He paused in the middle of his diatribe then assumed a wounded tone as if he anticipated skepticism on my part. However, the conviction in his voice never wavered. “I love my own mother. But doggone it, she doesn’t need a power chair.” His words took on a quieter intensity. “You have to keep walking. That’s what allows us our humanity.” He was more wistful than angry. “They want to put us all in machines and charge us an arm and a leg for the favor.”

Yes, the proverbial They, ever concocting pernicious plans out of our deepest fears. I didn’t share his anxiety at the technological solutions that awaited us at a ripe old age when our biology inevitably fails us. I did allow myself a nod of agreement and a joyous laugh at his concluding remark. “If that ever happened to me, I’d cover myself in honey and go on a bear hunt.”

Indeed. One man’s mercy is another man’s fatal indignity.

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