I don’t know if it’s everybody or just me, but I worry about death a lot. When you’ve been obsessive-compulsive as far back as you could count to three (over and over and over again), you never know if your thoughts are different than those of all the normal people surrounding you.
I worry that I’m going to die which when you think of it is really nothing to worry about because I am. It’s not like worrying about it is going to keep me from being dead at some point. Unless these scientists stop wasting time on global warming and start focusing on curing death, I guess I’ve got no choice in the matter.
It’s sorta like my North Carolina Daddy says, “I want to go to Heaven but if theys a getting a bus load up to go today, I reckon I’d rather wait on the next one.”
Speaking of Daddy and dying, he called a couple days ago to tell me somebody back home did. I can always tell in the first sixty seconds of our conversation whether somebody’s dead. It isn’t that he sounds sad or anything. It’s that he leads with, “you remember old Robert Joseph from down around Caroleen?”
“You mean Bobby Joe? The one who used to open Coke bottles with his teeth?”
“Yep. Well he’s dead.” No sense in beating around the bush.
This time the man who passed had been a friend of my Father’s for longer than I’ve been alive and I hated to hear it. He wasn’t but fifty-five. Dropped dead at work. Pop said they put him on life support long enough so his sons could make it home to say good-bye and then they pulled the plug.
“Have you got a living will, Daddy?” All the magazine articles say this would have been the perfect time to ask a question like that one. It was supposed to open up a dialogue about a sensitive issue.
“Yeah I got a living will. I plan to keep on living. That’s my will.”
“But what if something would happen to you and we had to decide whether to pull the plug?” I like to be prepared.
“I don’t reckon I wanna give anybody that much control. What if they had a bad day? What if they was to say ‘Old Ralph wouldn’t wanna live like this’?
“Besides,” he continued, “your Uncle Billy was in a coma for a long time. Months and months he was out. And then he just woke up one day. What if we’d a pulled the plug on him?”
“Pop, Billy sews extra pockets on his pants. Big pockets, little pockets, pockets on top of pockets. I’m not sure I’d wanna be living if I felt like the highest and best use of my time was to add pockets to pants that are already by any reasonable person’s standard, fully pocketed.”
“Let me tell you something, before I forget it.” When Daddy ends any sentence with ‘before I forget it’, you’re about to get told.
“Ole Billy’s up there a chasing them women all over that nursing home so I reckon he’s having a pretty good time as far as he sees it.”
I was beginning to get the message. Daddy wants to be sure that not only do we NOT pull his plug, he wants a back up generator. I promised him I’d make sure we get him plugged into a surge protector if he’d promise not to let Mr. Man pull my plug some day.
“If you hear Mr. Man telling anyone that I would not have want my family to see me like that, it’s a dang lie. I want as many plugs, tubes, batteries and hoses as is necessary to keep my chest pumping up and down forever and ever. In fact, I want the plug put in an out of the way place so he can’t “accidentally” trip over it and yank if from the wall.”
I’m gonna say this column will be evidence of a living will for both my Daddy and myself. If y’all happen to notice Mr. Man on CNN fighting to have me unplugged, please print this and mail it immediately to Anderson Cooper. I plan on being plugged in until they come up with a cure…or until Elvis comes back. Whichever comes first.
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