Recently, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, took a lethal dose of barbiturates and ended her own life in accordance with Oregon’s “Death with Dignity"Act. She made a cognizant, informed decision to die before her devastating illness destroyed her quality of life and made her suffer unnecessarily.
I think all of us can have empathy for this situation — especially those of us who have tried to watch a YouTube supercut of dogs on trampolines, only to have the video load really slowly.
And that’s why I believe states that enact this kind of legislation should attach riders that include concessions for — in addition to those with fatal illnesses who have only six months to live — anyone who experiences slow or spotty internet.
Why should someone have to suffer through end-stage stomach cancer or, worse, 30 seconds of waiting for Facebook comments to appear after clicking on them? Or continually refresh Tinder on their smartphones while no new casual-sex partners come up, either to be collected or discarded with the swipe of a finger? Why? Why must these people be made to endure the indignity of having a horrible disease eat away at their brains and bodies, or of not getting to see exactly what they want, whenever they want?
No — they should be able to end their lives mindfully, rather than so needlessly live through low Wi-Fi signal strength. And various fatal carcinomas, or whatever.
More importantly, I think we need to remove some of the hoops people have to jump through in order to die in this manner, should the worst happen (i.e., pancreatic cancer, or two hours torrenting 22 Jump Street). As these laws stand, a doctor has to be consulted, at least two witnesses need to be present who have no stake in the patient’s estate, and then and only then can the sick person be prescribed a lethal dose of medication. This could potentially take weeks for all the pieces to fall into place, and we need to provide succor now for people who are suffering. If I’m trying to sign into Netflix and all I’m getting is the beachball, for example, I should legally be able to walk into a doctors office and have him shoot me right in the face, no questions asked.
And the law shouldn’t stop there. Here is a list of other criteria that should allow one access to immediate and very violent physician-assisted suicide:
- Waiting more than 10 minutes in line at Del Taco (8 minutes, Dairy Queen)
- Static electricity shocks
- Getting called “Don” when your name is “Dan”
- Sleep apnea (yours or spouse’s)
- Sky is “too blue”
- New episode of Serial podcast doesn’t come out for six more days
- Mouth feels icky or otherwise gross/off
- Not windy enough for kite
- Restaurant forgot pine nuts in baby mixed-green salad
So please lawmakers, don’t reserve this crucial right just for those with incurable, excruciating medical conditions — unfortunate souls trying to finish writing boring stupid fucking columns would have killed themselves three paragraphs ago if it was legal.