Y'know, I've always been told that everything and everyone dies in the end. It's part of being alive, the philosophers have assured me cheerfully. It's what gives our existence shape and meaning. It returns us to our rightful state, as part of the world.
And then someone told me about this little bugger.
This tiny jellyfish, instead of dying after spawning like any self-respecting cnidarian, instead reverts to a juvenile, colonial-polyp state and gets to do it all over again. There is, allegedly, no limit to the number of times it can repeat this cycle. According to the Daily Telegraph, these immortal monsters are threatening to take over the entire ocean.
They're only 5mm long, so that doesn't sound all that scary. Still - if science fiction has taught us anything, and personally I think it's taught us practically everything, it's surely taught us how powerful immortality can be. Imagine if one of these things manages to open a bank account.
(A few years ago that would have sounded far-fetched, but given banks' recent performance, I'd have to say it'd be rash to rule out the possibility...)
When we grow old, all we can really do about it is spend lots of money - whether on Porsches or hair transplants or plastic surgery. None of which will really restore us to a polyp state. (Alternatively, we could go on pilgrimage to the Himalayan plateau, to live on yak butter tea and pure enlightenment. But historically, very few people have thought that was a price worth paying, and anyway I understand even Nepal isn't what it used to be in this regard.)
But little ol' Turritopsis nutricula - when it notices a grey tentacle here or there, all it has to do is find a partner and rut its way back to youth. How useful is that?
On second thoughts, though - from my point of view, what it would mean is that whenever my acne cleared up enough to let me get some action, I'd immediately be returned to pepperoni-faced ridicule. I remember my teenage years, and on the whole I'm glad they're behind me.