Spare Parts

by Rina Bell Bileski

Last week I entered the Bone on Bone club. I already belong to the Hearing Aides club, and the Denture Association. How I wish I was a car; the mechanic replace an axle or a tire, and that’s all there is to it. Rehabilitation, therapy, or muscle strengthening, will be of no need. Imagine the money and the anxiety we could spare. Apropos parts, wouldn’t it be easier for husbands to trade an older model for a younger version? Spousal maintenance, lawyer’s fees, assets hiding, will all become things of the past.

When the unavoidable knee replacement can no longer be ignored, I will regret my divorce. I should have looked for a replacement. For me, a husband was good for zipping up my dress. I failed to predict the future, nobody to drive me to the hospital. I need to hire a short term husband.

Don’t you admire physicians: “you are not seventeen any longer!”

Thank you, Doctor, you made me feel a whole lot better! Such an encouragement could either contribute to a miraculous recovery, keeping you away, or deeply sink my self-esteem.

Physicians’ bedside manners take a back seat to the courteous touch of those targeting every person who reaches the magic age of sixty. Hearing aides, senior residential centers, geriatric clinics, all ready to extend a helping hand for a handsome fee.

Quite often I used to receive a lunch invitation from a rebuttable financial advisory firm. They promised to enhance my estate, perhaps double it overnight. They also wanted to revise my living will. In other words, they wanted to control my portfolio.

If this all came to life, will I still be among the living? One thing was clear, they wanted  my money whether I was dead or alive. They barked up the wrong tree, and wasted precious time and efforts. Wouldn’t it be terrific if they discovered treasures I have not been aware of?

But they pointed out an important fact; my days were numbered, I was deteriorating rapidly, practically crippled. I concluded that I was valuable as far as my dollars went; the more squeezed out of me, the better.

Last, but by all means not least, came the final station. Cremation facilities, funeral homes, burial lots, thay were so tempting: cuddly coffins inviting us in for the rest of our death, gorgeous urns, into which our ashes would be funneled. All my life I have tried to shrink my size, I never thought that I could be fitted so easy into a tiny vase.

I have a great idea; design an exclusive website depicting a complete funeral service, from start to finish. Take us on a visual tour. Please don’t forget to highlight all the mortician’s preparations, and the elaborate make up artistry. At our age we might look better dead than alive.

Before you finish me off, I suggest you conduct a thorough research. Jewish tradition does not favor cremations and open caskets. Personally, I hope to be buried in Israel, my country of origin. “Dust to dust”, as mentioned in the Holy Book, so the purchase of fancy boxes is not necessary.

Death has never been treated as a profitable venue. It took me long time to believe, let alone comprehend, the commercial exploitation of the departed. The only item paid for in Israel is the headstone, which unlike the United States, cost substantially lower.

A word of advice from a little old lady: Beware, your cremation parlor might be torched, and its ashes shipped back in one of your magnificent urns found in your display room.                                      

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