The Times They Are A Changin’


By Briane Nasimok

(TORONTO, ON) – For those of you who don’t know the story behind the name of my column, So Far So Good, let me quickly review it, as I believe it bears relevance to today’s ramblings.

The title refers back to a scene from The Magnificent Seven, a 1960’s Hollywood oater, with a plot that was ‘liberated’ from the classic Japanese film, The Seven Samurai, with the studio adding The Man from Uncle.

The US cast included Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn (the Man), Horst Bucholtz, and a guy named Brad Dexter; a great trivia answer for those who care. For a bonus point Eli Wallach played the Mexican Bandito leader.

In the US flick, the night before the Seven were to take on the forty outlaws who have returned to a little Mexican village to, again, pillage the crops, an elder asks Steve how he can face such overwhelming odds.

Mr McQueen shares his philosophy (and mine), telling the tale of the man who falls off the top of a ten storey building and, as he drops by each floor, the people inside can hear him say, “So far, so good. So far, so good.”

Just recently, I added a caveat to this view of existence, thinking that when you finally reach that final destination, if you hit a trampoline and bounce back up, it means you believe in reincarnation.

This longish preamble is just getting me to my theme for today; the introduction of a new time piece that professes to predict when you will “run out of floors” and your “best before date” will be reached, to the second.

Yes, just what we’ve always needed, something that will tell you when you are going to die.

Welcome to the TIkker.

Created by a Swedish inventor named Fred Colting, he and his design team have set up a Kickstarter campaign to, of course, raise $25,000 to get the project going. But that hasn’t stopped them from making a working prototype, which I recently saw on late night television.

The watch will cost $79 ($59 if your order now) and is supposed to start shipping by April of this year. This will mean that the Cash for Life Lottery may be taking a heavy hit after patrons realize that they will only get three payments before their life is no more.

Colting has a scientific formula to help the consumer figure out when they will be ‘buying the farm’, so to speak. Before the consumer starts the clock the Tikkee has to fill out a questionnaire. The information needed includes medical history, whether they drink, or smoke, and instances of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases in the family.

Added to the formula are questions about how much exercise they do as well as how much they weigh. And once that is all put together, they have a score.

After their age is deducted, the tikker begins its countdown and they are shown to the second when the clock will run out.

The tikker face has three sets of readouts: years/months/days left; hours/minutes/seconds left; and, of course, the current time, making it oh so practical.

I think that a few other pertinent facts should be included for anyone living in Southern Ontario, like if the tikker owner parties with any past or present mayors of Toronto, if they need to travel Highway 401 on a regular basis, if they hold membership in the Green Party, and if they still support the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Colting, perhaps trying to put a spin on the device, reminds consumers that even though the Grim Reaper may be less than twelve minutes away, he doesn’t believe tikker is a morbid device. He calls it, “The Happiness Watch” and claims that it was designed to help people make the most of their life and cherish the time they have left, even if it isn’t enough time to get a pizza delivered.

Colting, who came up with the idea after his grandfather passed away, told the Mail Online, that, “while death is non-negotiable, life isn’t. All we have to do is learn how to cherish the time and the life that we have been given; seize the day and follow our hearts.”

“From years to seconds it presents time ever moving, never standing still, and our lives dwindling towards the final rest,” he continued. “The occurrence of death is no surprise to anyone, but in our modern society we rarely talk about it. I think that if we were more aware of our own expiration I’m sure we’d make better choices while we are alive.”

Maybe this is a good thing; except for procrastinators.

Knowing that your meter is running out may inspire you into action that you otherwise were reluctant to do; like write a will, take a trip to Australia, or profess your love for your Tim Horton’s server.

But, what happens if the clock is wrong?

If you blow the life savings on a trip of a lifetime, or runaway with the person who daily serves you a cruller, thinking that when you’ve lived your passions you’ll only have eight minutes left and you find out that the tikker has made a small mathematical error, well then, so far, so good.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between.

His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States.

Contact Ian with story ideas.

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