Dementia: A Cautionary Tale

March 6, 2018


“Mom says she saw a black panther outside her window last night,” my oldest brother texts me.

“The activist or the animal?” I respond.

“The animal - but good question.”


My mother had a stroke in 2016 and, while it wasn’t on the severe side, it did collapse the dementia dam, which has been.....interesting. 


“Mom says she’s been snowboarding.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yep. In South America.”


My mother has always been a bit off; like one slip on a banana peel away from Gary Busey. Growing up, my friend’s moms were getting their nails done or going to Jazzercise classes. Meanwhile, my mother was teaching herself how to write left-handed. 

“Mom, why are you doing that?”

“You never know when you might need it.” Yes....because at some point there will exist a universe where only the ambidextrous survive. 


I don’t know a ton but I DO know that my mother would be horrified seeing this is how she ended up. So in an effort to gain control on a bus that has already lost all its wheels, I decide to make a living will.  Knowing the company of shitstains I keep, both by genetics AND by choice, I need to legal my ass up before the aforementioned shitstains pull the plug the second they see drool on my chin. 


It turns out that making a living will isn’t nearly as dramatic as I had envisioned seeing as I’m 40 and single, no kids. Socially I have little value. And with a 650 credit score and my only worldly possession being a Stella McCartney bag, which will also serve as my coffin, it seems that legally I have absolutely no value.  My only wish is scrawled on a wet cocktail napkin and tucked in a shoe:

“I, Toots, being of sound mind and body, heretofore declare that the instant I forget how to make coffee, the family member within closest geographical distance will hog tie me with my Stella McCartney bag and proceed to horse-kick me over a side of The Grand Canyon.” And if at any time I claim to see a black panther - the animal or the activist - outside of my window while writing left handed, just beat death into me. 



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