Getting Your Kids to Pull the Plug…On a Budget?

I love my son, dearly and beyond measure, but at times he makes me seriously bonko.  Strangely, he seems to feel the same about me.  He’s now 22, and it doesn’t seem to be changing.  I suppose we’re gonna have to settle in and deal with it.

He drove me to the airport this morning.  Having had a head injury earlier this year, I’ve become intent on making sure those I love know I don’t want to linger if I’m in a no-good-exit-strategy position.  Why linger, right?  Rip off the band-aid and deal with it, I’m done.  Not that I’m planning on the big departure any time soon, mind you, but y’know.  Let’s make sure we’ve discussed it.

So I figured this would be a good time to address it, in the car when we had some quiet time together.  He tends to be really talkative (like really really talkative) and this could be a great opportunity to direct the conversation to something that needs to be said.

Well, it was great opportunity for me, anyway.

D4FEBECF-19B8-4E28-B76D-927466B09998He was up at 3:00pm the afternoon before, and I needed to leave for the airport the following 6:00am.  He tends to adhere to the rather vampiric habits of the young.  Six in the morning, he’s kinda feeling it.

I, on the other hand, suffer from what my father referred to as “nauseating exuberance”, particularly in the early morning, as does my mother.  To his horror, it’s genetic.  We are hap-hap-HAPPY!!! Especially in the early morning.

Nothing like having a line of family members grinning like silly idiots at the breakfast table when you haven’t had your coffee yet.  It’s like having four tiggers on happy juice bouncing around your kitchen while you nurse a hangover.

So, we’re in the wretched LA traffic heading to the airport and I broach the subject.  “K.  If anything happens where my brain isn’t functioning, I do not want you guys to just keep me alive for the sake of keeping me breathing.”

Facing forward, eyes slide toward me.  “Ooooookay.”

“Seriously.  There’s no reason to drain our finances just to keep me alive if there’s no hope of recovery, okay? Not that there’s anything wrong now, but having that head injury scared me.  So, y’know, if I lose my memory and it’s not coming back, get a pillow, okay?”


“Well, not literally, but, y’know, like, don’t waste your inheritance on watching me suck down Ensure.  Grab the plug, yank on it and head for Tahiti.”

Probably good I was driving.  I think he might have hit the divider.

Then again, maybe not.  The Boy shook his head slowly and rolled his eyes.  “You don’t think they’ll want me to deal with your corpse?”

“Mmmm.  There’s that.  But once I drop off the perch, y’know, it’s not like it’s a huge rush.  The guy who, y’know, took…care… of… your grandfather when he croaked, call him, he’ll come get me.”

Ah, the sensitivity of making final plans.  I contemplated the undertaker who… ah… made the final arrangements for my dad, and the other thing at the forefront of my brain, our Christmas party.  The intersection:  the mortician sells his cardboard caskets as beer coolers.

I know, I know, but seriously, they work amazingly well.  The undertaker doesn’t embalm, he refrigerates, which is environmentally much, muuuuuch better.  However, these caskets have to be waterproof but flammable, because, well, the unembalmed… um, sometimes leak a bit.

At $25, these cardboard caskets are cheap, disposable, and hold a shitton of beer/ice… and make for quite the decor item, especially at Halloween parties.  He can’t keep them in stock in October.

Fortunately Daddy died in April.  We were good, we got the 99 Cent Store version of coffin.  The undertaker asked Mummy and I if we would prefer a more upscale receptacle for his final snoozefest and, well, barbecue.

Mummy raised one eyebrow.  “He’s wrapped in an old sheet.”

My dad, God rest his soul, grew up during the War and rationing.  A huge treat was a half pound of broken biscuits (never, ever whole biscuits.  Only broken ones.) He saved bits of old string, you never knew when it would come in handy.  He woulda been horrified at us blowing excess cash on something we planned to incinerate at a thousand degrees.

I giggled. “It’s not like it has to last very long.  I think we’re good with the basic edition.”

As all this shot through my cranium, I unloaded it on The Boy.

My normally excessively talkative son looked at me with one eye half closed.  “You know… I think I’ll just read for a while.”

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