Thank you for agreeing to serve as my health care proxy. I have chosen you for this role because I trust your judgment, value your decision-making ability, and am confident that you have excellent organs, suitable for donation. In the event that I am permanently unconscious, suffering from irreversible brain damage, or particularly engrossed in an episode of “The Mentalist,” please look to the following guidelines for assistance in determining my treatment choices:
1. If I am conscious, but have lost the ability to make appropriate decisions, I do not want cardiac resuscitation, mechanical respiration, or access to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I do not want tube feeding, except for ice cream, preferably Mint Chocolate Chip. Cookie Dough is an acceptable substitution, but please be sure that the chunks of cookie dough do not get caught in the tube.
2. If I have lost the ability to speak, I want my computerized voice to be British, preferably with an upper-class British accent as opposed to the working-class Cockney slang — unless there is a possibility for me to be cast in a hospital production of the musical Oliver, in which case a Cockney voice is not only acceptable but encouraged.
3. If I have lost the use of my arms and legs, I wish my head to be transplanted onto the body of a pegasus, or, alternatively, a wildebeest, preferably a female blue wildebeest, and preferably one that is no longer able to bear children, since I expect that the wildebeest birthing process would be physically uncomfortable, especially in my condition.
4. If there is ever a choice between losing my right arm or my left, I choose to keep my right. If there is ever a choice between losing my sense of sight or my sense of hearing, I choose to keep my sense of sight. If there is ever a choice between baked potato or french fries, I choose french fries.
5. I do not want to be placed in a long-term care facility that does not offer adequate protection against the impending robot invasion.
6. If I have lost the ability to recognize members of my family, I request that my sister be forced to visit me each day so that I may inflict the same psychological torture on her that she inflicted on me when we were both in high school and she refused to acknowledge that she even knew me. If there is ever a choice between losing my sense of smell, or my sister losing her sense of smell, I choose that she should lose her sense of smell and I should keep mine, unless she still smells as terrible as she did the last time I saw her.
7. If my physician determines that my condition is terminal, I request a different physician. Also, if my physician is conscious but has irreversible brain damage and will never again regain the ability to make appropriate decisions, I request a different physician. If my physician has lost the ability to speak, I want his or her computerized voice to be British.
8. If at any point you decide you cannot fulfill your duties as my health care proxy, I request that the privilege be awarded to the first runner-up, and, in addition, that you should lose your arms and legs and your head should be transplanted onto the body of a lion.
9. In the unlikely event that a medical situation transpires that is not covered by any of the instructions in this document, I ask that you build a time machine that enables you to travel back to today so I can tell you what decision to make on my behalf. Also, bring me the DVDs of any future seasons of “The Mentalist” so I don’t have to wait to see them.
This document is executed in sound mind and with careful reflection. Thank you.
Illustration by Brad Jonas