A man with type 2 diabetes had a spring in his heavy plodding step last week when his mother claimed he had his whole life ahead of him. 48 year-old Trevor Simmons, who is yet to leave the family home, continues to seek the woman of his dreams and a career that enables financial independence. A recent decision to quit his job and begin a 2 year diploma at college has pushed back the expected timeframe in flying the nest...for the 25th time. His mother, always so proud of her son's aspirations, decided it was the perfect occasion to express her faith in his longevity.
There is a growing fear, however, that parents are now using the statement too liberally. Some opponents of the remark argue that it engenders false hope and can lead to poor numeracy skills. Statistics professor Jim Staunton explained, "The platitude, when used incorrectly, betrays fundamental mathematical laws. We encourage mothers or fathers to only use the phrase 'You have your whole life ahead of you' on the day of a child's birth, immediately after passage from the womb. As newborns will be unable to grasp the sentiment we expect it to be delivered in a nauseating baby voice, for reasons only known to our species."
He continued, "Let's now take the example of a 25 year-old male student who has just finished university and has a prudent life expectancy of 75 years. What we should be saying to this young man more candidly is 'All going well, you have approximately two thirds of your life ahead of you before one of your major internal organs chronically and irrevocably malfunctions.' We can then caveat a few realistic scenarios that may terminate his life even sooner, such as a premeditated violent murder or accidentally being thrown onto a bonfire."
Trevor's mother continues to throw inspirational life quotes his way and recently explained that "80% of success is just showing up". She was therefore sorry to learn that he missed his first day at college due to man flu.