washingtonpost.com  > Columns > Below the Beltway
Below the Beltway

Weingarten, Unplugged

He has a will to die for

By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, April 24, 2005; Page W64

I, Gene Norman Weingarten, being of sound mind and body, hereby declare and depose that, should I ever become so incapacitated by illness or injury that I can no longer communicate my preferences for medical care, it is my express wish that no extraordinary measures be used to keep me alive. Particularly in any of the following circumstances:

1. If any politician, clergyman, right-to-life activist, or any advocate for the disabled and/or elderly and/or mentally challenged and/or unborn has publicly declared his or her intention to save me.

(Eric Shansby)

2. If, on two or more occasions in the year previous to my incapacitation, I have worn sandals with socks.

3. If, on one or more occasion in the year previous to my incapacitation, I have forgotten the punch line to the "roo-roo" joke.

4. If any portion of my incapacitation shall have occurred during the presidency of any of the following individuals: John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Laura Bush, George P. Bush, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, or any other descendant or in-law of former president George H. W. Bush, including adoptees.

5. If, during the period of my incapacitation, sushi has been determined to be a carcinogen.

6. Or, mint chocolate chip ice cream.

7. If I have reached the point where I personally smell like the laundry room of a Teaneck, N.J., assisted-living facility.

8. If either of my children or any of their issue, or any of their issue's issue, including adoptees, has chosen a career in marketing, public relations, narcotics trafficking or televangelism.

9. If at any time in the previous five years I have been heard to utter the phrase: "Why, in my day . . ."

10. If, at the time of my incapacitation, classic rock stations are still playing Abba, Green Day or Ace of Base; or, alternatively, if any radio station is still using, for its promotional spots, the hook line of "Reeling in the Years."

11. If, at the time of my incapacitation, the average American 18-year-old girl weighs the same as a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle.

12. If I have lately been amused by "Classic Peanuts," particularly the exploits of Spike, Snoopy's desert-dwelling brother.

13. If, during the time of my incapacitation, the United States Supreme Court has extended its revocation of Roe v. Wade to include constitutional protection for the rights of sperm.

14. If my physical condition has deteriorated to such an extent that, in my hospital bed, I look like a large, uncooked shrimp.

15. If they still haven't developed a spam filter that can catch the name "Mrs. Miriam Abacha."

16. If, at any point during the years leading up to my incapacitation, I ever drove my car while wearing a porkpie hat, or hiked my pants up to my nipples, or did those "word find" puzzles, or nodded off during the Super Bowl, or availed myself of an "Early Bird Special," or dined with a napkin tucked under my chin, or retired before 8 p.m., or wore flannel pajamas, or discussed my bathroom difficulties with anyone who was not my personal physician, or complained that young girls these days should be dressing more demurely, or ever said, without any intended irony, "Oy."

17. If, during my persistent vegetative state I had suffered such irreversible neurological damage that, even if I recovered consciousness, the only way I could attempt suicide would be to try to frantically blink myself into a heart attack.

And lastly, it is my specific wish, should it come time to disconnect me from a feeding tube, that, rather than be allowed to die of starvation or thirst, I be lovingly asphyxiated by a buxom honey-blonde nurse in a short skirt and one of those cute little caps.

Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingarten@washpost.com.

Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon at www.washingtonpost.com.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company