Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You know what? On 24, I guessed in advance that Gredenko was going to cut his own arm off. Saw that one coming.

I had a great conversation with my pop on Monday night. He's a good-natured person, but he grew up with a brother several years older who liked to fight, so dad learned early how to fight. Anyway, along the way, I suppose people would hear dad was tough and would set out to try to best him-- always a very foolish inclination.

This isn't a story about a fight, but it's just as good as. Dad was working on cars in the service department at Schilling Motors on Union Avenue in Memphis, and this was probably late 60s/early 70s. Dad and some other service guys would routinely take a customer car and test drive it when they were going out to get lunch.

One day, this guy showed up at the service counter and was infuriated that his car was out being driven on a joy ride. In a purple-faced rage, the customer told the guy behind the service desk that when they came back with his car, he was going to kick the ass of the person driving the car. The service guy told the customer that he had a pretty good idea of who was driving the car, and he advised the customer to go down to the zoo and find the biggest gorilla they had and then bite a chunk out of its ass, and he'd have a better chance of coming out on top with the gorilla than he would with the guy who was driving his car.

Dad pulled up driving the car, and the customer scowled and fumed, but wisely kept his trap shut.

Dad's got a million of 'em. We laughed and laughed.

We also talked about people (ok, MEN) who clamp down on your hand with a death-like kung-fu grip when you shake hands -- what's up with that? I mean, I'm a 5'2" female and I've had men do that to me. I just don't get it - it's not like it's some big news-flash that a grown man can out-grip me, so why hurt my hand? There was a big, older guy at church who seemed eternally in bad health, but he would squeeze the shit out of your hand when he shook it. One person had just had surgery on his hand, and the clamper grabbed onto his paw and re-injured it. Then he reached over to put the clutch on dad's hand, but got a rude awakening. I'll bet a little pee ran down his leg. I'm just guessing. The following week dad reached out to shake his hand, and the clamper pulled his hand back, lesson learned.

It's been a wild week for my kinfolks in Arkansas recently. My grandpa's youngest brother had a catastrophic injury in a car wreck last week, and though he seems to be pulling through, he's lost the use of his legs. He isn't that old - 76 - and he's always been an incredibly vigorous and active person. I'm glad he and his wife survived the wreck, but I feel badly for what he'll have to go through to recuperate.

My grandpa is not coping well with the limitations of life in 90-something lane. My uncle was up there this weekend and grandpa was festering to get out and do some bush hogging, but the bush hog needed repair. Grandpa wasn't satisfied with how Uncle was performing tasks, so grandpa got all steamed and climbed into his pickup truck and drove off into the woods, hitting trees head-on and knocking off both side-mirrors. His doo-doo-hissy resulted in wrathful tearing around the woods on the tractor, 4-wheeler and the truck. Finally, he ran the tractor into the truck, further damaging this barely-held-together old jalopy. The end of the wild escapade came when grandpa got the truck running again and ensconced it snugly into a lake of mud. Uncle had to wade shin-deep into the mud pit and carry Grandpa out. It's a wonder he didn't shuffle off this mortal coil during one of his head-ons with a the trees on property.

All the vehicles were pulled from mud and peril by the huge tractor from a neighboring farm. Though I feel for him, I'm of the mind that all grandpa's vehicles should probably be disabled. I can imagine what impotent rage one must feel when independence is a thing of the past. I mean, will Niece and Nephew have the patience to be kind to old Aunt Phlegm when I'm trying to sneak the car out like a teenager? It's a tough issue, and folks in my family are known for stubbornness. Heck, maybe grandpa should just have a last big hoo-rah out bush hogging and just do himself in. Still, you hate to let a loved one hurt himself. All I know is, if at 91 I want to go out and find a karaoke place to sing The Stroke by Billy Squier, get ripped on tequila and dance on tables with my spurs on, well, they'd better let me, because I'll just be impossible to live with, otherwise. You have been warned.


J.R.Shirley said...

I remember how difficult getting into the 90s was for my grandpa. It's hard when you're a rock of a man, hale and hearty- and then, you start to lose that immensity, that strength. How tragic. I'm sorry.

G Bro said...

Well, you are back in fine form! You must have been eating you're wheaties (and not getting up at 6 AM on weekends. If you mention "The Stroke" one more time, I'm going to drive to Dallas and smack you!

phlegmfatale said...

jrshirley - yeah, it's tough, but with my grandpa the whole chestnut is compounded by the fact that he's always been catered to by everyone in the family, so not getting his way and having everything done just so is hard for him to swallow. And thanks, I know it's something almost every family goes through at one time or another, and I know it's most frustrating of all to the person experiencing it.

g bro - Am I? Honestly, I've felt my blog was blah all year long. I can't help it but lately I've been thinking of Billy Squier just about every day - am I obsessed?

HollyB said...

It must be terrible to face losing your independence permenantly. I know when I've been temporarily laid low b/c of surgery or injury it was an awful feeling. I think that's why I've gottne back on the fitness wagon. i want to remain active as long as I can.
And when you're ready to sig Karaoke, and drink tequila...don't forget to invite your Lavender haired friend along. I wanna sing, too. Even if I have to drag my Oxygen tank along w/ me.

:P fuzzbox said...

I think the Kung-Fu Grip GI Joe had a detrimental effect on some folks hand shake abilities.

Tickersoid said...

Hell yes! When you're old what have you got to loose.

LJ said...

You are the strangest...
How did you end up singing Opera & wearing Prada and erecting very original and avante-garde christmas trees and have all this wild down-home background? I think you have your own demographic, Phelgmy. And hell, can we all swim in your genetic pool, please? Your grandfather is not coping well with "life in the 90-something lane?" Jeez Louise, why not?
You astonish me. In a good way.