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[at-l] Living will is the best revenge.

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more 
detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine 

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical 
authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish 
semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a 
bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank 

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable 
vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade 
to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from 
around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by 
investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci 
Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring 
further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and 
families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep 
devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, 
elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida 
Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a 
forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz 
friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they 
had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if 
Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the 
medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health 

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - 
especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in 
"less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, 
judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I 
want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them 
another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the 

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an 
opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political 
and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his 
Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways 
that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on 
the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have 
remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent 
vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked 
Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas 
- to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err 
on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the 
last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad 
could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being 
on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned 
directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them.  
If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.

ROBERT FRIEDMAN, editor of ?Perspective,? March 27, 2005