Some things start sadly and end quite happily; this is one of those things.
There are those who might think that I embarked on an adventure that is essentially immoral or unethical or indefensible, but I have tried all my life to work hard and get rich while being kind to my neighbors and to the planet; it has not worked out. I have unpaid bills, I sleep alone. I have fatigue, grey depression and sometimes even despair. I have ingrown toenails, less than good teeth, less than a truly full head of hair; people try to charm me, cajole me, patronise me, they lie to me and avoid touching me. I am old, just old. And I want out, or off and away. Something different.
…I have tried all my life to work hard and get rich while being kind to my neighbors and to the planet; it has not worked out. I have unpaid bills, I sleep alone. I have fatigue, grey depression and sometimes even despair…
Though I have learnt, like everyone else, to be wary of modern solutions, both local and global, I was hooked by an advertisement entitled “die-The-death” in last month’s issue of Age & Issues. They promised to end it all painlessly. I paid online, as you do for a vacation, except that I was buying an all-inclusive death. Scanning the list of “Possible Passings,” I admit that I pondered “Jet-ski incident” and dwelt over “Sexual exertion accident,” but finally, I clicked the box marked “Surprise.” My client number duly arrived and I was told that I could use it to track my death date on the net.
I waited. And I went back on the net, tracking. They were busy. I would have to be patient. Patient! Waiting to die and having paid in advance? Then suddenly an email. Would tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. be convenient? Well, no, it would not be convenient. It was too soon, and anyway it would be plain stupid to miss the last episode of Rona’s Adventures in Rome on TV. I mean, I had already enjoyed fifteen hours of her antics and to go off into the blue-beyond leaving her stranded alone in the amphitheater with that randy Italian seemed both unfair to her and unnecessarily cruel to me. So I said No. Thursday at 10:00 a.m. would be better. Just after breakfast. I assured them that I would be ready with all vital papers, credit cards, last wills and testaments etc. in an obvious place and the gas turned off. They said that Thursday they would be busy, but they would do their best to squeeze me in. I admit the word “squeeze” made me feel anxious.
Wednesday night I didn’t sleep. I awoke unready and unexcited by the notion of my usual (and in this case, the last) breakfast. I felt lethargic. To put it bluntly, I felt too tired and too depressed to die. So I called.
They were cool and I was shrill. Then we were all angry. I admit, in the heat of the moment, I threatened to sue; they calmed suddenly and agreed to a new date and time. Absolutely, definitely, Saturday at noon.
When Saturday arrived, I was prepared, stoic, a little better dressed than usual, with the apartment tidied and a couple of seeming useful, kindly letters written and positioned behind the clock on the mantle-piece. 12:12 p.m. No show. No death. I began to suspect that I had been (not for the first time in my life) taken for a long ride by a bunch of short crooks, when suddenly the door burst open…
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