Happy Bedford Day

What, you’re not celebrating this year? What’s WRONG with you people??? This is a big day!

Today we celebrate the death of James Hiram Bedford. Well… not really. But sort of. Mr. Bedford is the first human to be cryopreserved on this day in 1967. He actually volunteered for it. It’s hard to resist a freebie, I know, but when the Life Extension Society announced that their first “body-cicle” would be no charge, I think I’d still have passed.

Mr Bedford’s decision is a monument to optimism. First of all, he died of kidney cancer which had spread to his lungs. The chances of him being thawed out and revitalized are pretty slim under those circumstances, even if you believe in such things. Not only would we have to come up with a cure for cancer, but somehow come up with a reversal of its ravages.

Second, he was dead for several hours before they froze him. So he’s dead, dead, dead. I mean, seriously… he’s dead. So dead.

Third, the procedures back then were so primitive that it’s quite probable that his brain was damaged. (It’s hard to believe that you can damage a brain more than its being dead in the first place, but anyway…) If we ever did figure out a way to flip his switch once again, he would not be the man that his family knew and loved.

Fourth (and if you have a weak stomach you might want to skip this paragraph), upon last inspection, there were several… gulp… cracks… found in his corpse. (Okay, give me a second. I need to put my head between my knees.)

So now we’re left with this bulky, high-maintenance family heirloom. Awkward. For two years he (it?) was stored in a facility in Arizona. Then he was moved to California and stayed there for 4 years. Then he was shunted off to another facility in Berkeley, California for another 4 years.

To make things even more creepy (if that’s possible), he was then stored for 5 years by his family. Where? In the garage next to the meat freezer? I shudder to think. (“Hey kids, stop doodling on your grandfather’s cryo-tank!”)

Currently, it’s being stored by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. It kind of makes you think. People are starving all over the world. I wonder how much money has been spent to perpetuate this misguided farce, and how many people have wasted their money in hopes of some unattainable immortality? (In case you’re wondering, the going price to preserve just your brain is 80k.)

Even if this can be done at some point, why do we think the already overpopulated future is going to be hankering for more people? It makes no sense.

Rest in peace, Mr. Bedford. I have no idea how you could possibly be doing that, but rest in peace.

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James Hiram Bedford. [Getty Images]
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