There’s a time that falls between hearing spectacularly good news, and the time you find out the news is wrong. I call it The Wonderful Time.
I remember the day my future editor at United Media told me my “development contract” was going to become a real contract, meaning my comic strip would be sold to newspapers after months of drawing practice strips that no one but United Media saw. I asked how much money I could expect to make per newspaper, and did some quick math based on an assumption of a good, but not great, first year. I concluded that I would earn $400,000 the first year. My day job paid about $65,000, so obviously I was thrilled.
I actually earned about $18,000 the first year. I assumed, incorrectly, that the newspaper payments my editor mentioned were daily figures, not weekly. And in the first few years, the strip only sold into a few dozen smaller papers that didn’t pay much. I kept my day job for over six years while working mornings, nights, and weekends to create Dilbert. In fact, I didn’t take a day off for the first ten years. But I still have fond memories of The Wonderful Time prior to learning how bad my earnings estimate was, and before realizing how much work was involved.
I am reminded of this by a recent article in Popular Science, about a guy who can allegedly turn any organic material into oil, creating a huge net gain of energy. He can turn tires, rocks, coal, plastic, or anything organic into oil. Allegedly.
I know, I know, it reminds you a lot of the story of the guy who can turn water into fuel. But in the water guy’s case, the energy to make the conversion is greater than the energy used. That might turn out to be the case for the fellow who turns rocks into oil too, but until we learn that for sure, we can all enjoy The Wonderful Time.
What if this invention works as advertised? The inventor will become the world’s first trillionaire. But more important, an invention that turns rocks into oil will effectively eliminate poverty along with most causes of war. Imagine having no electrical lines to your home. You just toss the junk mail and other garbage in the burner and flip a switch. If grandma dies, don’t waste her. Pop her in the burner and let her treat you to some TV on the big screen. Throw in your old clothes, computers, lawn clippings, you name it.
I was watching a TV show last night about scientists who can use a modified inkjet printer to “print” a new organ for your body, one layer at a time, using your own cells that were grown in a dish. They have already created replacement bladders that the body won’t reject. And they are already working on hearts.
You might say you don’t want to live for hundreds of years, but you are underestimating the new mood enhancing drugs that are totally legal and will put you in a state of perpetual bliss.
So there you have it: Immortality is getting nearer, and we’ll all be stupid-happy, and wealthy.
Don’t think about why that prediction is probably wrong. Just enjoy The Wonderful Time.