Baby Boomers, the generation that proudly tackles taboo subjects, are now confronting the grim reaper — over food and drink. They are using websites like deathoverdinner.org/ and deathcafe.com as guides.
AARP Bulletin, Dec 2013
JUDITH: Nancy called today. She invited us to a dinner party Saturday. I said yes. Okay with you?
TED: You bet! She’s a great cook. Who else will be there?
JUDITH: The usual suspects. She’s inviting the Winstons, and Ruth and Jim, and of course Beth and Frank.
TED: I’ve been meaning to call Jim. We need to set up a golf date.
JUDITH: I’m not sure if everyone will come. She called us first.
TED: Should we feel honored?
JUDITH: She said we’re the most open-minded.
TED: She means you.
JUDITH: It won’t be our typical get together. There’s an agenda.
TED: Not a fundraiser!?
JUDITH: We’re going to talk about death.
JUDITH: We’re going to talk about dying and end of life issues. It’s the newest trend.
TED: Dying is the newest trend?
JUDITH: Nancy told me to go to Death over Dinner dot org. People get together over dinner and–
TED: Death over Dinner? You mean we’re gonna all fall face first into her Chicken Cacciatore? And aspirate marinara sauce?
JUDITH: This is serious, Ted. It’s an important topic.
TED: (laughs) Count me out.
JUDITH: Someday we’ll be doing exactly that.
TED: Not yet!
JUDITH: We need to talk about this, Ted.
JUDITH: Dying. Our demise.
TED: Not over dinner. Maybe … maybe … over a bottle of Chivas Regal.
JUDITH: Ted. We–
TED: Straight up. Neat. No chaser.
JUDITH: I’m going.
TED: Next it’ll be Cancer over Cocktails.
JUDITH: Ted. This isn’t —
TED: Or HIV Happy Hour.
TED: We could meet at a Mexican restaurant and all cash in our tortilla chips.
JUDITH: Not funny. None of us has HIV. But we’re all going to die.
TED: That’s a generalization.
JUDITH: Joke all you want. I’m going.
TED: Have fun!
JUDITH: Honey. We’re going to have to talk to the kids someday. You know. About what to do. This will help us.
TED: If you bring this up with Julia and Derek, they’ll run screaming from the room.
JUDITH: I’m sure it’s on their mind.
TED: Not on Derek’s. Guarantee it.
JUDITH: It’s important they plan for this.
TED: Plan for us to kick the bucket?
JUDITH: Not be caught unawares.
TED: Forget it. Call Nancy. Tell the Angel of Death I pass … oops! … decline.
JUDITH: At least think about it, Ted. Check out the website.
TED: What’s it called again? Choke on a Chicken Bone dot Arg?
JUDITH: Death over Dinner! … dot org.
TED: I’ve done a lot of things over dinner. But this takes the cake. (chuckles) We might not make it to the cake.
JUDITH: There’s another website. Death Café.
TED: Uh oh! Starbucks better watch its back.
JUDITH: Just take a look. What harm–
TED: No one’s gonna go. It’ll be you, Nancy, and Hank. Can’t believe Hank’s going along with this.
JUDITH: Hank’s a progressive thinker.
TED: Ain’t nothin progressive about dyin’.
JUDITH: Death is a part of life.
TED: A quiet, uneventful part.
JUDITH: I’m going.
TED: I understand, Sweetheart. You’re older than I am.
JUDITH: By two months!
TED: You’re more introspective. You’ve probably been dwelling–
JUDITH: I don’t dwell on death, Ted. I try not to think about it at all.
TED: There you go! It’s not a topic one–
JUDITH: I need to think about it. We need to think about it. In two years we both turn seventy.
TED: The new fifty.
JUDITH: I don’t want to wait till it’s too late.
TED: We’ve got sixteen more years on our clock. You probably have twenty.
JUDITH: Okay. Be an ostrich.
TED: I’d rather be a tortoise. They live longer.
JUDITH: You resemble one.
TED: Or a bowhead whale. They live to be two hundred.
JUDITH: You’re a male homo sapiens. Life expectancy seventy- six. That’s eight years away, Ted.
TED: You expect to be a widow in eight years?
JUDITH: Honey, I want you to live a long, healthy life … well, usually.
TED: Death over Dinner. I don’t think I can stomach it.
TED: Let me think about it.
JUDITH: Thanks, dear. If you do decide to go …
TED: I won’t.
JUDITH: But if you do …
TED: Yeah … ?
JUDITH: You have to take it seriously. No clowning around.
TED: I can’t wear my Zombie costume?
TED: How about that black armband from Pop-Pop’s funeral?
Peggy Dougherty is an award winning playwright/author living in San Diego. She is currently writing her first novel. Her self-help book The Ten Minute Cognitive Workout was released in November, 2013 and won the 2013 San Diego Book Award.