An Old Joke
When Stan was in his seventies and still playing tennis twice a week, he would sometimes see old people slumped in their wheelchairs and tell his son Rob: "If I ever get like that, promise me you'll push the wheelchair over a cliff."
"Okay," Rob would say, "I promise."
They would share a grim smile and then move on to tennis or good wine or another far more pleasant subject.
Now, Stan was ninety-three, and he slumped badly in his wheelchair, needed diapers, and could barely follow the tennis he sometimes watched on TV. The wheelchair-over-a-cliff joke had stopped being funny years ago. But now Rob thought about it often - much more often than he wanted to - and he wondered if his father ever thought about it too.