Sunday, June 10, 2012
Isn't this a Tom T. Hall song?
At 4:45 the other morning I awoke to such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Then noise seemed to involve wood, ceramic and metal. I was soon to discover it also included denim and whatever material constitutes a tractor supply hat. My Daddy had fallen; like a Redwood in the forest, except with more cursing and shame. This couldn’t have come at a worse time as when I awoke I realized I had been sleeping on my right arm; it was numb and I couldn’t move it. I am a typically conservative sleeper. Until my significant weight loss, I used a CPAP machine to help me breathe and had to learn to sleep (1) on my back and (2) without moving. Making my bed in the morning is not an exhaustive task. My sister has said it's slightly creepy how I don't move; like a dead person. However, for the past month or so I have been tossing and turning like Bobby Lewis. Some of you will get that joke; others will need to ask their parents.
Anyway, I rush into my Daddy’s bedroom and see him on the floor, having somehow taken the entire contents of his bookshelf full of crochet yarn and the top of his dresser except for the TV, thank goodness. When I attempted to help him up he insisted that he could get himself up and lurched away from my one good arm and proceeded to get up on one knee and summarily collapse onto the floor, emitting more curse words than a truck stop waitress who has “been done wrong” by some no-good trucker with a double name.
Trying to help him with the good arm, while flapping my other arm around to get the circulation flowing and him wiggling all over the floor threw Lulu into a state of confusion and happiness as she bounded from her doggie bed wanting to play. Have you ever tried to help lift an overweight man who is trying to fight you using your one good arm and fending off the dog? No, Dustin, just you. And while it may be funny now, it was most assuredly not funny then. Well, except maybe to Lulu. If she could talk, I can only imagine what she would say. Probably, “I’m hungry!” “Please pet me!” “Squirrel!” “You’re Awesome!” and/or “The old fat one sleeps a lot, what breed is he?” although not necessarily in that order.
I felt bad about him falling and I know that older people can break things when they do fall. He complains about aches and pains nonstop so I knew I could look forward to an uptick in the woe-is-me-ing later that night and especially the next day and the day after that. As someone who knows (somewhat) the pain of working out, I can tell you the next day is not as bad as the day after that. And although his falling and my working out are not the same, they both involve sweating and someone on the floor cursing. And they are both usually followed by someone regaling all and sundry with the specifics of the incident and detailing the aches and pains long after interest has waned and the even the memory of the pain has subsided. Full disclosure: I did kick boxing for about 5 months (from October 2009-February 2010). I still talk about it. Yes, Virginia, I see the irony.
Of course, he is still talking about the fall and the aches and pains and it’s been like a week and a half. His toe hurts, his ankle hurts, both knees hurt, his ribs/thigh/shoulder/lungs/kidney/uterus hurt. Ok, that last one I may have misunderstood, but you get my drift. This is in addition to his typical refrain of “my back, a double s and neck hurt”. When I ask if he has taken a pain pill, for which he has a prescription, he always says, “Nah. It’s not THAT bad yet.” Really? To hear him you would think his pain was mind-numbing. He has likened it to child birth. He has actually said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 25”, but in his estimation it is not enough to take a pill. Get over yourself old man.
What do you think is going to happen? Just because more than your fair share of relatives (on the Thompson side) have become pill addicts doesn’t mean you will. I am hardcore anti-drug but even I’ve started acting like the sketchy best friend in a coming of age movie saying things like, “Come on man, it’s no big deal. It’s just the one pill.” I have even resorted to just getting one out and putting it in his hand and giving him a bottle of water. No questions, no judgments. Just like one of those meetings you see on TV where you tell your name and your addiction. They don’t have one for thrift store shopping; I checked. They should have one for gossiping (or fellowshipping depending on your denomination), but those kind of meetings usually take place in church and although we’d talk about how we feel guilty talking about people, we’d end up talking about people while describing why we felt we had to and it would be sort of a breaking even situation and nobody wants that. Not even for really good chess pie. Ok, maybe for really, really good chess pie.
And although he is prone to exaggeration, I really do think he is “stove up” a little as he has turned down the last two invitations to breakfast at Jason’s, his favorite place, as well as the latest trip to Wal-Mart leaving me to navigate the waters of Little Guatemala, mano-a-nada. Como se dice, ‘Alone’? I felt like the hero in an action film who has been abandoned at the gates of the castle/den of thieves/cave, on a mission from some hard to please despot who requires things I wouldn’t normally buy like yarn, XXL underwear, Stetson cologne and denture adhesive. I can only imagine what people were thinking when they looked into my cart. I used to say buggy but that can be shamed out of you by New Englanders who call them carriages.
What? You mean you don’t look in other people’s carts, scoping out their items and using what you see to parse out their back story? No, Dustin, just you. I guess it is true what my mother always said, “Just because you’re talking about people doesn’t mean they are talking about you.”
Well said, nomadic Southern Baptist. Well said indeed.