The Right to Die and other topics

My mom was not the greatest cook, by her own admission.

rip.euthanasia1More from Chris:

– what’s your take on right to die and why?

Literally, I could spend a week’s worth of posts on this topic. This is the very abbreviated version.

In 1998, I watched Dr. Jack Kevorkian make the case for assisted suicide for the terminally ill on 60 Minutes. “From 1990 to 1998, he claimed to have helped end the lives of some 130 willing subjects.” I thought he made a compelling case.

After he “videotaped himself injecting Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, with a dose of lethal drugs,” he ended up in jail and ended up serving eight years in prison. I’m convinced his gaunt look allowed the moniker Dr. Death to stick.

Meanwhile, there was that circus of the Terri Schiavo case (1998-2005), which I needn’t rehash, except to say that the grandstanding about protecting life from Jeb Bush and congressional Republicans I found repugnant because it was so clearly a quality of life issue, the nuance about which they clearly did not recognize. This 2015 TIME magazine article suggests that overreach has set the stage for the current right-to-die movement.

But I had been thinking about this for decades. Long before health care proxies became the norm, I had a pact with a friend of mine in college. We agreed that if either of us were seriously injured so that the quality of life had been severely diminished, the other would sneak into the hospital, if necessary, and literally pull the plug. Glad we never had to test this out.

Of course, we make right-to-die decisions all the time these days, such as Do Not Resuscitate in hospitals, applicable when my mom died nearly five years ago. I thought the whole characterization of the Obamacare “death panels” was fascinating because surely, there ARE limits of what services any medical system can/will provide.

Guess I’ll pass on the my general philosophy of the American way of death and how it is related to mummification, and the afterlife, and the rational evolution towards cremation.

– do you ever carry on elaborate imagined conversations with people? If you do, has Facebook changed these conversations, like picturing posting something and the imagining the responses?

To the first point, sure, now and then. This is usually some wish fulfillment. I wish I had said THIS rather than THAT.

To the second, not at all. FB is such artifice to me. I can have a decent “conversation” now and then, but I find too often certain tropes that for me are conversation enders, involving the false comparable designed to change the topic, or the “that’s unimportant”, designed to do the same.

About 10% of the time, maybe more, I write responses, and then delete them before publishing. I’m just not as invested as I am with a REAL, face-to-face chat most of the time UNLESS it’s someone I know in real life, or have gotten to know well enough from their previous online interactions.

-if you could pick any writer living or dead to tell your story, who would it be?

James Michener, who would turn my life into the epic that it is in my mind.

– what do you consider the most creative time in your life, when you were the best at imagining things?

I could make the case for right now. I’m writing a blog post seven days a week. Three or four or five of them might be substantial. Moreover, I see the whole arc of the blog as somewhat creative. If I write X and you’re not interested, hey, maybe you’ll be interested in Y, which I’ll tackle tomorrow.

And blogging helps my thought process.

Other times: the second through sixth years of the current job, when I had to find ways to interact with SBDC state directors when they had to be sold on the efficacy of that. Or some period at FantaCo, not the first year and surely not the last, when I was editing magazines, doing the mail order, balancing the checkbook, and managing the staff.

– what simple device would improve your life that isn’t on the market?

All my thoughts and dreams going right to the computer in comprehensible English.

– what were your favorite meals when you were a kid?

My mom was not the greatest cook, by her own admission. So I don’t have this great pool of favorites. I liked Kraft macaroni and cheese, chicken cooked any number of ways, corn on the cob. We used to go out most Fridays and get fish from W.T. Grant’s department store; I remember liking that.

My father spent hours making spaghetti sauce, and so that was good. He also had the capacity to throw leftovers into some delicious concoction he called gouly-goup; only later did I realize he stole the name from goulash. He also made waffles with such panache that it was always enjoyable.

We had eggs a lot. Fried, scrambled, deviled, omelet. We all became competent making those.