I recently attended an event called “Life at 50+” sponsored by the AARP.
It took place at the huge Miami Beach Convention Center and used almost all their available space. I don’t know the exact attendance but it was huge and, of course, filled with old people, thousands of them.
This isn’t the type of event I usually would attend except that one of my favorite writers, Michio Kaku, was speaking there. Michio wrote a book which I have made reference to on many occasions called the Future of the Mind
I generally use quotes from his book when speaking to students in our public schools and trying to get them to think of what life might be like when they reach my age. Michio is a PhD, theoretical physicist, author and professor, and in general a brilliant guy.
I had the mistaken impression that I certainly could get a chance to speak with him and perhaps get an endorsement for my upcoming book.
That was not to be. He might as well have been Justin Bieber because it was virtually impossible to get close to him due to the number of bodyguards, etc., surrounding him. I guess he is really big time and not to be bothered by the likes of me. I finally did get to hear his speech at the convention and made sure to sit in the front row with the hopes of grabbing him as he left. That was also not to be.
What fascinates me about this man is that he can speak about the future with a great deal of authority. He told us that computer chips will someday have an average cost of one cent. Based on that, the most incredibly complex devices will enter the market and be very inexpensive.
He pointed out that today’s iPhone has something like 10 times the computing ability of the entire first moon launch. That is hard to believe but many scientists will tell you the same thing. He began talking about making plain sheets of paper into computers of their own by linking all of these one penny chips together.
He gave as an example a scenario where you might be sitting in your living room, not like the color of your wallpaper and simply say “change to yellow,” to which the chips would instantly react. Another possibility is that you might be sitting home alone with not much to do and you could ask the wallpaper if there was anyone around in a similar circumstance who would like to get together or whatever. Sure that sounds wacky but again when I look back and try to imagine an iPhone when I was in the fourth or fifth grade that would’ve been beyond my scope of comprehension just as this wallpaper is.
It was worth the effort getting there, fighting the traffic, and pushing my way through thousands and thousands of old people, not that I am one of them, just to hear this man speak.
Of course there were other things going on at the convention. I was able to get my blood tested, my hearing analyzed, my blood pressure checked and just about anything else that needed testing. Fortunately I passed most of these tests.
I ended up with two large bags full of giveaways that each exhibitor seemed anxious to present to me. I haven’t decided what to do with them all yet: for example a rubber microphone, a rubber solid plastic car of some sort and a bunch of other useless gadgets, but how could I say no to these nice people handing them out.
I have been a member of AARP for some time now and try to take advantage of all that they have to offer to senior citizens including special discount rates, excellent insurance policies and all kinds of guidance needed by senior citizens. The tough thing about all this is when my very own daughter, who I still think of as my little girl, announced that she had just joined AARP. Could it be? I don’t know what that actually makes me but for sure it makes me old.
One of the other speakers was Ben Stein — economist, lawyer, author, and lots of other stuff — and I did enjoy listening to his talk as well.
There were many more sessions and speakers including a Zumba class and who knows what else. My advice to anyone reaching that age is to begin looking into the benefits of membership in this fine organization and watch for my upcoming book, When I was Your AGE, based on some of the things I have learned there.