With my uncle in the hospital, I've been thinking about death and dying today.
Sounds like fun, right?
But I've been thinking about the serious, non-fun side of it all.
There are important considerations that we all must, um, consider at one time or another because, let's face it, the medical and scientific communities are just not keeping up with the predictions made for them back when optimistic predictions about the future were all the rage.
It's the year 2004. We're all supposed to be piloting our flying cars to the beach and then when we push a button our car turns into a submarine so we can go to those wonderful undersea resorts that the mermaids build with their government grant money.
We're supposed to be eating pills for all of our meals unless we have one of those fancy rehydrators where we put in a little doohickey the size of a book of matches, we push a button, and out pops a half-pound porterhouse steak in just two seconds, complete with a baked potato on the side. For applesauce you have to do it separately because the settings are different.
We're supposed to have holodecks in our houses so we can have nonstop orgies with our favorite celebrities.
And we're supposed to be living a lot longer than we are.
I suppose to a guy back in the 1830s, when the average life expectancy was like 15 or so, living to your mid-70s would seem like a utopian dream. But I bet the people today who are in their mid-70s or older don't think that way.
I bet they're wondering what happened to the clone banks where if they need an organ, they just pop a clone in the microwave (or the rehydrator I suppose) and then harvest what they need.
Or maybe they're wondering about the nanotechnology that was supposed to fix everything by swimming around in our bodies eating up all the bad stuff and crapping out good stuff like gold atoms that accumulate in your bowel until you shit solid gold turds that allow you to pay your cable bills.
Some of the old people are probably wondering what their names are or what year it is, but those people are probably too far gone for even the nanites to help so they're really screwed.
But I digress.
To me one of the most important things about dying, after you get past the when, where, and how, would have to be the what about after issue.
What about after I die and my relatives come into my house and find my porn collection? Just kidding, I don't have a porn collection. Nope. Not me.
What about after I die if nobody notices and my cats have to feed on my corpse until they perish themselves?
Finally, what about after I die and I had stuff left to say?
Back when my dad died so suddenly I was all fired up about this kind of thing. I wanted to be prepared for when I died (killed by a jealous lover perhaps, or some comical but deadly hip-vibrating disease) and I wanted to have all of my affairs (no pun there) in order.
I used the same lawyer that had handled my dad's estate to help me in preparing my own will, testament, and whatever else he thought might be needed.
One of the really fun things I did back then was start writing letters to everyone I could think of that had been important to me. I figured I'd have the letters in my Death Envelope and one of my sisters could hand them out at my funeral. Good Times for all!
The only problem with that plan was that I got about halfway through the first letter and I had to stop because it was just too damn hard trying to think of enough things to say to fill a reasonably-sized letter. I could do a note or maybe even a postcard, but a letter was just asking for too much. I mean, here I (hypothetically) am dying and I'm supposed to spend my last weeks writing letters to people and for all I know they're really gonna piss me off right before I die but I'll forget to write nasty things in their letter and then it'll be too late and they'll think all was forgiven.
Not so fast there, Speedy.
But I digress again.
I don't have any letters. Hopefully there'll be some kind of medical or scientific breakthrough (or at least a Democratic president) and I'll never need any.
Instead of letters I have just a few requests. Call them final wishes if you want to and if that?ll make you pay more attention.
One: None of my sisters or nieces are allowed in my house until Jeff or Eric or Chris has had a chance to make sure that nobody snuck in and planted a porn collection somewhere.
Two: My cats must not be separated. My sister Neisha could probably just sneak them into her house and nobody would notice.
Three: Jeff gets the pool stuff.
Four: Closed casket and cremation.
Five: Dump my ashes wherever you want, just dump them and don't put them on a damn mantle or anything morbid like that. And none of those damn roadside shrines - those really piss me off and I'll definitely haunt your ass if you do that.
I think that's it.
Speaking of death, RIP goes out to Rodney Dangerfield. Here's one of my favorite jokes from him:
I never got any respect even as a kid. Why when I was kidnapped my parents got a call saying if they didn't pay $5000 they'd see me again.