from whence i came
by, October 11th, 2009 at 06:26 PM (631 Views)
the call came as i was getting ready for work. didnt recognize the number. called it back. "St. Anthony's hospital, may i help you?".
great. its a crapshoot really, either mom, dad, or step dad. and they went to the shittiest hospital around. they may as well bleed to death on the street. oh well, old habits die hard.
it was dad. "hey babe, im pissin blood". i begin to mentally re-arrange my morning schedule. he is fine. i mean in the big scheme of things. it could be worse. he has smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day since before korea, so really, this is good news.
he doesnt want me to come visit. he wants his car keys. "but dad, you are in the hospital and your car is at your house." it doesnt matter. he wants them.
"oh, and the house is unlocked and jim left me those goddamn guns . you gotta make sure no shitass kid comes by and caps himself on accident." where are they, dad? "in the pantry. in a plastic grocery bag." are they loaded? "well, not exactly."
it continues and my list of duties doesnt stop til i am also buying him 2 pillows and a meat thermometer for his chicken pot pies. man cant even piss and he is worried about his pot pies.
my dad is sad. and lonely. and crabbier than hell. and all of his friends who he didnt like in the first place are dead. the real problem is that i cant fix that. and he cant be bothered. "im disgusted by myself. i would just as soon look at a pile of spit on the floor than clean it. in fact, i would probably spit on top of it if i could care that much to do it."
he needs friends. like a playgroup. but i dont even know where to begin. he is like the fonz. how the hell do you find a playgroup for a 75 year old fonz? in suburban middle america? it aint happenin. he hates those guys. he hates talking politics, unless you truly dont have party affiliation - because he is cynical of the whole lot of them. and rightfully so. he trusts no one. he is irish, but all of his friends were "connected". he certainly didnt trust them. he saw how local politicing was done. down at the diner. everyday for 45 years. from 11am to 2pm. with his buddies.
he grew up an orphan. his mom died when he was three and her family made a donation to the nuns so they would watch him. he was the kid who didnt go downstairs on prospective-parent day. he talks of chewing road tar and pretending it was bubblegum. he sucked at school and they finally didnt care if he went anymore when he was 13.
one thing he could do was play soccer. he played it well and he played it often. by the time he was 10, the nuns were farming him out as a ringer. a coach of a suburban parish would come by and pick him up. he would play in their game. and then he would get to eat dinner with them and sleep on someone's floor so it he was "officially" in the parish on the day of the game. they were just lookin out for the underprivileged. the problem was, he wasnt stupid. he got it. not really wanted except for his footwork. its easy to get around the system if you are connected. he is too poor and too unwanted to be connected.
he begins his life as a hanger-on. a cool as shit one with a great command of language, even if he is not sure of the words. "babe, dont take this the wrong way, but i really dont understand most of what you are saying". his favorite author is aleksandr solzhenitsyn. im not even sure how he even found out about him. but he has read every book.
everyone wants to be his friend. even if he will just sit there with a cigarette and a cup of coffee and not talk to you or look atcha. he soaks it all up like a sponge. and silently passes judgement. or sometimes not so silently. his favorite phrase when he has heard enough? a contemptable groan, hands flung up in the air, and "oh, your bucket sucks orange juice". then the sound of the lighter as he sucks another one down.