Updated: April 4, 2010
We all get old, sooner or later. And when that happens, we might find ourselves alone. Our friends and family die, leave us, forget us, move to another country, or simply won't talk to us anymore. It happens. A fact of life. When you're young and strong and virile and trouble-free, you could not possibly care less about what may happen to you when age hits you square in the face. But as you approach the final destination, you start getting an urgent, fuzzy need for audience, someone to listen to you, someone to be around. And we're talking about an emotional need, beyond the ordinary physical necessity for help and protection.
Now, imagine you could avoid all that. Imagine you're a senior citizen who is never alone. Imagine you can always have family over, even when you're just plain bored. Work days, weekends, holidays, parties, special occasions, just name an event, and a flock of family members will be there, just for you.
Imagine there was a paternal renting service where you could order adults, and before you could say Bob's your uncle, you'd have a pair of healthy, strapping if genetically incompatible humans calling you mom or dad, at the threshold of your home. They would be like your very own children. You would hardly know the difference.
Better yet, these rental children would behave themselves. They would always come over on weekends, never cheek out or try to goad you into changing your will. They would be disciplined, well spoken, groomed, and totally matched to your whims and needs. So much better than whatever Mother Nature inflicted upon you at the birth of your real children.
Well, to help people worldwide feel loved and secure, even at old age, I recommend special fostering agencies be established, only instead of matching children into foster homes, they would match adults to older people. Senior citizen would have catalogs available, where they could choose children, based on their education, race, religion, and many other traits.
There would be several rental packages available, from occasional visit on holidays and a weekly phone call to everyday visits, mandatory birthday parties and vacations, and maybe even grocery trips together. The only limitation would be the credit card budget. And if such services were to be included in national pension funds, you would not even need to worry about the financial side. Everyone could get genuine foster care.
I think this is a tremendous idea. When you think with your hearts, it's a cruel abuse of family values. But if you use calm, strict logic, it makes sense. There already is a very active industry of home nursing. So why not upgrade it into something meaningful?
These specialized agencies would be called Rental Offspring.
Rental offspring would carefully match adults to the needs of senior citizens. All applicants for the program would be carefully screened. First, they would have to be at least 18 to apply. Then, they would have to be educated, with a good job record, no criminal record, and skilled in some of the many areas of life required. Because some citizens would require children who can sing or play the piano, others would ask for engineers.
Most importantly, rental children would have to have unreserved dedication, for they would truly have to behave like someone's children for the duration of the rental period. Not an easy task stepping into the role of family, especially not yours. This would be an excellent career opportunity for young people worldwide. What better way of financing your college than signing up for a year of two of intense, genuine care for old people.
Note: Senior citizens icon taken from Wikipedia, under CC-BY 2.0 license.
There would be several plans available, starting with basic one-year, once-a-week visit all the way to ten-year daily care, with special bonuses and discounts. The rental children would have to prove their worth. The senior citizens would be given surveys and questionnaires every once in a while, which would impact the career growth and promotion for the program participants. The more loving they are, the higher their pay.
The basic packages could be extended with nursing, education, hobbies, overseas trips, and all sorts of activities you may expect from families. It would be a blast.
I'm a genius, admit it. While variations of my brilliant idea have existed for a long time, in many different forms, they have never truly given an answer to one critical element: emotion. You can have nurses and all sorts of benefits, but they cannot compare to the emotional illusion of not being alone.
With strict government regulations, rental offspring companies could leapfrog the idea of family into a whole new dimension. Lonely people would never need worry about being alone. And young people would have an opportunity to prove their worth, emotionally, financially, their theatrical skills, and their ability to care for someone. Everyone's a winner.