Escargot (esg) is a gene in the Snail family of genes in fruit flies. After a certain point, it doesn’t really help all that much to peer too closely at the nomenclature of genes – it is best to just accept it and move on. Reduced levels of esg modestly extend life in flies, as researchers here demonstrate. As to why this is the case, here as in so many other cases, understanding is lacking. There are a few core mechanisms of plasticity in aging, linking the operation of cellular metabolism to natural variations in longevity between individuals. These largely relate to the activation of stress responses due to environmental circumstances, such as a lack of nutrients, but an enormous number of genes and proteins can influence those core mechanisms. The map of cellular biochemistry is far from complete in all of its details, and thus sometimes all that can be done is to look at relationships and speculate.