My father — aged 68, active and in good health — has become increasingly obsessed with deciding who will get which of his belongings when he passes. Almost every conversation now consists of some form of “Do you think your cousin Joey would like my antique fishing lure collection?” I’m glad he’s thinking ahead and putting his affairs in order, but it has been months since we’ve been able to talk about normal things, and I feel like he’s missing out on living in the present. I finally had to tell Dad to stop asking my young kids which of his childhood toys they would like when he dies because it was freaking them out. They no longer want to go over there because they’re terrified he’s going to keel over in front of them. How do I get him to stop this?
From Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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It’s good that your father is desiring to leave his possessions to specific loved ones. But if he continues his morbid irritating habit, raise the creepiness level up to a point that will make him very uncomfortable discussing his expiration date. Here are some suggestions. When he’s in a car with you, drive past a hospice, and tell him you can hardly wait until he is a resident there. Or start putting price tags on all of his possession, including stapling one to his dentures while they’re still in his mouth, as he’s taking an afternoon nap. Tell your kids to regularly say to him, “l love your childhood toys grandpa, so how much longer do we have to wait before you croak?” And finally, let him see you constantly watching movies on tv of greedy family members, murdering other family members, while you intensely stare at him during the commercials. Then let him see you either waxing your wooden stairs, demanding that he only walks down them while wearing socks. If the stairs are carpeted, let him see you tossing marbles on them as he is about to descend from the top. And if you’re behind him as he’s carefully walking down, don’t be shy about giving him a “nudge”. You will get a lot of views if you film it and put it on Youtube. But I would suggest you remove it before homicide detectives and the district attorney gets a behind closed doors chuckle… and then seek the death penalty. I hope this helps.