All things being equal, when are you going to die? Now there's a cheery question.
None of us can give a precise answer to the date of our demise.
There's a range of factors that will help determine the occasion of our passing.
Provided you don't fall victim to cancer, develop a heart condition, have a stroke, suffer from a brain tumour, get knocked down crossing the road, regularly partake in any dangerous recreational activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing (off piste), come a cropper cycling to or from work, be murdered, commit suicide or any other cause that could see you shuffling off this mortal coil, then you can comfortably expect to live until you're in your 80s.
Maybe even longer if you don't smoke, refuse to ingest illegal drugs, eat healthily, drink in moderation, avoid too much stress, find the perfect life partner (someone who preferably won't stab or shoot you), exercise regularly and reside in the South. Who knows, perhaps you'll luck out and be one those fortunate/ unfortunate people who will still be around when they're 100 or over.
Disastrous news. Checking out www.deathtimer.com, it would seem that I'm going to meet the grim reaper at the relatively tender age of 77. A little earlier than expected, I must confess. However, it will apparently be on December 26, so at least I'll be able to sneak in another christmas dinner. ("Oh go on then, I'll have a third helping of pudding and don't skimp on the brandy butter. That's it, chuck on another couple of mince pies and a slice of cake. Is it deep fried?")
To ram home my ending, they've kindly mocked up a picture of my grave. For added authenticity, they've also added an inscription onto my headstone. It reads: 'I'm still on Facebook'.
Plainly they don't know me very well. I'm hardly the world's biggest social networker, so it seems doubtful that when I'm dead I'll suddenly start messaging people for all eternity. Although that's obviously not the case for everyone. I've been wondering what all those tweets from Elvis and Beethoven were about- loving the new duet guys.
Ultimately, sites like Death Timer are simply a bit of fun.
Or so I reckoned. Now I'm not so sure. They do tend to get you thinking. Am I really going to snuff it so soon? I was rather looking forward to lasting as long , if not longer, than my grandfather, who lived to the ripe old age of 99. And then there's my uncle Harry. He's Britain's oldest football referee at a sprightly 87. God hasn't blown the whistle on him yet.
I just keep my fingers crossed that I don't take after my father who had a massive coronary at 53. Come back in a few years to see how that panned out for me.
Hanging on in there is plainly what we all want for ourselves. Bugger everyone else, of course. Personally, I'd happily become a dribbling, gibbering wreck being fed through at tube for the chance to be around for another few months. But should any of us be in a position to demand such longevity? Is it our human right to go on past our best before date?
You only have the watch or listen to the news to appreciate that the cost of getting older is increasingly becoming a huge burden on the country's resources. This is likely to get worse as we plough further into the 21st century and head towards the next calendar milestone of 2100.
Although life and every last moment of it should be held in the highest possible regard, could it be that there really is only one solution to the ageing problem. It might not be popular. It might initially seem radical. It might be hard to pass into law. Conceivably, is it time that that we started to consider the prospect of Fixed Term Lives? A bit like Fixed Term Parliaments. With no hope of Nick Clegg coming back from either.
Unlike Logan's Run, 30 is definitely a tad too early. Taking into account age inflation, 70 seems perfectly reasonable. After all, if you haven't managed to achieve everything you want by this landmark, it could be argued that you're never going to.
Just imagine the economic benefits. It would do away with care homes. It would save the NHS billions a year. It would cut pension costs to practically nothing.
The bad news is that having reached my half century, I'd only have another 20 years left. All the same, there's a lot you can do in two decades.
The countdown begins now. Rest assured, it won't involve me nodding off in front of the TV at 2.40 each afternoon hoping for a consonant.