Photo by Joseph Costa on Unsplash
Nina: Nana, have you got my Christmas gift yet?
Nana: Hmph. I’ll get there.
Nina: Well, I’ve finished buying everyone’s Christmas gift. This year was easy. I am giving everyone the same thing.
Nana: And what would that be? Are you going for a vacation to Timbuktu so we can all have peace and quiet?
Nina: No. That’s way too generous. I got these, Nana.
Nana reluctantly raises his head from the newspaper when he hears the clatter of Tupperware containers.
Nana: What on earth?
Nina: This. It’s chewing gum Nana.
Nana: Chewing gum is disgusting. It makes people look like cows. It’s bad for your teeth too.
Nina: Chewing sugar free gum in moderation is good for your teeth Nana, and it has several other health benefits. The key is to do it in moderation, of course.
Nana: Still, people leave wads of chewed gum all over the place. It’s a menace, I tell you. You should not give them out as gifts. Don’t you know how it bothers animals when they get gum stuck all over them?
Nina: Oh, there is a cool trick to deal with gross chewed gum. If you cool it with an ice-cube it becomes less sticky and stretchy, and then it is easier to deal with. But anyway Nana, I don’t want people discarding their gum. That’s why I got these little Tupperware boxes.
Nana: Good-heavens! Whatever for? Do you want people to store their chewed gum for posterity?
Nina: Nana, how did you guess? You must be a mind-reader.
Nana: <choking with rage> I was joking, you twit. You can’t be serious! Why would you want people to store their chewed gum?
Nina: Nana chewed gum is a good way to store DNA for thousands of years. I want all my family and friends to seal their chewed gum in these containers and bury them at the GPS locations I have included on a chit of paper in the container. That way many thousands of years from now scientists will be able to tell what we looked like.
Nana: And why would you think that’s possible?
Nina: Because it already is. Scientists were able to extract an entire genome from a 5700 year old wad of gum and from that they could decipher the color of the girl's hair, eyes, and skin, and they could figure out what she had eaten for dinner. They even discovered she had contracted the Epstein-Barr virus. Now, some people want to be famous in their life time. But that’s not enough for me. I want to be famous again in a few thousand years, and I want all of you to be famous along with me then.
Nana: What silly schemes you come up with.
Nina: Come on Nana. You’re old. Don’t you want to be rediscovered in 5000 years? Of course you do. You're welcome.
This post is a part of the #NinaAndNana series I co-host with Lavanya Srinivasan. Her posts can be found here.