The bucket theory of memory

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

Ask anyone who knows me, I'm young. I don't know what that means, but I know it's not the circuits I've made around the sun. I'm always energized, bouncing off walls, with an immature sense of humor.

We live on the cusp of immortality. I freak out my friend Carter King when I talk about the potential of uploading my consciousness into the cloud, or transferring it into a clone made of my own cells. Why shouldn't I have a backup in case something bad happens, like I get hit by a bus or forget to keep my hands on the steering wheel?

I think 300 would be about the right age to die. I mean, if it really has to happen at all. When I get there, maybe I'll say 600 is the right age. Once your essential memories are storable and transferable on some kind of external hardware, the finite number of cells available for new learning in our current wetware will be irrelevant. You could choose who you want to be each time you change out your body.

That's why I hate the growing number of inexorable signs of aging I'm experiencing. I've had tinnitus for a while now. Since September 2013, anyway. It's a hazard and badge of a misspent youth. But two weeks ago, something slipped, and suddenly I lost a big part of the hearing in my left ear. It feels congested more than anything. The quality of the sound seems to improve when I take decongestants. My ear, nose and throat guy told me a few months ago that there's nothing that can be done to treat tinnitus, so I'm trying some Eastern methods, herbs and such, to treat the underlying issues, like stress and inflammation.

Here's the thing: These little signs of things breaking down cause me to fear that I won't make it past the sell-by date. I'm going to be very angry if I keel over from a massive stroke the day before some geek in Silicon Valley creates an app for uploading our consciousness. Life is nothing if not short, and 53 years is still equal to nothing if you're rounding to the nearest thousand. Trust me, it's not a fear of death as much as it is a fear of missing out.