305X: Man Uses PC to Compensate for Memory Loss – Ultimately Both Die in Suicide Pact

I read a short story in the late 1970’s or early 80’s. I think it was in a collection of award winners – maybe science fiction, and may have come from Scholastic or similar program. It is not Living Will.

A man is faced with progressive memory loss (Alzheimer’s?). He programs a personal computer to help him cope with his declining mental condition and keep up appearances of normality so that he can continue to live independently.

All scenes take place in the room the computer is in and are from its perspective. It talks the man through getting dressed and ready each day, then waits for him to return home and pieces together his day based on the contents of his pockets.

It monitors the progression of his deterioration and eventually concludes he is no longer able to function safely on his own. It initiates a euthanasia protocol per its programming and then begins deleting its files – apparently because its only purpose was to take care of the man and he is gone.

I remember it as not so much a science fiction story, but a tragic love story.

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