Renaissance Column

JANUARY 1999 | VOL. 3, NO. 1



Falling On Deaf Ears


James L. Iannone
Anthony Marciano


CRIS COHEN, is staff humor columnist for Renaissance Magazine. His work is also published weekly in three California newspapers and four online humor magazines




Dr. Kevorkian Leading the
World in


I find it interesting that Dr. Kevorkian is allowed to kill someone on television, yet in some states you're still not allowed to make a right turn on a red light.

Newscaster: In an apparent mix-up at the court house today a jaywalker was sentenced to death while a murderer was given ten hours of community service.

Apparently authorities have determined that doctor-assisted suicide is okay. And even if it wasn't, what could they do? "Boy, if he wasn't dead, he would be looking at one hell of a fine." For some reason people seem to feel a lot better about the idea that this is being done by doctors. But really, if you wanted to kill yourself, wouldn't anyone be good enough? I figure why spend all that money on a doctor when you could probably get just as good service from the guy who comes to read your meter. I guess people feel that it's better to have a professional around in case something goes wrong - suppose you accidently live. "Yeah, it looked like Al was coming to for a second. Luckily the doctor was there. I never would have thought of hitting Al with that brick."

The problem is that the word "assist" is also used a lot in the world of sports, including basketball and hockey. As a result you get a little nervous now when you hear that someone leads the league in assists. Professional sports has gotten a lot rougher over the years, so maybe it's not uncommon for a player to kill someone on his way down the floor. "There's Johnson making his way past the half court line and OOOOOH! That's definitely a foul."

Of course the real question with showing Kevorkian killing someone on TV is what commercial do you show right after that? Personally I recommend that commercial for adult diapers where they say, "Because you've got a lot of living to do." For one thing you would at least be staying on topic that way. A lot of people would probably even consider taking their own lives to avoid being in a commercial for adult diapers. Sure it's a useful product, but I just can't imagine that people who use them in real life are as happy about it as the people in the commercials. "It's a great day! Why? Because you have no control over your own excretory system!"

But getting back to the original problem, I think I have a solution. The authorities just need to declare that making a right turn on a red light is a form of suicide. That way people will be free to do it whenever they want. And when you think about it, in many instances making a right turn on a red light is a form of suicide. Every so often you see a car pull out right in front of a produce truck and you wonder if it isn't just a cry for help. Or else it's someone who has always wanted to be killed by papaya.

Of course, if they make turning right on a red light a legal form of suicide, then they should really require that it is doctor-assisted suicide. After all, Dr. Kevorkian talks on and on about how he just wants to help people and that he's not in it for the fame. Well, let's make him prove it. Let's see him out there pushing a Chrysler four door into an intersection. "Whenever you're ready Mrs. Labinski just let me know by putting on your turn signal." If nothing else it would make his trials a lot more interesting.

Attorney: Now, Doctor, if she really wanted to kill herself, then why did she leave her emergency brake on?

What made it all especially odd is that the whole television idea was pretty hypocritical. Dr. Kevorkian always talks about how he is fighting for people to die in the most humane way possible. But how humane is it when your death is shown in between commercials for things like bathroom tile cleaner. "Have you been killing yourself trying to remove soap scum?" It's bad enough that the show it was on, "60 Minutes," is followed by "Touched By An Angel." People are dying on that show all the time. How are you supposed to know when one program ends and the other begins? "Get the family together for CBS's 'Night of a Hundred Funerals.'"

It just seems kind of confusing.

"Is this that show where a bunch of Angels visit Earth?"

"Must be. They showed one of them making a right turn on a red light."

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