Deathstyles - Why Wait? Go Now....
BONES, PENSIONS AND OTHER AILMENTS
knows when he wants to go
for all on the NHS:
How about introducing a system of death planning?
my diplomatic capacity I am often invited to many local ceremonies and
other niceties in this small but enchanting city in the northwest of
Spain. On this occasion I was to attend the opening ceremony of a new
and private, five-star geriatric home. Falling in line with the local
dignitaries and a host of so called onlookers, a handsome forty-something
medical director, all spruced up in white overall and stethoscope round
his neck greeted us with a Paul Newman smile as we crossed the threshold
of the institution.
A low decibel version of Vivaldis Four Seasons piped
through the speaker system as we moved through the entrance hall into
the main lounge. Bright coloured furniture and the botanical exuberance
of flora adornments blended in magnificently with model-like nurses
assisting a couple of old dears whod probably mortgaged the rest
of their lifes savings just to pay the rent for a room in this
Can I come and stay here, now, if I wanted to? I asked the
Of course, he answered. You may come for a month,
a year or as long as you like. We have several prices that range from
a luxury suite to a simple interior bedroom. All amenities from medical
attention to sauna facilities are included.
After being offered the usual Spanish aperitif of a glass of wine and
a tapa, I left the place with a puzzled mind. This was just
not for real. The older you get the rustier you become and to stay in
a place like this youve got to be fit or else youd be booted
out in two seconds flat and sent to the nearest National Health doss
house to rot or die!
Does this sound dramatic? Not so in this modern and consumer world we
live in. In the developed world old people are increasing in numbers,
and, percentage-wise are outpacing the younger generation. Not only
are they living longer but are also becoming major benefactors of the
health service of each nation. Just take a look into any pharmacist
in Spain today, and the majority of people with prescriptions are well
over fifty. They are also a creeping drain on the economy. Apart from
the health problem, every year the state pension system of a great number
of nations creaks and moans in tune with the oldies that
are seeking their daily bread in retirement handouts.
Having paid towards it all their lives, they are certainly entitled
to the monthly income. Trouble is that most systems have been playing
the earn as you pay Monopoly game. We all know that
for decades, most social security payments from workers goes straight
out to the unemployed and the pensioners. 'Thats ok if we have
a good 2 or 3 to 1 ratio of pay in to pay out. But were close
to a 1 in to 1 out and soon the whole system is going to collapse,
said Jose Gomez, a friend of mine in the local government. 'Economists,
statisticians, politicians and the odd red-necked trade unionist have
written much on the subject regarding this so called generation
Most have predicted the obvious. Create more jobs, bring in more immigrants
to cover low paid jobs, keep people working till they drop dead and
get the new generations to throw away the condoms and produce more babies.
Ah, and theres the odd pundit who wants women to go back to the
mop and stove and revert to raising a family. Any objections? Of course
these suggestions can be considered as the solution, but as they say
in Spanish, whos going to put the bell on the cat and implement
Herewith is my own version! Years ago, legal abortion was unheard of.
For centuries many unfortunate women around the world carried the burden
of unwanted pregnancies. They suffered from humiliation, imprisonment,
poverty and many other degraded abuses just because they had succumbed
to natures most precious offering, that of accepting procreation,
with or without their consent. A few decades ago, what started off as
a human rights gesture towards certain unwanted pregnancies has today
turned into a thriving business for the medical profession: Babies
a la carte. Women can just as easily get a nose job as they can,
thanks to the day after pill fornicate to their hearts content
without worrying about an unborn child. (As Men have always done -Ed)
In the past, women were faced with the prospect of losing out in the
moneymaking modern day lifestyle because of having to bring up Joey.
Along came the law. The pill and the doctors scalpel changed the
situation whereby women can now compete with their male counterparts
for a healthy paycheck. If Joey does come along, it is because he was
planned and fitted nicely into the life plan. Whats this all got
to do with old age pensioners, social security medical burdens and the
like, you may ask? Very simple and were back to economics.
Whilst our heroes and heroines are most likely to be in their mid thirties
and will stay put with the one and only heir to their throne, they form
part of the accepted life planning system of modern day
consumerism. But what happens when they start to grow old and anti-inflammatory
pills take over from the odd tot of Scotch? Whos going to take
care of them? How about introducing a system of death planning?
If life becomes unbearable due to a complete physical breakdown, why
do we not have legislation in place for humans to plan their own departure
from this planet?
Horror upon horror, I have laid before you the dreadful unthinkable,
unmentionable possible future scenario, the legalisation of euthanasia.
Its not as daft as it sounds. As I said before, its the
pure economics of the future. After all, abortion laws, partially due
to feminist movements sprouted like mushrooms and the lid was finally
lifted from Pandoras box and the world accepted the ending of
a foetus as a natural part of family planning. So called middle class
families benefited economically.
Many years ago, I wrote a short piece of nonsense that arrived at the
conclusion that human beings were only useful for 50% of their lifespan.
My theory was pretty simple; on average the first 20 years were spent
at school and further education. From age 20 to 60 humans contributed
to the welfare of the state, were it private or public. On reaching
60 with an assumed pension till the age of 80 they became absolutely
useless. Is this a cruel fictitious analysis or is it a fact of modern
life? If we now introduce todays percentage of those that are
useful and those that are not and put the numbers to work in any of
the developed countries, add the cost of the terminally ill but still
breathing and deduct the contributors because of negative birth rates
and what have you got: an economic bubble that will make Nasdaq look
like a gold mine. So what kind of a conclusion can we arrive at to find
a solution. I hate so say it, but allow those that feel that they are
genuinely not fit to continue on this earth and let them pass away in
dignity. In other words revisit the need for decent and honest euthanasia
to cut out a great deal of old age suffering. One would be surprised
at the number of volunteers.
But alas! This is pure futuristic fiction. Every democratic do-gooder
organisation the world over would throw out the plan even before the
printer ink was dry. How dare we dispose of our elder citizens who have
contributed so much to our development? Very true and prophetic, but
the truth is that we also live in a dog eat dog world whereby everyone
is out for himself. It wont be long before the oldies will have to wear
bullet proof vests because, I hate to say it, when the average modern
yuppie money earner realises that he cant change his BMW every
year because of outrageous social benefit payments to the old and sick
hes going to think twice about the laws of euthanasia. (Holland
is already there- Ed).
There is one point that is ironic in this comparison of life vs.
death planning. As far as the unborn is concerned, the foetus
still has no choice. On the other hand, the oldies, sick or healthy
would be, generally speaking in control of their final destiny.
© James Skinner. 2003
To Start A Novel
James Skinner on Page One
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