Starting on a positive note 16



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I’ve decided to start 2015 on a positive note.

Despite having far more yesterdays than tomorrows and that The Day of Reckoning is approaching at what seems break-neck speed, I have decided to live forever.

I hate funerals and, if it could be avoided, I wouldn’t even attend my own. Now I won’t have to. Deciding to live forever is not a decision lightly taken and there is a way. I’m talking about cryonics. Yes, cryonics.

Mind you, I did give some thought to being cloned but all that would do is produce another grumpy old curmudgeon and there are quite enough of those. I also toyed with the idea of becoming a ghost and getting my after-life jollies by popping up at the most inconvenient times to scare the excrement out of people I didn’t like when I was rather more substantial. Yes, it would be fun but it isn’t actually living, is it?

Cryonics is the process that freezes you immediately after death and pops you into a vat full of nitrogen so that at some time in the future you can be thawed out to start all over again.

I am assured by its advocates that it is a “science” although even they concede that it is still unproven. Oh really?

We already have the Cryonics Association of Australasia (CAA) which, according to its website, “has been planning a Cryonics storage facility outside the NSW country town of Cowra (about 5 hours drive West of Sydney)”. Regrettably, progress has been slow – “… due to delays in the development of other commercial, subsidising organisations, no buildings have yet been erected on the 50 acre site”, they mournfully admit.

Their invaluable work seems to have been either taken over or absorbed by StasisSystems Australia and, according to their website, “We intend to commence operations by the end of 2014” which, again, didn’t actually happen. Indeed, in a statement issued on June 19, 2012, they announced, “Australia is on the verge of opening its first cryogenics facility”.

But what a lively and ever hopeful site this outfit has, announcing in its Mission Statement that it has been established, “to promote and make widely available scientifically-based cryogenic suspension as a credible option for life extension.” It explains – “Cryogenics is the preservation of the human body at cryogenic temperatures (-196C) in the expectation that future medical technology will be able to repair the accumulated damage of ageing and disease at the molecular level, and restore the patient to health”.

They have really thought this through – for example, you will be hung upside down so that if there is any leakage of the nitrogen only your tootsies will thaw out in the event that remedial action is not immediately taken and your brain will stay nice and cool. You can even share your vat with a loved one and you decide when you want to re-emerge.

There are a few tricky little things to consider. Should you decide to be frozen, is it entirely ethical for your loved ones to cash in on the funeral insurance? I mean, that could be seen as fraud when you triumphantly emerge in 3099 or whatever. And before the process can begin, you have to be declared legally dead.

An outfit in the USA called Alcor – Life Extension Foundation is the leading world authority and only recently signed up their 1,000th member although admitting that they “have a very long way to go until they have persuaded a substantial portion of the population to make cryonics arrangements”. They confront challenges head-on – under the FAQs section the query is posed, “It sounds like a scan. Who’s getting rich?” And the disarming answer, “We know. But it isn’t. The majority of people working in cryonics organisations are volunteers and certainly nobody is getting rich”.

I’m worried sick that they could work themselves into an early grave.

The website has a section headed, “Epilogue” but I didn’t go there – it sounded too funereal.

The full body job is a bargain at around $200,000 plus a few on-going costs here and there although there are the options of just having your head or just your brain frozen. I’m going to the “head-only” option as the body is not what it was and I plan to have a freshly decapitated ironman right next to my vat when my thawed head emerges.

The CAA has thoughtfully explained at its website what to do in emergencies: “if the person has just died or is about to die” you should “pack the person in ice-bags (NOT dry ice), especially around the person’s head” then ring CAA.

I have a terrible fear of waking up and seeing my Dearly Beloved standing around the bed with every bag of ice the local servo had. The shock would kill me.


Would you have your body frozen? What year would you like to come back to life? What do you think the world will be like? Tell us below.

Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

  1. Cryogenics is a bit of expensive gamble, no humans have ever been bought back to life yet, I am thinking of donating my body to medical science..I won’t be needing it anymore and if can help others..why not

  2. Ha ha. Very funny. Sorry to put the cabosh on your plans but it is a load of horse manure.

    1 REPLY
    • Oh Debra – You have shattered my dream – and on the very eve of Christmas. I’m wracked with sobs now..dreams have turned to dust, or perhaps, horse manure.

  3. I think that I’m fast getting ready to delete this… It is so directed at pointing us older people in the wrong direction. Why are you putting up political dramas and negative postings on mental illnesses…. I don’t get it. ?? Oh I do but I don’t think it is right.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Dianne – I am really at a loss to understand your comments – this has nothing to do at all about mental illness and even less to do with politics but, rather, I meant it as a send-up of this plainly stupid alleged “science”! And believers who have fallen for this scam come from all age groups

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