Dads say the darndest things
Multiple sclerosis took away my dad’s ability to walk. It also snatched the option of living out his golden years on his beloved, 106-acre centennial farm. But MS has not robbed my 77-year-old stepfather of his mind-blowing quick wit, curiosity, friskiness or love of life. He’s been away from home for nearly six years now. Sure he sometimes mentions how much he’d like to go back to the farm or drive his car. But he’s not the least bit bitter. Dad calls his Assisted Living Facility the “next best thing to home.” I’m exhilarated and inspired by his graceful acceptance of what he cannot change.
Since my retirement, I drive the 100-mile round trip to see my dad three days a week. At first I did it to make him more comfortable and happy. Now it’s equal parts for him and me. What a gift, at my age, to finally know a father’s love! I hope his positivity and spirit can magically mix into my DNA at this late date. I’m a natural introvert, but when I’m there I’m outgoing and welcome dad’s chums to our discussions and games, and into my heart.
Last year I wrote two columns to share some of my dad’s and a few of his pals’ funny take on things. Pops continues to come up with new material, so I started jotting his gems down in a journal I call “Popisms.” Here are some of my favorites:
“Hey, I just heard El Cheapo got arrested. They finally caught that cheap bastard.”
“I can’t see Donald Trump as our President. He’s too much of a show off.”
“I’d vote for a dead cowboy before I’d vote for Trump.”
“Donald Trump is a dumbass. He won’t win because there aren’t enough dumbasses in this country who would vote for him.”
For some reason, my dad is fascinated with Saudi Arabia. Anytime I’m away on vacation he tells the staff that’s where I am. If you question where something is made, he always answers with Saudi Arabia. I bought him a beautiful, lighted globe he keeps on 24/7 and it’s always turned to the Middle East. One day I was shocked to see it flipped to the other side of the world. When I asked him how it happened, Pops said, “Hillary came in here last night and said she wants me to focus on South America.” Why SOUTH America?
Poop and Pooping
“I’m constipated. Hopefully for supper we’ll have beans on bean toast. And cabbage royale for dessert.
“To sh*t or not to sh*t, that is the question.”
Pops: “You know what Russians call a turd?”
Me: “I have no idea.”
Pops: “A small piece of sh*t about three inches long.”
One day Pops answered the phone on half a ring. “Sorry it took me so long to answer,” he said. “I was on the first floor and had to run up all these stairs. Lula (a resident and friend) is in the downstairs bedroom and she is now, what you might say, unhorny.” Dad is in a wheelchair and lives in a single-story building. AND he made up this whole story in just half a ring!
After removing the cellophane wrapper off a lifesaver mint he handed it to me and said, “Here give this to a midget and tell him he can use it as a condom.”
“They moved my shower day from Thursday to Wednesday,” said Pops. “I think it’s because of some of the girls’ periods.”
A beautiful blonde nursing assistant walked out into the courtyard to give a resident her meds. Pops pointed her out to me and said, “She looks like a young Marilyn Monroe.” I agreed. Then when it was time for us to go in I pushed his wheelchair towards the door and we passed one of the older residents with dyed hair and dementia. Pops said under his breath, “. . . and there’s old Marilyn.”
I have no idea why, but Pops often cautions me about picking up hitchhikers. “It doesn’t matter if they are black or white,” Pops warns. “They’re up to no good. Even if it was Frank Sinatra, you shouldn’t pick him up.”
Pops: “Because he’s dead. And don’t pick up Lee Harvey Oswald either.”
Pops: “I need some crack.”
Me: “You don’t even know what crack is.”
Pops: “CRACK COCAINE. DOPE!”
Me: “Why in the world do you want drugs?”
Pops: “I need more energy.”
Me: “I don’t think you’re gonna score any crack around here.”
Pops: “I’ll just ask my girlfriend, Crystal Meth. She’ll get me some.”
A young woman in her 30s, who has Huntington’s disease, is a fellow resident and good friend of Pops’. We were talking about her one day and I said, “Isn’t it sad? She has such severe swallowing issues she has to have all her food pureed. She can’t even have a cookie.” Pops said, “Last night I chewed up a cookie for her and spit it into her mouth.”
During a card game with some of dad’s fellow residents (Marna and Ed) Ed was singing a made-up song and used the word “Bimbo”.
Me: “Are you calling me a Bimbo, Ed?”
Ed (giggling): “No.”
Me: “Do you know what a Bimbo is?”
Ed (still giggling): “No.”
Pops: “A Bimbo is a gal about town.”
Marna: “I thought you were going to have a one-word answer.”
Pops: “Well if you insist . . . WHORE!”
Marna (laughing): “No the word I was thinking was prostitute.”
Pops has a beautiful view of the courtyard. Every spring I hang a basket of flowers, wind chimes and a hummingbird feeder outside his window. We noticed the hummingbird juice hadn’t budged in weeks. Pops said, “I wonder if we’ve got some diabetic birds this year.”
Pops’ next door neighbor is a woman who decorates her bed with Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls. One day we wheeled past her room and Pops said under his breath, “That lady has mice in her bed.”
An entertainer was there performing songs from the 1960s. When the musician finished singing “Eight Days a Week,” Pops turned to me and said, “That sounded better when the Beatles sang it.”
I know I’m not the first to share saucy paternal banter. Comedy writer, Justin Halpern famously tweeted and then wrote the book “Sh*t My Dad Says.” CBS even developed a short lived comedy series based on it. I’m not comparing myself to the author of a New York Times bestseller. But I do have to say for my Pops to find humor in his situation makes him the best of the best.
And because I had no dad between the ages of 3 and 18, I would belatedly like to take a stab at a schoolyard taunt. “Hey Justin, my dad’s funnier than your dad.”