A Brush With (Dr.) Death

I have never been to California.  I have also never been to New York City.  Here in the midwest, celebrity sightings are not commonplace.  I did kiss John Stamos once on the cheek when I was about thirteen and he was making an appearance at my local mall.  I am friends with a woman whose husband was a professional baseball player, and he has a World Series trophy in their home office.  I am distantly related to Daniel Boone.  That is the extent of my experience with all things celebrity.

Last night I met my friend SWC (she has a blog but has gone private…some of you may know her) for dinner and a walk around town.  We ate really yummy Mexican food, got some Caribou coffee, and were wandering around a bit downtown when we noticed a cute little old man walking toward us.  S said, “Look at that cute, cozy old man over there.”  I agreed…he was a cute little old man in his cardigan sweater and hat.  It was only then that S recognized him, and I realized she was right.  That cute, cozy old man was Dr. Jack Kevorkian.  Otherwise known as Dr. Death. 

S stopped him and confirmed his identity.  We asked for an autograph, but apparently his lawyer won’t let him sign autographs.  But he does do pictures, so I took my friend’s picture with Dr. K.  He asked if we were registered voters.  He said it was a pleasure to meet us.  He shook our hands and smiled.  (By the way, he had the softest hands I think I’ve ever shaken!)  He was a very sweet, cute old man.

Now, I’ve never supported assisted suicide.  I don’t, at any point, think that a person can be “useless”, and I believe in being strong and staying strong in the face of whatever life throws at you.  Please don’t think I’m cold and heartless.  I have read testimonies of those who wanted Dr. K’s assistance to take control of their own fates and die on their own terms.  I understand that those individuals were in extreme pain and misery, and were only hastening the inevitable.  And I feel for them, I really really do. 

In fact, I’m able to see the other side of this issue.  I can truly see why Dr. K felt he was doing the right thing.  I can see why those poor people felt the need to end their suffering in their own way, in their own time.   And despite the controversy, despite the prison sentence, despite it all, I think that Dr. K really did have good intentions, and really did feel he was helping people.  I don’t think he’s evil.  I just disagree with him.

It was very surreal, meeting this man in person after the reports I’ve heard about him in the media.  I’ve read and heard about the hunger strikes, the controversy, the names he’s been called, his crazy and adamant lawyer.  I watched the news on the day he got out of prison, and have heard that he’s running for office.  I know the stories.

And yet, last night, he was just a cute, cozy old man in a light blue cardigan.  He was just walking around downtown enjoying the beautiful weather, like S and I were.   And I have the picture to prove it. 




  1. Alison said,

    June 23, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I don’t think he’s evil, either. I truly believe he was doing what he felt was right and he was trying to alleviate their pain.
    Like you, though, I don’t agree with it. Although, as I just wrote that a ton of thoughts came into my head and I really don’t want to hijack the comments so we’ll leave it at that!

    Pretty cool you got to meet him and I can’t wait to see the pic!

  2. LaskiGal said,

    June 24, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Being Armenian, my dad has known Mr. K for years. Crazy!?! He had very similar thoughts about him that you did. He said that the last word that would ever come to mind upon meeting him would be EVIL.

    I’ll be in soon . . .

  3. June 24, 2008 at 2:35 am

    What an interesting experience. I lean more toward Dr. Krekorian’s side; I’ve been a witness to several people dying very painful deaths–I don’t know how they would have coped if they would not have gone when they did. But there is a lot to think about on this issue.

  4. dragonfly said,

    June 24, 2008 at 3:41 am

    I just think it’s sad when people want to give up, you know? But I can see that side of it too. It’s not exactly the same thing, but I have repeatedly told my husband that I never never never want to be kept alive by machines. Because that just doesn’t seem like life to me.

  5. Lunanik said,

    June 24, 2008 at 8:35 am

    THAT is probably the best story of a celebrity sighting ever! Anyone can venture off into Hollywood and see movie stars running around with latte’s and little dogs, but how many can honestly say they’ve met Dr. Death??

  6. SWC said,

    June 24, 2008 at 9:19 am

    LOL! I love it. He was so adorable and he just loved being in the limelight, didn’t he? I happen to be a person who agrees with him. I’ve seen far too many people at the end of their lives and losing their dignity. But I also understand why people don’t like what he has done. But then, as you know, I am ULTRA liberal. And I love that you love me for who I am in spite of the fact that we do not see eye to eye on a lot of issues…but it’s all about realizing that most people, the majority, really are good people. We’re all just different. And that makes life interesting.

    I had a GREAT time with you on Sunday. It was much needed. It was nice to have a 2-sided conversation. It was nice to feel like I have a real friend who cares deeply about me. Loneliness melts away, huh? It’s so cool to have you back, sister! And I want you to stick around this time. (I promise I will) XO

  7. SWC said,

    June 24, 2008 at 9:20 am

    P.S. – I will send you the pic.

  8. Latte Mommy said,

    June 24, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I can’t believe you met him! I’m anxious to see the photo.

    I know this post was not intended to stir up a conversation about assisted suicide, but I just have to say that I don’t share your opposition to it. This man is someone I’ve always admired, particularly for his courage to stand firm for what he believes in. I hope he runs for office and wins.

  9. Sarea said,

    June 24, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I am so bummed that I couldn’t be having coffee and walking around the city with you two! I am hoping to make it to the reunion at MCS, so I am sure I will get to see you both there!

    I flip back and forth on this issue, however, I NEVER thought that Dr. K. was evil in any way. . .I don’t believe in giving up, but I have never been in that much pain without any hope either . . .

  10. ohmommy said,

    June 24, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    That is one great celebrity citing my friend. great pic to prove it!

  11. April said,

    June 25, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Awesome celeb sighting! And I do agree with Dr. K. There are some deaths that are just too inhumane for me. And I can think of several for which I would rather check out than wait for “nature” to take its course. Sometimes, nature is too cruel for me.

  12. June 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I have weird chills about that, tho I agree somewhat with what he does. Still weird!

  13. June 25, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    He does just look like a sweet old man.

  14. David said,

    June 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Wow! It is indeed the man. It is quite a controversy in Canada right now where a father could not stand to see his daughter in so much pain with her debilitating disease, helped end her life. He is serving time in prison.
    I struggle with both sides. It is not black nor white.

  15. June 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Meeting Dr. Death and yet NOT meeting dr. death. Nice. You got lucky. Crazy celebrity sighting. Love the pic!

  16. June 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I never thought him evil. Great capture.

  17. Isabel said,

    June 27, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Oh my gosh, I can’t belive you met him, We (at work) were just talking about him and thot he died. But apprently he had just faded into life.

    So interesting.

    The Queen

  18. Ruth said,

    July 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Huh! What a neat experience!

  19. Jaina said,

    July 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    His sweater reminds me of Mr. Rogers.

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