Stanley, Bernie and I have been making our wills.
Are you going anywhere soon?
There’s so much to dispose of: a house, two cars, Buddhist sculpture and art, clothes, zendo articles, books, the list goes on and on. So here I am, with pencil and paper in hand, to ask you this: What would you like me to leave you when I die?
Everything in the refrigerator.
The contents of the vegetable bin?
No, not the vegetable bin. But don’t forget the bread and chicken in the freezer and the pint of Bart‘s Sea Salt Caramel ice cream.
[writing] All contents in refrigerator. Got it. Anything else?
The biscotti on the top shelf over the microwave, Simply Naked Pita Chips, and the black sesame brown rice snaps above the sugar. Also, both jars of MaraNatha peanut butter in the pantry, doesn’t have to be organic.
Biscotti, Simply Naked Pita, rice snaps, peanut butter. What else?
The birdseed in the bin in the laundry room.
You can’t eat sunflower seeds, Stanley, your stomach doesn’t digest it, it goes right through you.
How do you know?
I see what I’m stepping on when I walk outside!
Speaking of outside, leave me the squirrels.
I don’t own the squirrels. What else?
The mice in the basement?
Stan, you create a will to dispose of all your possessions. The only animal that I technically own is you.
Me! You don’t own the squirrels or the birds, not even the mice in your basement, but you own me?
I think that’s because you’re viewed as a domestic creature. Now, let’s find out your wishes for after you die. How would you like me to dispose of your body?
I’d like you to leave me on the sofa. No more “Stanley get off the couch.”
For how long?
What about when your body turns to bone and even dust?
Leave it on the sofa.
Got it. What kind of memorial service would you like, Stanley?
Any Buddhist service will do, but I prefer Tibetan.
Because it has the most offerings, not necessarily vegetarian.
Any particular offerings you have in mind?
Slices of roast beef forget the ketchup, rice but no soy sauce, anything deep-fried, and cashews. Forget the tea. Also don’t need flowers and candlelight. Or chanting for that matter, since I’m deaf.
Okay. Now for your possessions. Who gets your warm, furry, circular bed with the ridge for a pillow?
Any one but Kaya, Leeann’s dog. Whenever I stay at Leeann’s Kaya steals the bed from me.
What about the red collar that says Stanley with my phone number on it.
Medical paraphernalia? Ear drops, turmeric for joint problems, anti-worm and tick pills?
Dogfood? Greenies? Biscuits?
I ain’t leaving any.
Your food bowls? I’d like to use them for our next generation of dogs.
Only if you leave your clothes for Bernie’s next wife.
Got it. Now, I’m your medical proxy. Is there any time you’d like to call it quits? When I call Dr. Brown—
The House of Horrors!—
I won’t take you to her office but I might need to call her to end your life if you’re suffering too much. When would you like us to end your life? Cancer?
When you can’t walk and can’t eat?
That’ll be the day.
[Writing] That’ll be the day.Make A Donation