Why would someone want to feel 74 when he or she is 45?
According to a story in The New York Times (Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011) by Natasha Singer titled “The Fountain of Old Age,” you might be doing this if you worked at MIT.
Now that the baby boomers, known as “boomers,” are turning 65, advertising agencies and marketing firms have been collecting data to find new products to sell to this lucrative market.
The bright, young minds at MIT had the idea that instead of talking to the boomers, a researcher would become one of them — sort of a virtual aging.
They have come up with an apparatus resembling a jumpsuit that includes a helmet attached by cords to a pelvic harness to cramp the neck and the spine, yellow goggles to blur the vision, and compression bands to make bending difficult.
Plastic shoes with uneven Styfoam pads create poor balance, and several layers of surgical gloves make the hands clumsy. The brave souls who wear this have to spend the day stooped over, bumping into things, unable to get up after they squat down, and dropping everything.
Sounds like my day.
The difference is that whenever they want to they can shed the system and be 45 again. I can’t.
I imagine that more enhancements are coming. Ear plugs will deafen hearing, feet will be programmed to approach every restroom they pass, and the fingers will be calibrated to drop food on the chest instead of delivering it to the mouth. The women’s version will have one shoulder lower than the other from years of carrying a pocketbook full of the family’s paraphernalia, and the men’s version will constantly ask where his jacket, book, or pen is.
Without waiting for the data to be compiled, I know what things the mature audience doesn’t need more of: such as a telephone with large buttons that announces to anyone who walks in the house that old people live here, or a complete set of magnifying glasses, or an electric chair riser that tosses one out of the chair and on to the floor.
Some more useful gadgets would be a box to connect to the DVD and announce that you have already seen the movie, or a handheld scanner to take to the bookstore to warn one that you have just finished reading the book you plan to buy.
Whatever you call us, boomers, seniors, or old fogies, what we really want are straight backs, steady feet, and clear eyes again.
In addition to this, it would be nice to also have tight skin, lubricated knees, and a sharp mind. Getting back a young memory may be too much to ask.
So in conclusion, what a 74 year old wants is a suit that makes him or her feel like 45 for a day. I would volunteer to test it.
Probably I’d never give it back.