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An Open Letter To The World’s 7 Billionth Person

Hey there, seven-billionth person born on earth. I don’t know how old you’ll be when you end up reading this, but let’s assume you’ll be old enough to know how to read. That’d put you at about age seven, if you’re from a first world country. If you had the unfortunate circumstance of being born somewhere hot, dry and super-poor, you’re probably about thirty. Regardless of all that. You’re probably realizing that being earth’s seven-billionth human isn’t really that awesome.

Depending on your culture and how it feels about over-population, you’re either being celebrated, or despised. Or maybe nobody really cares. You have to understand though, that you are sort of a benchmark, a very significant bullet point on the timeline of the human race, your timing is rather unfortunate. You came along when everything started really sucking again. I mean, we’re not in the middle of a world war, and there’s not significant famines or epidemics cursing the human race. Well, I take that back, there’s plenty of starvation and disease, but it’s only affecting countries too poor to afford internet access, so it doesn’t really count.

We’d like to tell you that you should feel OK with all of this, but really, humanity is kind of at a general low-point. When people look back on this epoch in human history and they try to highlight the advances we made as humans, the best they might be able to come up with is the iPhone, and the artificial heart. At some point, decades or centuries into the future a teacher will stand in front of a classroom and say “the population of earth hit seven billion in 2011, and thanks to advances in census procedures, and Facebook, we were able to identify the seven-billionth person born.” They’ll show a picture of you smiling.

Since some major medical advancements will most likely be made in your lifetime, you’ll probably live for over a hundred years. Which means you’ll get to see the inevitable collapse of the world’s economy, the eventual ban on human reproduction, and the iPhone thirty, which will be brought to you by the ruler of Apple, Steve Jobs’s animatronic turtleneck, brought to life using some of Steve’s old skin cells and a new technology created by mourning Apple employees shortly after Steve’s death.

I really hope this letter doesn’t sound too cynical, and you should certainly enjoy your title. That title reminds you  that you’re special, and not special at the same time. But you are definitely lucky because seven-billion is enough. I feel really bad for the kid born immediately after you. We have no way of proving it now, but seven-billion could be the earth’s max capacity. If people keep boning like old-school Catholics, the fire marshall’s going to shut us down.

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