Sumner Redstone and the business of eternal life

Conventional wisdom states that the two inescapable facts of life are death and taxes. While the last few years have suggested that the latter can be at least partially avoided if one is insanely wealthy, the former still has a hold on everyone. However, as media giant Sumner Redstone stated in a recent interview, he is planning to cheat the Grim Reaper.

On the one hand, Redstone's comments can easily be dismissed as the ramblings of an aging megalomaniac with more money than god. However, on another level, they make a lot of sense. After all, although most experts agree that death is inevitable, numerous industries are hard at work on techniques to ensure that the extremely wealthy will be able to enjoy their holdings long after the rest of us are dust.

Redstone's first step in his personal quest for eternal life could easily be a buff, shine, and wax on his outermost layers of skin. Luckily, there are a wide array of procedures available to help return his face to the contours of its youth. For example, a blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift, should only run him $3,134, while a deep chemical peel, which will help remove scars and pocks, runs an average of $900. A rhytidectomy, or face lift, will probably run him at least $5,000, while collagen injections cost somewhere around $275 apiece. While he's at it, Redstone might drop a little cash on botox ($457), a chin implant ($1,936), cheek augmentation ($2,332), ear sculpturing ($2,762), and a nose job ($6,048).

Heading south of the neck, Redstone has a lot of options for giving his body the Fabio makeover. Abdominal etching ($10,000) can provide him with a nice six-pack, while a butt lift ($12,000) can help him recapture the perky bottom of his youth. For that matter, calf implants ($4,000) and pectoral implants ($3,992) can help him look buff with nary a visit to the gym.

Ultimately, though, plastic surgery will only polish up Redstone's external appearance; for real eternal life, he needs to go deep below the surface. Luckily, there are numerous services that promise to increase his physical well-being, reverse the aging process, and generally help him strike the same deal as Ahasuerus. On the cheaper end of the spectrum, he can huff oxygen at a bar for about $1 per minute. Although the FDA disputes claims that increased oxygen consumption is helpful, advocates argue that it relaxes the body and strengthens the immune system. On the other end, colonics supposedly help detoxify the body and, at under $100 a pop, are well within Redstone's budget.

If he really wants to get serious, Redstone can start with injections of human growth hormones (HGH). At a cost of $800-$3,000 per month, the shots will, supposedly, help him with everything from cell damage to failing organs. Similarly, advocates of DHEA, a naturally-occurring steroid hormone, claim that it enhances immunity, combats cancer, and can cure pretty much anything. At $90 a month, it seems like a real bargain. The same goes for melatonin, an extract from the pineal gland that supposedly helps slow the aging process. Given that it costs a mere $15 for a hundred tablets, it should help preserve Redstone's wallet, if not his body.

Of course, the ultimate method for cheating death is cryonics. Basically, this method involves waiting until a person is dead (it's illegal to cryonically freeze a live human being) and freezing his or her body. There is, currently, no method for unfreezing cryonically preserved people, but the idea is that future scientific advances will make thawing possible.

Cryonics is a pretty big business. The American Cryonics Society charges $155,000 for its top program, while Alcor Life-Extension Foundation charges $150,000. While it's clear that the cryonics business is lucrative, much of the money goes into a fund to pay for the costs of preservation in perpetuity. Although cryonics advocates argue that a decent-sized life insurance policy can, ironically, cover the costs of cryonic preservation, the truth is that the program is most attractive to exceedingly wealthy clients who can pay out of pocket.

And, if worse comes to worse, Redstone can always try the methods of the Pharoahs: Summum offers mummification at a cost of $67,000. Now if old Sumner can only convince his employees to join him in his tomb, he could really be in business.
Read Full Story