Pull the Plug

One year on my birthday, well into my adult years, my parents took me to a restaurant.  It was probably a pretty nice place, my father and I may well have been wearing sports jackets.  Assume we were.  

At some point during dinner, maybe while we waited for the appetizers, my father reached into his inner pocket and pulled out a few folded pages.  “You have a pen?” he asked me.  

I always have at least one writing instrument with me and I produced a pen. The papers he wanted me to sign were a Health Care Proxy and Living Will.  He’d had them drawn up and made me the proxy in the event he was incapacitated, and in a life or death medical emergency.   I said something like ‘what the fuck?’ and he explained.

“I thought you were the perfect person because if I was hooked up to life support you wouldn’t hesitate to pull the plug,” he said.  

 “If you were on life support right now, I’d pull the fucking plug,” I may have said.  I signed the papers, my father took them, folded them, put them back into his pocket.  

“Hell of a nice birthday present, dad,” I said, “I don’t know how to thank you.”

“As I’ve told you many times, you never have to thank me for something like that.  It’s my pleasure.”

Nothing else about that long ago birthday dinner is at all memorable.

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