March 12, 2005

I wonder if I could be placed in a medically induced coma. Is that wrong? Just for a few days. I'd wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Maybe lose a few pounds. The dark circles would be gone, and it would be a break from worrying.

Maybe a few days isn't enough. Now I think about it, I wouldn't mind being comatose for the month of December. Every year. I could avoid all the holidays, then on New Year's Day I'd wake up and ask if anything new had happened while I'd been out. Had anyone written my novel for me? Did my apartment clean itself? Was my neighbour evicted? Was 52 the new 32? No? Okay, put me down for another month.

It would be a good way to save money too. It's impossible to get through a single day without a trip to the cash machine, but in a coma I could stick to a budget. I wouldn't be using my mobile phone and what I'd save on groceries and shoes I'd put towards medical procedures. I could have them all done at once - my fillings replaced, my eyes lasered. I'd wake up with an absence of tooth decay and 20/20 vision.

But I'd need to be groomed. My friend Liza would have to get someone to come in and tweeze my eyebrows, give me a mani/pedi, and maybe some highlights. I'm far too impatient to sit for an hour at the hair salon, but in a coma there's nothing but time.

The problem is, I'd probably want to keep going. Fifty years in a coma doesn't sound so bad to me. I'd wake up just in time to die. The ideal time to be in a medically induced coma is when waiting to hear back about something. For instance, let's say my novel has been sent to the publishers. That's a time when I'll be filled with anxiety and unable to focus on anything else. So my instructions would be: wake me up when there's a book deal.

Another good time for a coma: right after getting dumped. People say that time heals all wounds. Well, time passes when you're unconscious, so why not fast-forward to six months later, fully healed. But this is all wishful thinking. Maybe I should just go out on a date with a Scientologist - it's as close to a coma as I'm likely to get.

The other day I called my doctor. He told me a coma is only induced when a patient is in dire circumstances. "Define dire," I said. "When the brain needs to rest," he replied. Perfect. I told him my brain needed a rest.

There was a long silence. Then he hung up.

Obviously, the best part of being in a coma has got to be waking up. When you open your eyes, you're surrounded by friends and family who are all crying tears of joy at your recovery. But if I was in a coma, who would hold a vigil at my bedside? Thinking about this, I could feel myself getting depressed. I don't want to wake up from a coma alone. I could see myself shouting: "Hello? I'm out of my coma now? Anyone there?"