Sunday, 22 June 2014

Help Me Rhonda by Naomi Elana Zener

You’re listening to Z78.5fm, home of all the hits of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Welcome back from our commercial break. Now, it’s time for tonight’s ‘Help me, Rhonda’ segment of our show, when I pick one lucky listener’s letter and help them figure out a solution to what ails them. Tonight’s earth-shattering problem comes from a frantic listener with a dying relative.

“Dear Rhonda,

I need your help desperately. You see, my favourite uncle is terminally ill, with only two months left to live. But, in that time he will get to see one more birthday and I want to make sure that he enjoys it. How can I make it memorable for him without reminding him that it’s his last one? What do I buy him for such an occasion? He’s a lifelong bachelor and former naval officer. He never had any kids, but he liked the ladies. What do you think I should do for him or get him for his last birthday before he dies?

Nice Niece”

Well, Niece of the Dead Man Walking, or lying as the case may be, I’ve received some interesting letters over the years, but yours takes the cake. Your predicament is a real brainteaser. What could you do to make an almost dead person feel good about celebrating their last birthday? You should start with giving Popeye a healthy serving of spinach to keep up his strength during the planned festivities. One thing to avoid is putting candles on the cake because it will remind him that he’ll never have another candle, or another cake for that matter, to celebrate another birthday ever again. It’s likely that trying to get him to blow out the candles will be counterproductive since he will need all the lung capacity he can get to take his last breaths.  Also, getting him to make a wish will be cruel since he’ll want to wish for more time and we both know that won’t come true. And, if he’s asked to be cremated, the candles will just remind him that soon enough it will be ‘burn, baby burn’ time.

This is definitely not the birthday to give cash, tchotchkes or other material gifts, since as the saying goes, you can’t take it with you. However, if you’re hell bent on buying him clothes, get him a nice suit, with an equally well-made shirt and tie, since he likely will wear it to his final resting place to eternity and beyond. Cost shouldn’t be an issue because the suit will get a lot of wear. Don’t forget shoes – they always make the outfit. I’d skip video montages or photo albums. Those kind of nostalgic presents will only remind him that death is hanging out right around the corner.

You indicated that your uncle was a former naval officer. From the little I know about men who’ve spent long stretches at sea, they always like stepping ashore into the warm embrace of female or male companionship. You did say that your uncle liked the ladies, and given the short timeframe you’re working with, maybe hire a professional to give him a little extra tender loving care. Send him off with a happy ending. On shore leave, I’ve heard that sailors enjoy a good drunken stupor, so perhaps give your uncle a champagne send off. But, first double check with his palliative care physician to make sure that the alcohol mixed with his pain medications won’t prematurely kill him.

Never having had kids of his own, the thought that you might inherit his estate may have crossed your mind. Give him a wonderful send off, and maybe you’ll see a nice reward on the day his Last Will and Testament is read. No matter what you do, I’m sure it will be special. Good luck, and happy birthday to your uncle from your friend Rhonda.

That’s all for tonight’s show everyone. Tune in next time when I help a caller figure out how to raise her children.

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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