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Pulling Granny's plug - Will Durst

What is it with the crazies with the guns at the town halls complaining about the health-care reform death panels?

There are no health-care reform death panels. Is this what constitutes legitimate dissent now? Just making stuff up? OK. Fine. I want to protest the black capsules the government plans to shove down our throats at age 30 to tamp Social Security costs down and honor Michael York in "Logan's Run." Come on everybody: "Black Capsules Bad."

The high-decibel human wailing walls call themselves gras-roots activists, while opponents dispute their provenance as being more from the Astoturf side of the nursery. Interestingly, before any of this started, late in the spring, the GOP circulated internal memos determined to "go for the kill" on health care. But as they say on "Law & Order," "Any resemblance to actual persons or events is strictly co-incidental." KON-KONK.

The outraged masses seem to be an amalgam. Skinheads and "Obama is Hitler" proponents. The distilled residue dried at the bottom of the Teabagger saucer. Some are free-radical LaRouchies who don't want the government involved in anything, including roads and policing.

But it is easy to understand why all of them are so leery of public health care. It's painfully obvious they're intimate with the failures of public education.

The programs that are the focus of everyone's tizzyment are end-of-life consultations. Known variously as palliative care and "they're pulling the plug on Granny."

No. They're just talking about pulling the plug on Granny. Besides, if the participants at these protests are any sampling of what home life is like, maybe Granny isn't that anxious to extend her existence ad infinitum. Maybe Granny wants her plug pulled. Ever think of that? Anybody bother asking Granny?

Well, that's what these consultations are about. Maybe Granny doesn't relish the prospect of spending a couple of decades impersonating a large, fleshy, bedsore-bedeviled, antiseptic log with a feeding tube shoved into her. This is an opportunity to inform her of choices. The choice of leaving her body to science. Or her teeth to Art History. Or her cherry, '76 Ford Pinto to PETA.

This is where you can get stuff like that out in the open. Living will time.

People die. That's what they do. All of them. You. Me. Uncle Fred. Aunt Hoogolah. Walter Cronkite. Granny and Gramps. And no offense, but Granny is probably going to beat most of us to the finish line.

And it doesn't freak her out as much as it does you just thinking about her thinking about it.

Unfortunately, in our culture, death is a lot like sex. Books are written about it and movies revel in it, but in the real world, you will please have the common human decency to refrain from speaking about it. Or looking at it.

And if someone talks about it, don't listen. Quick, stick your head in the sand. And hands over both ears. Now repeat after me: La. La. La. La. La. La. La.

Note: No Ostriches were hurt during the writing of this column. KON-KONK.

Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.