Friday, June 18, 2010

Bet You Thought I Was Dead

Me, too.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, as your point of view might lead, I still breathe, if only barely.

I'm more than a little pissed off. I fully expected this mortal coil of mine to carry me at least another few decades without the whimpering and simpering and pampering of every cell as if they were high-maintenance, attention-vampire, time and energy-sucking girlfriends. Alas, it is not to be. I am decaying faster than an isotope of Darmstadium 267.

Oy, was I sick. This time, I really didn't think I would make it. My lungs filled up with liquid and my pericardium was inflamed. I could not keep down food and pissed like a racehorse. Funny, but I didn't feel sick at all beforehand. Seems that the cure is worse than the illness.

But, now I'm better. Aren't you glad? Whatever. My heart is still missing like an engine with a loose spark plug wire and my anus is being surprised daily with new and strange demands. Next week, I go to the doctor to see what the outcome will be of his handiwork. Blood tests, a sonogram, and ECG will most certainly be on the menu.

But, wait, there's more to complain about! The week before, when I was paralyzed with malaise on the couch, I had a sudden burst of energy which brought me to my feet long enough to scramble to the bathroom to hurl plus step outside to water my fledgling herbs, planted in a fit of "spring alights anew" and all that. Somehow, an insect of unknown entymology, crept up my thigh in a very un-seductive way and drilled a hole in my leg. The result was a slightly itchy red spot about the size of a silver dollar, which subsequently got warmer and warmer. Then, my leg fell off. Okay, my leg didn't fall off, but that's not the point. I grew concerned that it might be a tick bite as there are many, many deer that come to use my property as a toilet and there are, no doubt, many ticks just waiting for a tasty snack in the nether regions around my junk. Fortunately, it doesn't appear to have the characteristic necrosis and bullseye-like appearance of a tick bite. Still and all, just the thought of having another creature's DNA mixing it up with my own - ewwww!

Speaking of doctors, I need to visit the following: a dermatologist to look at lesions that are not cancerous but that may become cancerous, especially with my current and past exposure to carcinogens, and I don't only mean cigarettes, but radiation, plastics and the motherflippin' sun. I will also have to go to the oncologist to biopsy lesions that are likely cancerous but are probably not melanoma. Nice, huh? Then, there's the proctologist to look into my bladder and feel up my prostate again. Couldn't I just do that on my own and report my findings? Yech and ouch. Stop laughing. Then, there's the cardiologist to figure out what direction my heart problem is heading in and the otolaryngologist to follow up my what's going on in my throat. And, of course, there is my "main" doctor to manage whatever treatment is next and hopefully to coordinate all these other people. Srsly, WTF? I'm not ROFL. Not at all.

So, despite the fact that I'm not yet dead, and that I'm stupidly optimistic about my chances, I recognize that there are certain things I need to get in order, if only so that I don't need to think about them anymore. Thing one is my living will and thing two is a subject close to my heart - "pre-need."

Oh, yes, you knooow what I'm talking about. It's the Grim Reaper's mortal partner, the Undertaker Man. The euphemisms abound: final arrangements, bereavement planning, eternal disposition, last wishes, buying the farm. Now, I don't want to seem morbid - okay, yes, I do - but we all gotta go sometime. When my time comes, which will be sooner rather than later at this point, I want to make sure that no one other than myself is responsible for the costs and for the arrangements themselves except for me. It will one my last tasks as a dead person. And, I'm hoping that it shows that I was thoughtful enough, despite what y'all think, to have taken that particular burden away from you. No, I am not deluded in thinking that whomever would be charged with disposing of my mortal coil would be so wracked with grief that he or she simply couldn't bear to make the appropriate decisions. That's not gonna happen. Instead, I want to make sure that I'm not dumped in a landfill or otherwise tossed where the worms can get me. Get me?

Yes, I want to be toasted. Dust to dust and all that. Cremation (unless they can drop the body in a giant food processor and hit pureƩ, which would then be more suitably called "cream-ation) is the way I want my meat tube disposed of, thank you very much. Of course, this isn't the Jewish way, but, since I consider myself a Buddhist, and this is the Buddhist way, it's all good. I DO NOT want to be worm food. Clear? How many times do I have to say it? And for this task, I must plan ahead. And I must choose someone to execute my brilliant and dastardly plan. But who shall it be? You? Or perhaps, you? No, no: you. No, in the back, the short one. Gawd. Yes, you.

Okay, so I should be so terribly serious? Who am I disrespecting? My own dead self? Get real.

Amex card and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have know what the correct thing to do was and, as Fredo would say, I'm smaat. I had asked my mother year before what, if any, plan there was. She skirted the topic and so did my brother, for his own reasons, I'm sure. And, no, I don't think it was because he was trying to be nice. If you really need to know, I'll get into that at another time, if there is another time, that is.

For me, it would be preferable if no one knew exactly what the plan was. Yes, I will place the number of the person to be contacted in the case of my sudden demise somewhere on my person. Or maybe, I'll send an e-mail each day to that person just to confirm my non-dead state and should those e-mails stop coming, a certain set of actions would take place. Yes, yes: I like this. Control from the grave - how appropriately suited to my recently-departed personality. And this Chosen One must be entirely trustworthy and stalwart, willing to punch noses and stomp toes to get the deed done. Yes, on considering those qualifications, it must be the one in the back that raised the hand earlier. Right - you. Could you step up to the lectern?

Thank you. Now, repeat after me: I have been charged by the decedent, formerly domiciled in the fair State of New Jersey, with the responsibility and authority to exercise his wishes as have been delivered to me under seal, as executed by him and witnessed as required. None shall stand in the way of his personal decree or same shall suffer the moral wrath of indifference and the attention of the State in such a way as to remain upon the offender(s) mind and person for all time. To wit, the decedent desires a timely and proper disposition of his mortal remains, as follows . . . and then the document goes on to describe that I'm to be barbecued, no fanfare, the only container to be provided and paid for as required by law, no memorial service, not that anyone would come anyway. There is one kinda important thing. I've always had a vivid imagination, okay? Hear me out. I do not want to get ass-porked by a necro-dude workin' the graveyard (heh-heh) shift at the mortuary. I don't want to imagine it anymore than I do the worms. So, the person who is charged with the aforementioned task has to also stay with my body until they Laura Dean me. Gulp. I know that's a rough one, but it's something that Jews do. Think of the benefits - I could come back to life and you'd be the first to witness the resurrection (who would thunk it?) or, maybe I'm not really dead and, in the middle of the night, I wake up and ask for a glass tea, which this fie person of whom I now speak feels an incumbency to provide and with the healing powers of said glass tea, I am healed most miraculously or, most likely, I fail to become the ice-cold love-object of Clem The Night Janitor. 'K?

It'll all be paid for, so don't worry about that, and I'll even through in a few bucks for you to cover travel expenses and so forth. Wouldn't want you to go out-of-pocket on this one, ya know?

So, if you don't mind signing here, right there, and date, and again here, date again and just, oops, sorry, let me turn that, initial here and there and there - we're done and you're officially on the hook! Simple rules - kick ass, cover my bung hole and no worms! Thanks! Call me! Let's do lunch . . .

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The vintage ad used in this article is sourced from Woman's Day Magazine, which my mother used to read vociferously, sort of the way I listen to This American Life pod casts. See the other wonderfully silly ads (too many of which i remember) at

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