What do you think of my new coffee table? To be sure, it’s not a table yet. I had tax paperwork to sort out Sunday and Alan deserved a little liberty, so he headed over to the Royal Oak antique flea market. Looking for a table. He came home with, well, you can see what he came home with.
“It’s a drum,” I said. No. It’s a coffee table. It was a drum — a nice drum, looks like maybe mahogany — but now it’s a table. In transition, so to speak. The plan is to get a piece of glass custom-cut for the top, put some sort of foot deal on the bottom, and — what’s the word? Oh yeah, “repurpose” it.
The moral of this story is either that Alan has a better eye for the unusual than even those queer guys, or else that it was an idea that didn’t quite work. “I got $60 bucks in it, what the hell,” was Alan’s take on it. Sounds about right.
Not to change the subject too abruptly, but from the beginning, the Terry Schiavo case has baffled and confused me. No one seems to be telling the whole truth — the people who want to remove her feeding tube, who describe her as comatose or brain-dead (when she’s clearly neither) and hardly mention her husband’s new girlfriend and two children (which seems at least worthy of consideration) and who behave as though dehydrating to death is a passing no worse than, oh, Nelson Rockefeller’s.
Then there’s the other side, which seems to have lost its senses, too. Let’s start with Peggy Noonan, who really should keep the liquor cabinet locked until after deadline: She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, “Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald’s? Can I have a burger?” How about those who do everything from hinting to stating outright that Michael Schiavo was abusive before his wife’s heart stopped, and now he just wants to finish the job, 15 years later.
I feel fortunate to have found Abstract Appeal, a Florida-based law blog that’s been following the case closely and, I’m relieved to say, has no particular ax to grind. If you want a clear-eyed overview of the case, I recommend it highly.
That said, there is something horrifying about the idea of the goddamn U.S. Congress getting involved in this. If you’ve ever had to make end-of-life decisions, this has to be your worst nightmare, the idea of having Tom Freakin’ DeLay pushing his nose into your private business, accompanied by Bill Frist and the rest of the GOP. To think that these people, when they aren’t shamelessly pandering to the religious right, pay lip service to the idea of getting government out of people’s lives is almost enough to make your head explode. Shameless hypocrisy? That barely begins to cover it, and I’m standing here as a person who isn’t at all comfortable with the idea of feeding-tube disconnection.
Here’s a tiny clue, from the WashPost: An unsigned one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators, said the debate over Schiavo would appeal to the party’s base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year and is potentially vulnerable in a state President Bush won last year.
“This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue,” said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. “This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.”
I notice the barking nitwit who used to be my congressman was in the papers Saturday, talking about the steroids-in-baseball hearing. Here’s a guy who ran on all the usual issues, c. 1994 — term limits, government out of private business, etc. Today he’s comfortable with the idea of running a professional sports league: �These star players need to stand up and say this has gone far enough,� he said. �They have a very brief time to fix this, or we�re going to.�
Let me just wrap it up this way: If my brain ever ends up looking like this, feel free to pull all plugs and tubes, nuke me with morphine and let me go on down the drain. And Alan’s free to take all my clothes out of the closet and find someone else to warm up my side of the bed. Hey — life goes on.