Make mortal decisions now, or pay later

by Mark Pleiss

Let’s be frank. Last week wasn’t a good week to be in the papers.

Deaths filled the headlines with Terri Schiavo, Johnnie Cochran and Pope John Paul II. Rumors even surfaced that the King of Pop killed himself as well.

Thank God that wasn’t true.

With all this overtime the Reaper has been putting in, I’ve decided it would be a good idea to evaluate my own mortal ideals and come up with three wishes the papers have taught me.

I mean, I’m in the paper every week … you never know.

I may be next.

First Wish

I don’t know how to make an official statement about this type of thing, so let this be my official decision.

If I’m in a “vegetative state,” pull the plug, tube, whatever.

As I’m sure everyone is aware, or sick and tired of hearing about, Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman, finally died after 15 years of pain and political debate.

The situation began when she suffered heart failure, which led to severe brain damage. It ended March 31.

The big issue was that Michael Schiavo wanted to remove her feeding tube, while her parents thought the tube should stay in because she would get better.

May it be my wish that if I enter a vegetative state, the person I’ve lived with recently be the one who decides whether I live or die.

I would want my parents to make the decision for me if I was still living with them and they knew everything about me. But in our society, kids often move away from their parents and then have limited contact with them. Therefore, parents are in no position to make that decision.

I will have given my heart to another, and that person should make that decision. My parents would be too blinded by their pa-and-ma-ternal love to make the correct decision.

As was the case with Schiavo.

Second Wish

For my second wish: I wish that when I die, people say, “Jeez. He’s really dead. I thought it’d take an army to pull that guy under.”

I want to go out as a fighter, just like Pope John Paul II did.

He’s a simple man from Poland who can speak almost all the world’s major languages, but has even more impressively held off death with a daily dose of prayer and a number of strong medicines. He constantly suffered from illness after illness, but no one ever thought he’d die.

He ruled the papacy without worrying about what others thought. He took real stances on matters such as stem-cell research, gay and homosexual marriage and child molestation by priests.

It may make me a bad Catholic to say I didn’t always agree with his stances, despite his infallibility. But the fact that he wrote and spoke exactly what he thought the church needed, makes him in my mind a very strong and honorable man.

That’s what I want people to say about me.

Final Wish

When I’m ready to die, do not put my deteriorated, morbid and warped-looking body on any television or newspaper.

And please, for the love of God, don’t put my ghostly face on both editorials in USA Today the day I die.

I don’t want any attention.

Just let me die. When funeral time comes around, then I want all the crying widows, Johnny-come-lately friends, flowers, embellished stories and catered food you can fit in the trailer-size funeral home I’ll be able to afford with whatever’s left. But until then, let me go in peace.

Paying proper respect to the dead far outweighs the distorted pictures and pitiful stories.

These are my three wishes. Please submit this to any body of our government that is necessary should I find myself in such a wretched position.

And to my future wife, wherever you are, I leave you my sacred Houston Oilers stocking cap. Please take care of it.