Highlights From My Living Will

By: John Frank

1. Terminal Illness

If I have a terminal condition, I would like my life to be prolonged as long as possible, regardless of expense. I’d like all diagnostic procedures and treatments available, including like a full-body MRI every day just after lunch. If surgeries involving robots or lasers seem at all beneficial, I’d like those as well. Should any new type of surgeries or procedures be developed that are not in existence at the time of this writing and involve bionic limbs, synthetic organs, titanium bones, or electronic eyeballs, please perform these as well. If stem cells are available, I want those too. Similarly, if I need to be cloned and have resulting clones harvested for any therapeutic or palliative purpose whatsoever that might benefit me — even in the slightest — I am 100% in favor of this.

In addition to traditional, western approaches, I also want Reiki, healing-light therapy, primal-scream therapy, Haitian herbal poultices, past-life regression analysis, leeches, erotic massage, organic smoothies, crystals, Tai Kwon Do, and 24-hour access to a Native-American sweat lodge.

2. Pain Management

I would like a personal pain-management physician assigned to me whose goal is to keep a consistent level of near-fatal narcotics in my system so that I will feel no pain whatsoever. If at any time, I appear to be in pain or claim to be in pain, I want code blue lights flashing all over the hospital and even in the parking lot if they have them there. Should such a “code blue” for my pain occur, I would also like access to a small hammer for striking my physician’s knuckles with varying levels of force in order to properly communicate my pain level.

3. Coma or Persistent Vegetative State

Should I slip into a coma or persistent vegetative state, I would like large, motivational banners with phrases like “Don’t Give Up” and “Pray for a Miracle” and “This Guy Was Once Somebody’s Baby” to be hung about my room. I would also like a hi-definition flat-screen television placed in my room, to be on at all times, in case I wake up. And, finally, while I believe this goes without saying, I’d like my body suspended in mid-air by invisible wires like in the movie Coma.

4. Brain Death

Should my brain die, I want my body kept alive. I want use of all life-support machines available, even if that means duplexing my room into the room above (or below) to make room for them. I would like my body exercised and kept in top physical condition, and I would like to participate in any hospital picnics or outdoor fun days that come along, to the extent that I am able. Activities such as sledding, for instance, seem reasonable — provided cords of sufficient length for my life support machines can be procured. But I also want my dignity to be kept in mind at all times. Absolutely no Weekend-At-Bernie’s type hyjinks should be taking place at my expense. I don’t want to be treated like a ventriloquist’s dummy nor do I want to be propped up with a hot dog in my hand as though I’m about to eat it. Anyone doing these sorts of things should be fired. Finally, should it become possible to transplant someone else’s brain into my head, I will certainly want this done, but on the sole condition that all of their stuff will be deleted from their brain and all of my stuff will be downloaded into their brain BEFORE I wake up.

5. Cryogenics

If it becomes apparent that the condition I suffer from is so advanced, rare or otherwise baffling that it can only conceivably be handled in the future by highly evolved human or android doctors, I would like to be frozen until such care is available. I would also like a copper relief of my entire body placed in the hospital lobby to remind everyone of the stakes of the game being played. This is a human life we are talking about. Mine.


Behind The Scenes With The Writers Of The New Walt Disney Animated Feature Helen Keller

By: John Frank

WRITER #1: When the Disney execs came to us with the Helen Keller idea, we thought it was amazing. But we had to give her story a universal appeal. You know, in a broader way.

WRITER #2: Right. The deaf and blind thing was good, but we needed something else; something everyone could identify with, so we took the liberty of making her father a firefighter who dies while battling a blaze at an orphanage.

WRITER #1: The ‘ol Disney formula: dead parent = instant drama.

WRITER #2: Yep. And it’s used especially well here because it’s the first news Helen gets from her teacher when they are finally able to communicate: “Your dad died.”

WRITER #1: The look on young Helen’s face is beyond tragic. “What? I learned tactile sign language so you could tell me THIS?”

WRITER #2: The audience has no choice but to be on Helen’s side.

WRITER #1: Right. But, only through hardship comes heroism, honor, glory.

WRITER #2: With the right amounts of levity and comedy along the way, of course. The scene with Helen rolling in the grass with the seven kittens is a wonderful tension-reliever.

WRITER #1: Yeah. The brooding kitten is a little reluctant to romp until he sees how sad Helen is. Then, even he’s won over by her amazing courage!

WRITER #2: Right. And, (spoiler alert!) Helen Keller regains her ability to see at the end of the movie!

WRITER #1: Of course. The happy ending; nothing like it. But remember: she only regains her sight because she discovered love: TRUE love.

WRITER #2: Exactly. Her teacher wants her to change. Her mother wants her to change. But Zachariah, the barn boy, likes her just the way she is.

WRITER #1: Which is why I find the soundtrack especially effective.

WRITER #2: No doubt. The song, “I Can Feel You (Because I Can’t See You or Hear You)” is an instant classic.

WRITER #1: And the addition of the fairy who talks into Helen’s ear and can hear her thoughts was a stroke of genius. I believe that was your idea.

WRITER #2: Thanks. Without the fairy, Helen Keller would be just groaning for half an hour in the beginning of the film and no one would know why. Well, beyond the obvious, of course.

WRITER #1: The fairy tells us EXACTLY why she’s doing it.

WRITER #2: “What’s that, Helen? It’s your shoes? Your shoes are too tight because your feet have grown, but no one knows because you can’t talk?”

WRITER #1: “And your teacher smacks you when no one’s looking?”

WRITER #2: We had to take that part out.

WRITER #1: The abusive teacher? Oh, right.

WRITER #2: Too dark.

WRITER #1: Yep. So that’s pretty much it: Helen Keller! In Theatres This Summer! And if Helen herself was alive today — and could see and hear — I think she’d just love what we’ve done with her story!

WRITER #2: Wait, you mean Helen Keller was REAL?


Mariposa Barbie Welcomes Fair Trade Doll To Fairytopia

By: John Frank

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Hi! You’re new! You came from Hannah’s aunt Jane who runs the food co-op! What’s your name?! I’m Mariposa Barbie and this is Hannah’s room! I call it Fairytopia!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I don’t have a name. I am a Fair Trade Doll, handcrafted by members of Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan, a collective of over 4,000 rural women living in the western Indian state of Gujarat, for whom the proceeds from my sale have provided 25 cups of food.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Yummy! I’m made by Mattel and helped boost Q2 profits 15% globally! Did you know that through Global Barbie(TM) you can view my website in several different foreign languages?


MARIPOSA BARBIE: No, but did you know that MARIPOSA is Spanish for BUTTERFLY? It appeals to the emerging Latino market segment in the U.S. as well as non-Hispanic children ages 6-12 who’ve outgrown Dora the Explorer!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I had noticed that you are wearing butterfly wings. They are very colorful.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: I like what you are wearing, too! Your smock looks very comfortable! But you should keep away from Hannah’s brother Gavin so he doesn’t put it on SpongeBob! You two have kind of the same shape! Say, you look strong! Would you like to help me rescue the Queen of Flutterfield? Have you noticed that my hair is partially pink?


MARIPOSA BARBIE: With the help of my friends Willa(TM), Rayna(TM) and Rayla(TM) I am going to rescue The Queen of Flutterfield(TM) from the Skeezites and marry Prince Carlos, who appeals to both Hispanic and non-Hispanic boys for whom Go! Diego Go! informs a pre-verbal reflex in their buying patterns! Hey, why aren’t you looking at me, Fair Trade Doll?! Have you noticed that my fairy-skirt is very short and pretty and that the space between my legs by my crotch is big enough to accommodate an average-sized adult male pinky-finger?!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: My practical cotton pants offer full range of motion and reflect the manner of dress of the women who made me.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Great! I can put both of my legs behind my head! I always say that The Most Important Thing You Can Be Is Yourself(TM)! It’s my slogan! Be yourself! And SMILE! Your mouth is straight across! Let me take your hair out of the strange ball on the back of your head! You don’t have fingers so let me help you!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: No thank you. Please, I wear my hair this way so I can work, and the red sindoor powder along the part in my hair identifies me as a married woman.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: It will just take a second! With Barbie Total Hair(TM) Color It!(TM) tools, we’ll make you pretty!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: Please, leave me alone.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Oh, look! Here comes Zinzie(TM) and the Flutterpixies to sprinkle glitter on us!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I think I have to go.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: Wait! Don’t go, Fair Trade Doll! Zinzie(TM) is a prankster but she’s so sweet and will take us to the Merbabies(TM)!

FAIR TRADE DOLL: I don’t know what you are talking about. Goodbye.

MARIPOSA BARBIE: No! Fair Trade Doll! Don’t go into Cooper’s dog bed! It may look like a nice place to you, but it’s not! It’s really not! Look out Fair Trade Doll! Here comes Cooper! Oh my! Cooper! Come back with Fair Trade Doll!! She looks like your Flip-Flop Yankers Piggie, but she’s not!! You thought that about Language Littles Chinese Ling and African Waldorf Doll and then spit them both out in the back yard, remember?!! Fair Trade Doll! It was so nice to meet you! Good luck!!!