A couple years ago, about this time of the season, a very nice house started going up on a semi-busy street in Saratoga. It looked to be a really nice place, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they would build it where they did. It had a gorgeous porch, beautiful grounds and even a separate three-car garage, but it was right on top of the road. Cars would be driving by it non-stop, and there would be absolutely no peace and quiet. I watched it go up over a period of weeks. When it was done, there was a final addition -- a sign outside that read: Mary's Haven - Home for the Dying.
My first reaction was "Ewww. That's kind of a strange thing to advertise." After I saw the sign, however, I knew why they weren't really concerned about traffic noises. The people who live there don't have to bitch about it for too long before it's not a problem for them anymore.
Turns out this place provides Hospice care for people without a primary care-giver. Basically, people go there instead of hospice services coming to you. It's a place where the staff chooses people who have the "greatest need and the fewest options." They only have two rooms, which are generally always full. They provide a great, very-much needed service, and I applaud the people who run it and the many volunteers that make it work as well as it does. God willing, none of us will ever live long enough to be forced to take advantage of a place like this, but if we do, it might not be the worst place in the world to spend your final days.
That being said, the sign still strikes me funny. Yeah, I know, I find humor in really strange things. "But death isn't funny," you say. Well, *I* say you're wrong. My way of dealing with things I fear is to laugh at them. That practice doesn't really work out all that well if you're about to get your head shoved up your ass by an angry biker in some sleazy bar, but when it comes to death and dying as abstract concepts, it works just fine, thank you very much.
Anyway, think about it -- How much would it suck for your mailing address to be:
Home for the Dying
1313 Mockingbird Lane,
Saratoga, NY 12856
Talk about awkward. Say for instance you walk into Best buy to pick out a new 60 gig iPod.
"Home for the Dying, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Saratoga, NY"
[Long pause] "Yeah...you might want to to think about picking up this 10 gigger instead. It only holds like 14 days worth of tunes, but it's a lot cheaper because it's been discontinued. And for only $39.95, I can offer you a lifetime replacement warran.......uh, I'll just put that in a bag for you."
There would be other issues as well. Good luck getting a credit card or a bank loan with that address. And I'm pretty sure your chances of actually getting a call girl of any caliber to come out to your place for a quickie on a Friday afternoon would be pretty slim.
On the plus side, you probably won't have any insurance agents calling you, so there's that.
All humor aside, when you're considering making a charitable donation, think about Hospice organizations. They do good work.