My wife, it seems, clings to the hope her eventual death will involve some element of peculiarity about it. Traditional means such as car crashes and old age fail to suffice, falling into a category deemed “mundane to the point of bordering on vulgarity.”
For all we agree on, this is one area where I am at a loss, being perfectly comfortable with whatever fate may hold. This naturally makes me the polar opposite of my wife, who employs a certain religious fervor in seeking out the holy grail of her demise. Specifically, this would be a death that allows adequate time to bask in the sympathy from others, but at the same time is devoid of pain, complicated treatment and any potential for survival. A beheading for example would be way too quick, while the plague, although equally unusual, bears an excruciating agony that would overshadow her ability to enjoy the adulation of grieving well-wishers, not to mention it’s easily curable.
Although her passing could occur in a variety of ways, medical abnormalities are a favorite. Now, thanks to the bevy of television medical dramas, combined with the efficiencies of the Google search function, my wife holds a quasi-PhD in the field of medicine. These resources allow her to speak with authority in convincing both skeptics and actual doctors that she’s suffering from the early stages of something or another.
Last week she swiveled around in her chair to greet me as I walked into the room. “I have hypothyroidism,” she announced with a restrained enthusiasm that reminded me of water draining from a colander. Behind her, on the monitor, beamed the results of an Internet query, which she noticed I was studying. “Listen, it explains the tiredness, weight-gain, and snoring, plus it runs in my family.”
Even before we met, my wife regularly speculated over having contracted a number of obscure diseases and disorders. Over time, however, she has eliminated most of these, especially those with signs and symptoms that have failed to keep her interest. Recent dismissals have included Cotards syndrome, Trimethylaminura, and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, while Capgras’ Delusion and Stendhal syndrome still remain as the frontrunners.
The doubt that seeped through in my reaction to her self-diagnosed hypothyroidism apparently motivated my wife to probe deeper into the finer details of this illness. “I was doing a bit more research,” she said as we were driving later that day, “And I have a brain tumor too.”
Rolling my eyes only brought on an expansive dissertation on the correlations between hypothyroidism and this newest development. “Technically it’s a brain tumor,” she said with what sounded like glee, a suspicion confirmed in her explanation of how this particular growth is often benign and easy to remove. “It has all the associated drama, but with better odds of survival.” Her satisfaction over this was palpable even though the tumor failed to meet her criterion of incurability. Still, it seems to suffice for now. In the mean time my wife has stumbled upon a discovery sure to finish the job.
Last evening while watching television we overheard a prominent astronomer make mention of a considerably sized asteroid projected to narrowly miss our planet in roughly 27 years. Interestingly, it appears this initial fly by is a precursor indicating whether the same chuck of rock will actually impact earth a year later.
Upon hearing of this potential catastrophe, my wife sat straight up. “Wait, that means,” she started counting on her fingers, “we could still be around!”
I already knew where this was headed. “Well, maybe,” I responded. Sure enough, as if the great god Google was calling to her from a burning laptop in the wilderness, my wife rose up from the couch to find more details on the certain annihilation of humanity.
“There’s gotta be a countdown clock or something,” she said fixated on the 756,668 search results glowing in her face.
I raised an eyebrow, confused by her logic. “Honey, it’s not unique if this kills everyone all at once, and it sure won’t take long to obliterate us?” But she wasn’t listening. She was too preoccupied with planning how to tell everyone goodbye.