Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Some things never change

If it’s your dad’s 80th birthday, and you call him to wish him well and ask how he’s been, don't ask about the diabetes. If he mentions that his toes are numb, and that his quack of a doctor thinks he should see a specialist and start insulin injections, and you say, humbly, that it’s not as bad as it sounds, because you yourself were faced with just such a need. When you say that yes, it’s traumatic at first, and no, it’s not convenient and yes, it is annoying that the necessity exists, but no, it’s not that bad once you get used to it, and yes, it’s worth it if it helps preserve your health and life, don't feel snubbed if he completely ignores you. Or if he sounds surprised. Oh? You had diabetes? When did you have diabetes?
If you try to explain that one shouldn’t ignore signs like numbness in the toes, and he says you are no better than his quack of a doctor, don’t let it get you down. If you offer to take time off from work to travel 300 miles and take him to the specialist, to which he restates that they are all quacks and the bittermelon he is taking now will surely put all things back into balance, you might want to let the conversation end. But if you are a fool and try to reach past the denial, because you are truly concerned, because you’ve had this conversation before, a year ago, and the toes were numb then, and dare you mention that one could lose ones toes, if the numbness goes unchecked, and God forbid, you mention the g word (gangrene), and all hell breaks loose and you are called uncharitable and malicious, just like your mother, don’t take it to heart. If he says that you say these things in the guise of concern, just like your mother, but at the core are simply wicked and malicious, just like your mother, and don’t mean well at all, just like your mother, and if he makes reference to being intellectually superficial, just like your mother, ignore it (just like your mother). If he goes on to say more admittedly bitter things, just interrupt and say Happy Birthday in a bright voice, and that you called to wish him well for his birthday. If he says “Bye” and hangs up on you, don’t cry or feel bad. Just know that, all the same, he was delighted to hear from you today. He is 80, after all.


Blogger Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

I feel your pain. My dad's a little more subtle (he's been more polite about mum since she died) but then he's only 64 and has many more years (probably) to work on ever more snarky and manipulative responses.
I've been reading your comments on Pea Soup for a while now and it strikes me that you're a match for any grumpy old man!

3:49 PM, March 07, 2006  
Blogger SueeeuS said...

Do I leave grumpy comments on Pea Soup's blog? I don't mean to!

4:29 PM, March 07, 2006  
Blogger Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

No, no! I mean your GOOD humour shines through... Heaven knows good humour is an essential weapon in resisting the grumbles of grumpy old men, yes? Yes!

3:45 AM, March 08, 2006  
Blogger Suse said...

The squished piggy is the least grumpy person I've ever known.

Oh boy, that kind of conversation would just crush me. You are amazing to remain polite in the face of that. All hail to the squished pig!

5:33 AM, March 09, 2006  

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