Unequivocally Ambiguous

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My Mother-in-Law Asked Me to Kevorkian Her

by | Apr 9, 2024 | culture | 0 comments

Adult Diapering My Fear of Death

“Just fucking shoot me.” My mother-in-law has asked me several times when the topic of adult diapers comes into the conversation.

I don’t know why the prospect of an adult diaper bothers so many people. Babies wear them all the time, and they don’t seem to mind.

Maybe it is a scenario where expectations rocket against reality, the expectation of what we think elderly life should be versus what it is. Perhaps we expect our last years to be the best because we give so much of our early life to the productivity of the companies we work for and the economy we live in. Only to find out they aren’t.

When we live historically unprecedented long lives, we can’t expect life to be anything other than an adult diaper.

The defiance to prolong life against all odds has been a driver of some of the most mind-blowing medical and technological developments. We hate death because death sucks, and we suffer when we lose those we love. So we push daily to keep people alive longer, at all costs.

This is the engine behind many businesses, and I’m not only talking about the enormous, ever-present medical companies but also about fish oil pills, infrared saunas, and butter in coffee.

We do it to prolong the inevitable because, in the end, we all have to face our passing and the passing of everyone we know and love.

Losing someone and coming face to face with others’ mortality and our own is the emotional equivalent of gridiron punishment — a method of torture where offenders (typically those offending the Catholic Church) were roasted alive like marshmallows — screaming, smoldering marshmallows.

The difference is that instead of s’mores, you are cooking “s’umans” as in ‘it was a human.’ Good luck finding a Graham cracker big enough.

All death simply blows — whether sudden or prolonged — losing someone or oneself just blows!

In our pursuit to prolong life, we ignore the fact that there might be an optimal and ideal time to just go.

In 2006, Aubrey de Grey boldly proclaimed in TEDx Cambridge that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born.

I don’t know what to make of that because not all human beings who even live to 100 do so in a healthy way. Some are just propped up by medications and invasive surgeries, keeping them alive to so their Medicare can be milked for the benefit of doctors and hospitals.

What would 1,000 years even look like?

I’m not in my mother-in-law’s camp. I won’t be asking anyone to shoot me if I use a diaper. But that’s because I think I might only have to do it for a few decades at the most. But for 900 years?!?

Fuck that!!!

Just fucking shoot me!

In 2009, my wife, Justine, was a flight attendant for the new airline, Virgin America. She had a ‘ buddy pass ‘ as part of her employment perks. Our relationship was new, so she gave it to her mom. But eventually, I was able to bump her out and get myself in there.

There weren’t many cities back then. I don’t think they had more than nine. But traveling with my wife and her crew was fun whenever I had the time. Once, I went to SFO from San Diego, had lunch with her, and flew back.

I was having fun. But my mom had other plans for me.

I had just returned from celebrating my birthday in Seattle in March of 2011 when my mom showed up at my door with a teacup-size puppy. My mom announced the dog was mine. I didn’t want a dog but felt guilty somehow, so I kept it.

Justine and I didn’t want the dog and were resentful of the gift. Who gives anyone a dog? Besides, it didn’t fit my lifestyle. We were digital nomads. I had just gotten the coveted buddy pass.

The dog’s name was Princess, and it fit in my hand. My mom promised, “It will stay this size.”

It didn’t. But it didn’t matter. When the dog stretched the length of a wiener dog, she had already secured a place in our hearts. We changed her name to a more appropriate one, and that’s how we got our nervous Chihuahua, Papaya.

I had never had a pet, so I was surprised to find myself loving an animal so much. But that love opened the doors to something darker. I kept thinking about how short dogs’ lives are, which triggered a spiraling loop of death anxiety.

“This dog is going to die.”
“Everyone I love and know is going to die.”
“I am going to die.”

My death anxiety was so heightened that it put a damper on everything I was doing.

“What a beautiful day in beautiful San Diego… but we are all going to die.”
“Cinnamon, chili, and nutmeg in hot chocolate is a revelation… but we are all going to die.”
“I’m graduating Cum Laude from one of the country’s Top School of Communication… but we are all going to die.”

And sure, I could’ve told you about my death anxiety without being a douche and bringing up my academic accomplishments, but I might as well brag since we are all, you guessed it, going to die.

Obviously, I had a problem.

At that time in my life, I was an entrepreneur, which is the societally accepted term for trying a business idea while struggling financially.

In my case, I had enough for all my bills but not enough for the finer things in life like extra-whip Java chocolate chip Frappuccino’s, three-ply toilet paper, or proper mental health care.

So I turned to where I always turned for solutions in times of crisis: books.

I found a book by an author who would later become one of my favorite authors, Irvin Yalom. Yalom wrote “Staring at the Sun.” This book helped me to understand and reframe my fear of death.

In the book, there is an example I think about often.

Yalom visited a friend at a care facility who is suffering from a neurodegenerative disease, which has rendered him unable to take care of himself.

The friend did not recognize him, but Yalom noticed the tranquility his friend experienced sitting in a wheelchair in front of the lake.

The biological drive to just exist is that strong.

That’s why I am not so worried if I end up using diapers. I would probably be happy just to be alive.

Maybe that’s just me.

In any case, I don’t think I can shoot my mother-in-law in the face. She didn’t say where to shoot her, but I imagine she wants me to finish the job. If she doesn’t want to wear diapers, I can’t imagine she wants me botching her attempted murder.

It’s not that I don’t want to fulfill her wishes; I’m just afraid things might get a bit awkward with my wife.

Where is Kevorkian when you need him?

Well, don’t bother looking him up. He is dead.


Because we are all going to fucking die.

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