The End Is Near

Mr. Smith reflects on the life of his caretaker as he rages against the dying of the light

Sometimes I think Dick Cheney should just pull the plug.

He could shut down my ventilator, step back, and calmly watch as I depart this corporal plane for parts unknown, leaving behind the struggle of paralysis and moral indignation. I know he wants to do it. Haters gonna hate, and I grow weary of the fight. It would be a small, personal victory in Cheney's lifelong odyssey against freedom, truth, justice and drugs. Something tells me he would rather use a pillow.

It's a grim existence lying here, twitching my right middle finger at the former vice president of the United States, telling him Fuck You in the only way I can and making him tend to my most basic needs. It must not be all that great for The Dick, either. He's personally perpetuating a man who represents things he fought against throughout his decades of public service. Dick Cheney is a broken man, despite a new heart, a relic of a time when we were all supposed to Just Say No while our government enabled Central American drug smugglers.

But we said Yes.

Dick Cheney didn't always say No. He got a DUI once, way back in 1962. He was 21 years old, living in Wyoming, if you believe what he told the New Yorker some years back. And being a young, apparently thirsty man, he drank too much and drove a car. Busted. Then a year later, he got thirsty again and drove a car. Busted again.

"Arrested twice within a year for driving under the influence, once in Cheyenne, once in Rock Springs," Cheney told the magazine. "And it was a sobering (he chuckled here). I'm not sure that's the right word. Sobering moment. Sit down and think about where I was and where I was headed. I was headed down a bad road, if I continued on that course."

Thank God Dick Cheney chose the road he picked, one where you attain the penultimate office in the United States government, lie to the entire world to justify an invasion in which hundreds of thousands of people die, then shrug it off when the world learns the truth. Just think for a minute what the bad road was.

Anyway, I got caught smoking cannabis once, way back in high school, or at least I admitted to a judge that I had. She was apparently a Just Say No judge, so she ordered me and a friend to spend a couple weekends living in a half-way house where street drunks went to sober up. It was a sobering experience, so to speak, but it didn't sway me from the road I was on.

In the past couple years, I've waded neck deep into the cannabis debate, sometimes driving it and sometimes commenting on it, but always being affected by it. I stuck my head up for the charge, and sometimes I got hit. Sometimes it feels like being on Gunsmoke, the old-school TV western. Sheriff Matt Dillon got shot something like 60 times on that show.

I guess my point in all this is that I am a bit of a broken man, too, tended to by another broken man. It's ironic that Dick Cheney is sitting in a recliner beside my bed, occasionally rising to pump gruel or rub me down with exotic oils and fragrances. It's not easy needing him to stay alive, and as often as I wonder if he should pull my plug, I wonder why he stays.

Maybe he needs me, too.