Wednesday 7 December 2005

My fairly imminent date with destiny

Wouldn’t it be handy if we all came with a ‘best before’ date stamped on our body, ideally in a place where we could see it without resorting to a mirror?

This reflection was inspired by logging onto a website called that notes your date of birth, sex, size and attitude to life, and then tells you how long you’ve got left.

Apparently I’m going to be off on Saturday, 4 February 2012, which means that all the pension contributions I’ve made to date have been completely and utterly wasted. Rather annoying, that.

So I tried lying about my BMI (which is not, as I always thought, a budget airline, but a scientific measure of obesity) to see if I could squeeze out a few more years. The best alternative I was offered was a date with the undertaker in 2007. The worst was that the news that I have in fact been dead since 1991. All I can say is that, if it’s true, I certainly haven’t gone to heaven.

I could live the life of Riley for the next six-and-a-bit years, selling my house and all my other assets and splurging the money on booze, fags, drugs and lapdancers. If only I could be sure that I wouldn’t wake up on 5 February 2012 with a thumping headache, no friends and not a penny to my name.

Yes, there’s always the Beachy Head option, but by that stage I’d have trouble raising the train fare to Eastbourne. And one of the very few disadvantages of living in Northumberland is that you can’t do yourself a lot of serious damage leaping off the dunes at Druridge Bay.

Which is why an official use-by date would be so useful. Maybe we could persuade our liberal Government to arrange it as part of their plans for fingerprinting and iris-scanning the entire population. Doubtless to be swiftly followed by universal DNA testing and the implantation of those micro-chips currently favoured by caring dog owners. ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.’

Let’s face it, a sell-by date for people would be a lot more use than on tinned food, which basically keeps forever. I’m still happily eating stuff that is a decade out of date. And … hang on, I wonder if that has something to do with my very limited life expectancy?

Keith Hann enjoys limited success as both a PR consultant and a coffin-dodger.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.