Wanna find out how to “optimize your cryopreservation arrangements,” i.e., freeze your head? Cryonics magazine is your Bible, your On The Road, and your National Review all rolled into one. And now it’s gone digital! That is to say, the publishers of Cryonics will no longer be issuing print copies, though they’re in the process of arranging to have print-on-demand copies made available for those of you who want to have your head frozen, but don’t want to fuck around with all that newfangled Kindle crap.
Cryonics is published by Scottsdale, Arizona’s Alcor Life Extension Foundation, the world’s largest cryonics organization. With over nine hundred members, the organization has about 100 patients in cryopreservation, about two-thirds of them as “neuropatients,” also known as “severed heads.”
Wait, is he actually talking about severed heads?
Look, this can’t be news to you: People freeze their heads. No, this is not like the Fainting Game or Chubby Bunny. It’s about immortality.
I mean, people figure, y’know, technology is progressing, like, all super speedy-like, and so they’re all, Sooner or later they’ll figure how to raise the dead, right? Simple process of totally reasonable deduction:
Data: I have a cell phone.
Data: I didn’t have one twenty years ago.
Conclusion? Twenty more years = Raise the dead.
So these cats, they figure, Aw Yeah, I’m hitching a ride on the Frankenstein train — apparently having never read the novel, or at least having disregarded its cautionary elements. I mean, can you blame them? Who wants to die — other than, you know, people who want to die? These cats wanna live forever. That’s not morbid at all.
What, I submit, is morbid — and I doubt I’m alone on this one — is having your head hacked off to do so.
Now, please do not misunderstand my skepticism toward medical decapitation as the path to eternal life. First, I’m not one of these namby-pamby essentialist Luddites; I figure, if Stephen Hawking can be a completely punkrock, bitchslapping badass despite numerous physical challenges, well…Hasta la vista, shoulders! If the freaks in white coats can hack my head off and keep me churning out the crystalline prose typing with, I don’t know, some sort of genetically engineered brain-spliced prehensile nostril or something? FTW, Bubbah.
But…uh…counting on the 22nd Century to invent a prehensile nostril with which my severed head will be able to keep cranking out the crystalline prose? After they invent a way to revive me in the first place, without, you know, having all my brain juice just sort of go Slurp! on the floor?
Ummm…okay, am I alone in thinking that’s the biological equivalent of cramming for Heaven?
Oh, wait, did you say Alcor Life Extension Foundation? Would that be the same Alcor Life Extension Foundation that was accused by a coroner of “hastening the death” of one of its clients, Dora Kent of Riverside, California (mother of a board member), with barbiturates that Alcor, for its part, claimed were administered after death — because who doesn’t need a Quaalude or six after shuffling off this mortal coil?
No charges were ever filed in the case. The company prevailed in not one but two false arrest suits against the county, and claims that the resultant publicity actually increased their membership.
But…that can’t possibly be the same Alcor Life Extension Foundation that was also accused by its former Chief Operating Officer, former EMT Larry Johnson, of pouring HIV-contaminated blood into municipal sewers, hurrying another (unrelated) patient along to the grave, and of “mishandling” baseball great Ted Williams’ head when drilling holes in it (which is a standard procedure when freezing heads; it’s about edema, duh!) — accidentally cracking his brain? Mas oui!
But…surely that’s not the same former Alcor COO Larry Johnson, author the 2009 book Frozen: My Journey into the World of Cryonics, Deception, and Death who, after being interviewed by Sports Illustrated on the topic of “What Really Happened to Ted,” purportedly (according to a CNN interview) offered graphic photos of the maltreatment of Williams’ noggin for a “donation” of $20?
But just to be safe, if I do decide to have my head frozen, I’m going to do it the old-fashioned way. I’m going to have a sick brood of mentally ill children. Then, subsequent to my death in a scuffle with the county sheriff wanting to know what in dang blazes I’m keeping in that padlocked garden shed that smells so bad he’s getting complaints from the next county over, my children can kill the sheriff with a backhoe, dismember my body, “preserve” my head in the freezer and only bring it out for afternoon tea parties.