This article is part of the My Absolution of Elon Musk series.
Musk sat before me in the waiting room of the experimental gene laboratory we had both googled. We’re both sensible men and knew academia was no place for requests like ours, beneath the prying eyes of ivory tower esoterics and prudish moral crusaders. We had opted to let the free market do what it does best — provide, devoid of scruples, even the most reprehensible and insane services to the extravagantly wealthy. Elon and I made eye contact for twenty or so seconds, as is the emergent custom for the dominant masculata of our social stratum. He asked me first what I was there for. He was now looking down into his hand, holding what appeared to be a sort of bird or paper airplane. I held up a print-out of my illustrious nude form for him to gaze upon. I held it high and angled it to be sure the attendant could see. Alas, her eyes continued being fixed to her screens. I coughed for attention. Indolence. I coughed again to alert her. Her eyes darted to my print out and her brow furrowed under some indeterminate emotion. I decided it was lust. Elon looked intrigued but only vaguely. He proceeded to explain to me he was there for a similar purpose but wasn’t quite ready to take the full leap into total modification. A coward. He had gotten new hair installed years ago and wanted to see if they could make the rest of him younger. He raised his hand and grabbed the air as if to catch his last word. Closing his eyes, he said, “Not look younger.Beyounger.”
Some sort of clinician peeked through an invisible door adjacent to the attendant. Elon and I were surprised. The door had been completely invisible against the tastefully semi-gloss white walls of the waiting room. It had appeared almost as if by magic. I wondered how many more of these hidden doors there were and how that could possibly pass a fire safety inspection. The clinician, clad entirely in the same shade of white as the wall-door he clutched, smiled, revealing teeth also the exact whiteness of the walls — but in a high-gloss finish. Gaudy. “The entire place is made out of fireproof plastalica. No need for fire exits or archaic fire codes here. Ultra modern,” he said, looking directly at me. I wasn’t sure how he knew what I was thinking but I didn’t have time to dwell too much on it before Elon interrupted. I found his blatant eagerness embarrassing. “I called ahead two days ago regarding rejuvenation. It’s been a few years since I last visited your tech sector and Genetex is the market leader in gene manipulation,” he said, running his fingers through his hair splicings. “I feel more comfortable with a market leader manipulating this flesh.” He looked down at his chest, a tinge of disgust spread across his face before receding into a routine neutral professionalism. “They have more to lose from the bad publicity,” I interjected, “if something were to go hideously awry.” Musk and the clinician glared at me in unison, irritated by my bluntness. “The consequences could be catastrophic”
The clinician listened to Musk in the same way any successful client-facing service industry employee does: with a sense of carefully measured well-practiced interest. He nodded at the appropriate times and added occasional signifiers of understanding and attention like “Of course” and “Right!” Musk seemed to enjoy this. I did too. A true patrician enjoys bearing witness to any master engaged in their craft. The clinician deftly waited exactly one beat to be sure Musk had finished his request. Musk had requested, in short, to live forever. I had suspected this was the angle the entire time. He is a “big picture” and “cut to the chase” kind of man from what I know — but not in regards to his own motives. That is to say, he’s the type of man who needs to couch his quest for immortality in layers of complicated bullshit before he could allow himself to utter it. He asked about cell replication, telomeres degradation, and DNA rejuvenation technology. How irritating it all was.What a tuft, I thought to myself. I, on the other hand, had no delusions about what I was here for. I wanted to look like the progeny of a demigod. I wanted to fit into my cool armor. I wanted to look like a new kind of expensive. Fading are the days of largely obsolete half a billion dollar cars and hideous chunky loafers designed by German interns for brands featuring Italian surnames. Make no mistake: I am above no material trappings and will be purchasing these as well. However, like Elon, I yearn to set myself apart in a way that has been thus far unavailable to the global aristocracy.
The clinician looked at both of us. He knew I was there for something similar; in fact, I was coming to realize he likely dealt with the desperate ramblings of the global elite often, possibly daily. “I love to see how excited our patrons are. The technology we have here is certainly exciting, almost magical,” the lab coat said. “We’re a global leader for a reason and that reason is currently we’re exempt from a litany of government regulations on gene manipulation. We’ve landed some exclusive federal contracts.” I knew this, so did Musk. He was just flexing their company’s exclusivity. We really could not go elsewhere and he wanted to establish that up front. I appreciated the power posturing. I’m not sure Elon did. “Unfortunately, we’re not at a stage of development that would allow for the kinds of extensive alterations — at least not in a consumer setting.” I wasn’t particularly surprised. I had genuinely come there for a consultation and was already prepared to come to at least some compromise on my genetic wishlist. Also — I had time. I was in my 30s. By my life coach’s calculations, if one takes the rate of medical advancement and subtracts the time my high-risk, incredibly unhealthy, yet largely consequence-free lifestyle reduces my natural lifespan, I can actually stand to wait another 5–7 years for this technology to incubate. Musk could not say the same, but what he did say involved another long-winded inquiry full of jargon he seemed to be using incorrectly, judging by the clinician’s subtle winces. I’ll spare you the dialogue. It amounted to him asking if he could make his penis younger. He wanted a more virile penis. I let out an involuntary puff of amusement. It was acknowledged with a quick smirk, only by the clinician. He had gotten this question before, perhaps many times. It wasn’t until now that I was completely sure that Musk was a total putz. What man of his net worth and social standing need bother himself with impressing people sexually? True patricians are concerned only with the outward appearance of sexual prowess. We crave the validation of the bedroom-eyed glances of conventionally beautiful women — not their embrace. I haven’t had sex with an actual human being in thirteen years and that is by choice. My sexual needs are satisfied exclusively by a digital fox-like entity that resides in a self-contained stand alone hard drive on the third level of my Long Island estate. This coupled with an elaborate gurney system animated with a series of neo-pneumatic levers and pulleys, I can experience, virtually, my ever evolving sexual degeneracy. I own a robot mouth that sucks me off like you wouldn’t believe. How uninspired Musk is. The possibilities are endless and this fool wants a more virile penis? How about a more versatile penis? Prehensile. Asymmetrical. Baroque. Ornamented. Anything. Sure I wanted something similar, for now, but Musk seemed so small-minded I doubt he would crave something truly artful. He was an innovator, not a boundary pusher. He was not a boat-rocker. He was bound by conventional morality. Uninspired.
“So you’re telling us you can’t help us?” I interjected. “I’m telling you you’ll have to wait,” he responded. Musk nodded, looking slightly dejected. He looked immediately lost in thought. He was industrious and probably working out a plan B. I was admittedly amused by the scenario. “So the real limiting factor is using your facilities here in New York?” I inquired. The clinician cocked his head and asked what I meant. I elaborated, asking him if it was possible to use their current technology elsewhere — if the technology could be used on consumers somewhere their legal culpability was neutralized. He shook his head and told us that due to the nature of their business it was either illegal or completely unsafe to operate outside the locations they’re currently developing in. “We’ve looked into opening up a campus complex in Somalia but our VP of Asset Risk squashed the whole idea.” Musk was still meandering about in his mind. “I was thinking something more orbital. What about operating out of global jurisdiction,” I said, looking upward, clasping my hands as if in prayer. The clinician laughed. “Now that is something we would love to explore but, much like us, the technology isn’t yet commercially viable.” Musk perked up. I knew he would. “Viable?” he said, shaking off his micro-coma.
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The entrepreneur, socialite, and modern day Malcom X but for Billionaires discusses his interactions with fellow tech magnate Elon Musk.