I'm here because I wrote a book: a nonfiction one, specifically. It's about the end of the world. I get some blank stares and a fair share of wary backing away when I say that. How can the end of the world be nonfiction?
That's easy: We're a pretty fragile race, really. A large-scale natural disaster would top us off neatly, a particularly virulent new virus could put us down, or it might just be our own advanced scientific knowledge coupled with our poor impulse control that leads to our destruction. My book is not about the eventual heat death of the universe, or the impending supernova of our sun, or some other such cosmic event far into the distant future. No, my book is entirely about the threats that could pose some kind of realistic threat to the survival of the human race in the very near future and the close shaves we've experienced in recent history that nearly did us all in. Everything in here either damn near killed you, personally, when it happened, or might kill you, personally, if it does happen.
It's... rather dark stuff, really.
But the book itself is supposed to be funny; the commentary is rather lighthearted, and the tone is humorous because, hell — what else are you going to do but laugh in the face of death? There are just generally not a lot of options open to you once you're "in the face of" something. I doubt you want to make out with death. And he probably wouldn't take kindly to punches or spitting, so we're left with laughter. Well, that was my reasoning, anyway; clearly, I was suffering from some kind of emotional problem to want to write a book like this. And if I wasn't before, I certainly am now.
But Jesus Christ, you guys: I cannot take any more of this darkness. I have spent the last year of my life intensely studying the death of humanity; they're going to revoke my liver if I keep drinking myself to sleep at night like this. So that leaves me in a quandary: If you don't know me well enough to care about my autobiography, and I'm going to have to start abusing prescription pharmaceuticals if I keep talking about the end of all life on Earth, what do we do?
We're going to take the complete opposite tack: For the rest of this week, I'm going to write about all the very real emerging sciences and techniques that could help you live forever...
That is, if the things in my book don't wipe you out first.
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Robert Brockway is an editor and columnist for Cracked.com, and the author of Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his fiancee, Meagan Kennedy, and their two dogs, Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. He has been known, on occasion, to have a mustache.
Books mentioned in this post
Robert Brockway is the author of Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead