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The Theory of Every Life

posted 6 Aug 2016, 08:06 by Fran Brady
EVERY LIFE divides into equal segments. This is the fundamental principle of the Bio-Control Theory. Understand that and the rest is a mere exercise in logic and scientific method. When I received the Nobel Prize for Science, in the year of my death, 2040, I was unsurprised. Of course, getting the Prize had long been a foregone conclusion ever since I had been cheated out of it twenty years earlier by that Edinburgh professor – Higgs and his boson.  I knew my time would come and, applying bio-control theory, I knew exactly when it would be.

My research was meticulous and lasted for exactly forty years before I went public with its findings. I was sure of them after twenty but I there were still too many powerful opponents and plagiarising charlatans alive to risk it. My wife did not understand. Surely twenty years was enough on any one project, she said. I pointed out many historic breakthroughs in medicine, economics and astrophysics that had taken much longer. ‘Yes, but they mattered,’ she replied.

That was the death knell for our marriage. In any case, it was the year of our ruby wedding. Our time was up unless we planned to slog it out for another twenty years, a prospect neither of us relished. That year had long been starred in my life projection chart. The midpoint of any trajectory is always significant. My wife had been looking forward to it too in her lightweight way, planning a world cruise and an enormous family party. The prospect of either of these would have filled me with a wearisome indifference had I not known – applying bio-control theory – that neither would take place. At age sixty, having been married for forty years, I knew for certain that there would be pivotal change. Her comment about what mattered was simply a hook to hang it on. We parted amicably although I did find her amused relief and enthusiastic embracing of her new, single life slightly irritating. I would have preferred simple acceptance of the inevitable.

I expressed this view to my sister. ‘Was it really that bad?’ she said. ‘You never told me you and Elsie were on the rocks.’ 
I frowned. ‘Rocks? What rocks?’
‘It’s just an expression. You know. You must both have been really unhappy to feel that separation was inevitable.’
‘Not at all.’ I said. ‘We had a good marriage. We were both very happy.’
‘Then why . . ?’
‘It was time up, of course. Forty years.’
My sister just shook her head and pursed her lips in that way she has. She has never understood me – nor I her. But siblings are not spouses. She was going to be my sister right to the end, for the second half as well as the first. She had fifteen year segments and still had five years of her fifth one to go when I reached the end of my four twenty-year ones.

It was certainly disappointing not to get the Nobel in my sixtieth year when I had published my theory to considerable acclaim. The upside was that I knew I would now have another twenty years of life. Applying pure bio-control theory linked to my certainty that I had always been destined for the Nobel, I knew that, since I had not got it in my sixtieth year, I would live on until I did. If I passed my sixtieth year, I would be into a new twenty-year segment.

The years rolled by and I waited, the theory gaining wider and wider understanding and use as I did lecture tour after lecture tour, becoming quite famous. They even made a film of my life with one of the industry’s rising stars playing me and a rather fine actress playing my wife. As my eightieth year approached, I did begin to wonder. Was I going to get five segments? The old ‘telegram from the queen’ job?
Then the call came. I had a month to make sure all my affairs were in order before I set off for Sweden. It was a wonderful ceremony, truly the pinnacle of my illustrious career. I made speech after speech, took press conference after press conference. My fellow scientists duly feted me and I was written up in every prestigious journal.

However – there always is a fly in any ointment: ‘Just one thing puzzles me,’ wrote a columnist in a broadsheet newspaper that really ought to know better. ‘You are – by your own admission – in very good health. Why does every speech you make now - and every article you write - refer to your approaching death?

Why indeed? I refer you, ladies and gentlemen, to the application of Bio-Control Theory. Its perfection is absolute. There are no exceptions. Every life divides into equal segments.