alex Drinkwater, Jr.
 
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Tempus Non Fugit (Time Does Not Fly)
Tempus Non Fugit

  Alex Drinkwater, Jr.

  Copyright 2011 Alex Drinkwater, Jr.

  Discover more by Alex Drinkwater, Jr. at

  PEOPLE LIVING LONGER -- BUT NOT BETTER

  (UPI) The latest American Medical Association report on the state of Americans’ health claims that we are living longer but not necessarily better. “We have successfully extended life but we have yet to ‘solve’ the aging question,” the report states in a section entitled “Longer, but not Better?” Because of break-throughs in medicine, the average life expectancy has been extended to 85 years but “this merely means we spend more time as old people,” according to the reports’ authors, primarily experts in medical research and genetics. No “Fountain of Youth” is in the works, however.

  Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2015

  Garrett Lanier looked over the top of his glasses at his colleague. “But what if we could, then what?”

  Truscott smiled. “Why do you continue to wear those things? We’ve had permanent contact lenses for years now.”

  Lanier sniffed. “I like them. Answer my question.”

  “What if we could what, live forever?”

  “No, not necessarily. I was talking about slowing the aging process. You know, say, three to one, or even five to one.”

  Truscott ran his hand over his bald head, something he often did when in thought. “Three to one, five to one -- what, years? Is that what you mean?”

  “Yes, exactly. You would only age one year for every five, or whatever.”

  The hand over the head again. “Hmmm. But how?”

  “Ah, the big question. Bernard, what if I told you I may have the answer? Or, at least, part of it anyway.”

  Truscott smiled. “I’d say you’re either smoking something or you’re on your way to becoming a billionaire.”

  Lanier fingered one of the handlebars on his salt and pepper mustache. "Bernard, listen. I believe I've isolated the genetic coding responsible for aging. In fact, I'm sure of it."

  "'Coding?' What do you mean? No single DNA strand causes aging in and of itself."

  "Right, no single gene controls aging; rather, it's a complex system of genetic interplay. In any case, I've been studying something known as DNA 'helicases,' proteins involved in such things as Werner's syndrome and pregaria."

  "Hmm. Werner's syndrome is responsible for premature aging, but pregaria?"

  "Pregaria escalates the breakdown I mentioned but even faster than Werner's. In any case, I've been able to reverse the DNA helicase activity that causes these things."

  Truscott's eyes opened wide. "You mean you found a cure for those diseases? Garrett, that's astounding! This could mean a Nobel Prize! How did you--"

  "Bernard. It's more than a cure for ‘those diseases,' as you put it. It's a cure for aging itself!"

  Truscott rose to his full, six-foot, two-inch height and stared down at the much shorter geneticist, who also stood. “Garrett, aren’t you making a huge leap here? What are you telling me?”

  “I’m telling you that I’ve succeeded in slowing or, in some cases, stopping the aging process in laboratory animals. However, there have been some problems.”

  “Like what?”

  “Well, the effect wears off too soon, and--”

  “And?”

  “They immediately grow old and die. Right before your eyes.”

  “Yet you’ve succeeded in slowing aging, even temporarily, before this happens? Unbelievable!” Truscott raised one eyebrow. “You’re not playing with me are you? This isn’t some kind of a joke?”

  Lanier smiled. “Come on down to the lab.”

  “FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH” DRUG HOAX, FDA CLAIMS

  (AP) The Food and Drug Administration announced that a drug manufactured by a firm known as “Fountain of Youth, Inc.” which was supposed to reverse the aging process, does not work. Claims that people who have taken the drug have become physically younger are totally fraudulent, an FDA spokesman said. Company personnel were not available for comment.

  The New York Times, October 22, 2015

  Truscott stared at the dead animal. “A dead rat, so what?”

  “You’re an animal biologist. How old would you say it was when it expired?”

  “Hmmm, at least six or seven years, anyway.”

  “It was only a month old.”

  “Oh, come on.”

  “Bernard, I’m telling you. This particular rat was two weeks old when I administered the, uh, serum. Two weeks later it still looked like it had two weeks before and then, poof! Methuselah. ”

  Truscott’s eyes narrowed. “Garrett,” he began slowly, “I hate to say this but-- ”

  Lanier smiled. “I know. I could show you a dead rat and claim anything I wanted to but it doesn’t prove anything, right?”

  “Well . . . ”

  “Bernard, don’t worry about it. You’re a scientist. I understand. You have to be skeptical. Tell you what, let’s go over some of my work and maybe you’ll understand what I’ve discovered.”

  “Excellent idea.”

  SLOWING DOWN AGING PROCESS IMPOSSIBLE, SCIENTIST CLAIMS

  (REUTERS) Dr. August van Devander, a leading British geneticist, flatly stated that slowing the aging process is physically impossible. “In spite of some of the stories appearing in the world press lately,” van Devander remarked in a recent lecture at Oxford University, “only God could make something like that happen. Once you are born, you start to age and die and that is that.” When asked about recent claims of some drug companies, he replied “I wouldn’t buy stock in any of them.”

  CNN Worldnet Report, 1 November 2015

  Truscott stared out the laboratory window, mouth agape. “My God.”

  Lanier wiped his glasses. “I know. It seems impossible, but there it is.”

  Truscott turned around and faced him. “Garrett, it’s brilliant! I find no obvious flaw in the data you have thus

  far. It boggles the mind! I -- I don’t know what to say.”

  A chuckle. “Say ‘Congratulations, old boy, you’ve done it!’ Or something like that.”

  “Well, it’s one hell of a feat I must admit. But you haven’t quite ‘done it’ yet, have you?”

  “True. But with your help, I think I can solve the, uh, stabilization problem.”

  “Garrett, have you thought of the implications of this -- if you were to succeed?”

  “Sure! We’d not only live longer but we’d be younger to boot!”

  Truscott stroked his head. “Uh huh. Let us assume you perfect and then market a serum such as you have here. And let us assume further that anyone who gets it ages, say, one year for every ten. Now, when does one get the shot, at what age?”

  “Mmmmmm, whenever one wants. Let’s say you like the way you look at twenty-five. You get the shot and, voila! when you’re thirty-five, you look twenty-six. And when you’re forty-five, you look twenty-seven, and so forth.” He paused to do a few calculations in his mind. “My word, when you’re seventy-five, you’d look only thirty!”

  “Okay,” Truscott replied, his eyes narrowing. “But what happens if someone likes the way he looks when he’s ten? Or some parents decide to give the shot to an infant?”

  “Well, there would have to be some regulation . . . ”

  Truscott ignored him. “Supposing athletes took this shot. Garrett, a guy could play center field for years! And think of the military. Soldiers could have careers spanning decades!”

  “You’re starting to get the idea.”

  Truscott raised a finger. “But,” he said sharply, “but what about world
population? Wouldn’t everybody have to be inoculated?”

  “I don’t follow you.”

  “My dear Garrett, if just some people got the shot, all their friends and relatives would age while they did not. On the other hand, if everyone got the shot, and people kept having kids -- Lord have mercy!”

  Lanier’s eyes opened wide. “Mothers could bear children until God knows when.”

  “Yes. Assuming of course that all the functions of the body would behave accordingly, slowing down the aging process in a normal, healthy young woman could extend her fertility for decades! Good heavens, man, the population could explode!”

  Lanier removed his glasses and began polishing them with his lab smock. He took a deep breath. “Yes, well, there are certainly some social aspects that will have to be addressed.”

  Truscott laughed. “My dear Garrett, you are the master of the understatement! ‘Social aspects that will have to be addressed.’ Indeed!”

  Lanier’s face grew serious. “Bernard, I realize the implications of such a discovery, believe me. But does that mean we should give up on the idea? Just -- forget about it?”

  “Well, no, of course not. Uh, did you say ‘we’ Garrett?”

  “Yes, ‘we. I need your help. First to ‘perfect’ this stuff, as you so well put it, and then to help, uh, distribute it. You are more experienced with such things.”

  “Market it, you mean?”

  “Perhaps. But we’re a long way from that point. What do you say?”

  Truscott steepled his fingertips together, biting his lower lip in the process. “Well, show me more.”

  Lanier pressed a button on his belt computer and a screen lit up on one wall. “This is the formula as it stands. Now, I believe if we make some changes say, here – and here . . . ”

  “Mmmm. Yes, I think you may be on to something.” He stared at the complex formula for some time.

  Lanier interrupted his thoughts. “Bertha is pregnant.” Truscott started. “What? Bertha? Who - - oh, your cat.” Lanier nodded. A look of understanding came over Truscott’s face. “So – oh, I see. Newborn kittens!”

  “Yes. And with a little luck, and some, uh, ‘youth juice,’ they may stay kittens for a long time.”

  “And drive poor Bertha crazy, no doubt.”

  “No doubt.” He arched his eyebrows. “Well?”

  The rubbing of the head again. “Damn, man, let’s get to work!”

  WORLD’S OLDEST MAN WISHES HE WERE YOUNG

  Paris (EuroNet) -- Maurice Prevoteau, the world’s oldest man at one-hundred-thirty-nine, said he feels fine but wishes he could be younger, at least looks-wise. “I am tired of looking like a prune,” he said while drinking wine at a bistro in Montmarte. “Perhaps wine will make me look young,” he laughed as he sipped his Merlot. Most doctors agree that a little wine each day may help you live longer but, if anything, alcohol may actually make one appear older. Prevoteau, who claims to have drunk wine every day since he was in his teens, was philosophical about it. “It may not be the Fountain of Youth, but it does taste good.”

  - International Herald Tribune, December 12, 2015

  Lanier and Truscott examined the kittens. Six in all, three of them normal, and three of them decidedly anything but. Truscott held one of the beneficiaries of what was now referred to merely as “The Shot.” “Wow, Garrett, they’re twelve weeks old and look as though they were born two weeks ago.”

  “I know,” answered Lanier as he hand fed the kitten, the mother having run out of milk. “Bernard, this is the longest I have gotten anything to live. I think we may be on our way.”

  Truscott picked up a white kitten. “What do you think little one?” A tiny “mew.” “Okay, we shall see.”

  A few months later, the two men stared at the six felines. Lanier stared at Truscott. “Bernard. Three, almost fully grown cats and three-- kittens!”

  “Garrett, I think it’s time to step up the research. We’ve now got the stability problem licked, don’t you think?”

  “From all indications I’d say ‘yes.’ No severe reversals and no deaths in a while. You think it’s time for the monkey?”

  Truscott stood up straight. “Yes. It’s high time.”
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