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Friday, May 12, 2006

 

You can’t take it with you

One of the things anniversaries get you thinking about is the future, making sure stuff is taken care of. Wills, inheritances, that sort of thing. Not that my estate is ever likely (at the current income levels) to attract death duties – but it’s something we all have to deal with. Only two things certain about this life Death and taxes.

There have been a few news stories recently about UK families refusing to comply with the deceased persons wish to donate organs after their death. At the risk of seeming morbid, and a long time donor card holder, I’ve often thought it rather weird that people object to odd bits and pieces of themselves being used post mortem for the benefit of others. Need a new kidney? Hell, if I’m dead I’m hardly likely to be using them again. Corneas? – Help yourself. They’ll only go off in this weather.

Periodically there are outcries from people who find out that odds and ends from their nearest and dearest have been kept in a jar by a Hospital for later analysis when the Doctors aren’t quite sure what killed them. Now to my way of thinking that is plain old superstition, the basis behind which appears to be that you won’t get to heaven if you aren’t intact. Well that keeps most of us on the wrong side of the Pearly gates for certain. Who hasn’t lost teeth, tonsils, the odd appendix, bits of cartilage, toenails by the time we get finished with this vale of tears? Sounds like good old fashioned guilt to me.

Just say for a moment there is a heaven / hell setup after our bodies stop working. A man / woman / whatever dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates / Portal of their religions specification and St Peter / The Recording Angel / Gatekeeper / Whoever greets them thus. “Done good works / saved a life or two / made the lives of others better? Good man, in you go – hold up a minute me old china, you can’t come in, your kidneys have gone walkies!”
“Stap me vitals!” Expostulates the deceased. "They were there a minute ago. What thieving git made off with those then?”
“Well, you can’t come in here without all your bits pal.” Says the gatekeeper.
“What! When I was alive I saved a child from drowning, helped my neighbours and lived a good, guilt free life full of good deeds – doesn’t that count?” Retorts the deceased in a manner which could be interpreted as somewhat miffed.
“Sorry chum. No bits – no entry.”
“You mean I’m going to hell because I donated some bits to save another’s life?”

“That’s about the size of it – byee” Says the gatekeeper and down goes the unfortunate deceased to the fiery pit. If God is good and just – it doesn’t happen like that.

My own feelings are this; if my bits can be salvaged after I’m done with them – fine and dandy – break me down for scrap. It’s a kind of immortality – of sorts. What I object to, and object most strongly, is that the families who refuse to donate get donated organs when they have need. Point of fact, if the would be recipient does not carry a donor card themselves, they in turn should not even be considered for a transplant. Harsh, but just. Now Taxes, well that's another matter for another blog entry.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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