Ezekiel Emanuel, a primary mastermind of Obamacare, wants you to know that he wishes to die at 75.
So, PLEASE, don’t try to stop him. LET HIM GO.
I KNOW… it’s hard. He’s a swell guy.
In his recent pseudo-controversial article for The Atlantic, he makes the obvious point that quality of life diminishes with age (it’s called “dying,” after all) and that data shows that after age 75, what’s really the point?
It’s not like you grow new limbs, sprout rejuvenated sex organs, or produce a richer mane of hair. It’s all downhill, and then some.
Nope, sadly your risk for Alzheimer’s goes up as your potential for creativity decreases. So his conclusion: I’m outta here.
But really, you start declining, as a creature, after 50. Most ball-players retire by 40, unless you play golf. And pro-golfers shuffle off into the senior leagues by the sixth decade.
With E-Z’s logic, you could argue that 70 is a better cut-off, or even 65. Start clipping at the back end of life, and combine it with abortion as birth control in the front end, and really it’s all about living without complications. No babies, no old people — the two groups that make traveling a pain, as well as slowing down lines at restaurants. Really, this planet should be full of nothing but trim, healthy, over-educated policy-makers with tasteful Oliver Peoples eyewear.
Of course we all know that when Emanuel approaches his expiration date — 75 — and is still feeling chipper, his mind will certainly change. He’ll take the drugs. And then perhaps he will write a long article about that too. I wonder if he’ll feel bad for anyone who listened to him when he wrote about how living past 75 was stupid.
Seriously, what if he does change his mind? Should that excuse him for promoting his dead-at-75 philosophy now, since it will no doubt influence others to think the same way? There are people in their late seventies now, who might take Ezekiel’s gleeful exit as the inspiration to hit the casket earlier than planned.
But before I go on, I must point out that the odd doc is not pushing his beliefs on anyone — he is only expressing his own personal philosophy. And it’s one I understand completely. In fact, a lot of people understand it. Which is why I find his cheery lurch toward self-imposed death paneling so wrong.
It’s really all about the “b” word, which Ezekiel dances around: “burdens.”
Most old people won’t tell you they’re a burden, but they drop hints — revealing it with pained glances and self-imposed silences. As they age and become frustrated with the surly pace of life, they sense an impatience from those around them toward their own slowness and decline. It bothers them. I’ve seen it myself… my own impatience might have contributed to it.
This idea — that one is a burden to your family — is as gnawing as it is universal, which is why it must always be rejected loudly and often out of a sense of duty to these very special people in your life.
As a human community, we are all raised by fellow humans who age and then die. So it is our obligation to take care of those who took care of us (aren’t all WW2 vets over 80 at this point?)
We MUST help, even if — and especially if — your older relatives tell you that they don’t want your help. Their fight against potential life-extension is born from guilt: they don’t want to be a burden on you, and your children.
Now where could they get that idea from?
Maybe doctors like Emanuel.
Which leads me to my last point: could you imagine having him as your parent’s physician?
But maybe, he doesn’t see patients.