Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grumpy old men

Madpole has missed his calling. This is some damn funny stuff. They are braver than me. I didn't even try.

I went to visit Grumpy on the Fourth fully expecting to get him outside for a smoke break. After all, who would deny a sick man his request? I walked out of America and into the Holmes internment camp about two in the afternoon.
Not having my reading glasses on, I found the large signs directing visitors to parking refreshing. It was only when I got to the visitor's desk and told that Grumpy was in another builing a third of a mile away, that I learned there must be fine print on the signs. "You can go back and drive around'" the lady said but I declined. I tried to shed some humor on my lack of navigational ports, "gas being equal to college tuition these days"... when she abruptly pointed to a double door, "through the doors and follow the sign to the best of your capabilities," she said with no emotion. I figured she has met my kind of lost soul before and jokes were no longer funny. So I began my trek into the unknown.
I had only gone a few feet when I realized I forgot my belt and my shorts forgot their purpose and began to slide down my waste. For added comfort, the shorts stressed the zipper to the point of coming undone. No sooner had I placed my load of Grumpy reading materiel down and pulled my pants up then the downward slide resumed. My thoughts went to all those times I made light of today's youth and the expose' of the looming fruits. "Not so comfortable, huh funny-man." Using a free digit, I grabbed hold of a belt strap and away I went, and so did the zippers descension, fortunately, the crowd in the halls were sparse.
Upon arriving at the elevators I heard a dial tone followed by a disconnect and ringing coming from "somewhere" as I boarded the lift. As the box ascended a man's voice spoke from a small grate asking about my welfare. "Are you talking to me?' I aked. "yessir came the reply"," Are you okay?' I told the entity that I had not pushed any emergency phone button and I didn't know why the phone was calling him, " it was ringing when I got on the elevator," I explained. "Yes, but are you okay?' the voice said angrily. " I am just visiting someone and do not require any assistance." The voice began a tutorial of sorts but the doors opened and I exited the class lecture and, holding up my pants, I waddled down a maze of door-ways filled with ghastly sites.
Each room had a different patient, but all shared the same look. Ashened faces contorted in painful grimaces. No one looked to see the passer-bys as if to avoid the one visitor that would be carrying a sythe. I found Grumpy's room directly across from the nurses station and received my first inkling that the smoking mission would be more difficult then early reconnaisance had led me to believe. My phone conversation with Grumpy painted a picture of non-chalance, while the direct observation told me that German Shepherds and barbed-wire might be allowed in this place!
I quickly forgot all the zippers and glaring eyes when I saw Grumpy. He actually bounced on the bed like a child who just learned school was closed for snow! His eyes grew large and his hand shot out to greet me, his shake was a littlke too vigorous I thought but quickly dismissed his exuberance as a chance to break up some boredom.
I was eager to begin the mission, but Grumpy began to talk of the reason for his stay and the horror of his condition hardened me to the seriousness my visit. The briefing was only interrupted when Grumpy would sink his chin into his chest and glance sideways out into the hall as if he was expecting the Gestapo to step through doorway at any moment, Satisfied the coast was clear, his voice would rise again and he continued. I thought perhaps there was someone in particular that he was on the look-out for so I finally began describing passer-bys, as I had a better vantage point. " Does she have long black hair?' He would ask. Negative, sir, and Grump would frump and resume the briefing. When alas the target came into view, Grumpy once again began his little bouncing on the bed.
Nurse Anna was a comely lass somewhere just past her youth but still a fetching site. This will be easy, I thought as Grumpy began his plea. He smiled broadly and in a low melodic voice, that I am sure was used to sway girls of his past, began his appeal. My mind began to wonder back to re-runs of Hogan's Heroes and the ease in which Bob Crane manipulated Schultz when the trance was shattered with an abrupt, "YOU are not getting off this floor." Her voice was sweet but her words were flat and matter of fact. I looked at Grumpy and his smile had gone sheepish! His voice trailed off but I could read his lips, " I went the otherday..." "YOU are not getting out of this room" Anna maintained. He began the who's paying the bills defense but ran smack into another wall. He tried several tacts but each was met with the same line delivered in the exact same maner and tone, " YOU are not getting out of this room." Grumpy finally must have reached his last plea because he looked to me and muttered something about the old days and respecting elders. I took this as my cue to enter the fray.
Grabbing my waist-ban, I rose to give this young whipper snapper a taste of my Leo Gorcey pseudo-intellectual double speak so famous for disarming the coldest of female hearts. I smiled and began to speak when Anna cut me off, "where is your gown?' Visions of me in an lavender evening dress and unshaved legs entered my mind for a moment when she held up a yellow frock for me to step towards her and into. I got but a step when she spoke more loudly, "Where are your gloves!" Huh? What? I... "Wash your hands", she shouted and I could hear Grumpy starting to laugh. I could no longer tolerate thie beravement and began to protest ever so lightly as to regain command of the conversation. While scrubbing, I began to formulate a new tact and Anna began to read the riot act to Grumpy about the medications and rules while she tapped her nails on a posted sign on the door where I assumed the orders were. How did I miss that?, I wondered as I stepped into the gown. I turned to have her tie the back only to have Anna push me towards a box of surgical gloves. "What size are you, a small or medium," she demanded. I muttered inaudilbly that I used extra large in Chemistry class and she shoved two mediums down on my mits only as far as the first knuckle. Anna than shoved me towards my prior seating area and I sat as quickly as possible to keep my pants and gown from falling to the floor. There, with my floppy hands and broken spirit, I sat, effectively neutralized. The mission was becoming unraveled faster than my zipper. Grumpy tried a few more minor feints but each time Anna only repeated her facts, " YOU are not getting out of this room."
I did manage to get her to smile when I offered to sign for him, but the grin disppeared along with Anna, out the door and down the hall. A nurse Wendy appeared just then to check I.V's and she was far less hospitable, to the point of rudeness. Wendy began to lecture Grumpy on his life-style choices and his grin was replaced by a cold, hard glare. Gone, was his sheepish grin and our mission.
After Wendy left, the two aging warriors began to tell stories. Grumpy related a tale of surviving a home invasion and I unfolded the time when I started a riot at a Puerto-Rican festival. Our testicles firmly re-attached, I bade farewell to my friend and grabbed my belt loop and made for home with promises of a second attempt...someday. I miss Grumpy, I only wish I could stay. He needs me, he is vastly out-numbered behing enemy lines. But I went home and caught some sort of chest-cold with fever. I wonder if Anna had laced my gloves.


  1. It's always funny till someone loses an eye.
    I wish to thank Fishy-gal for posting this and Women everywhere for keeping we men humble.
    I am praying for Grumpy, keep bouncing pal!

  2. Grumpy. I'm going to try and get in to see you tomorrow. We can chew some Skol and spit out the window. Give me a call if you can. Let me know if you want something.

    Will bring plenty of pizza for you me and your jailors.

  3. Nurse nightingale and nurse nightmare...they may be gruff but important. Glad Mad did not lose his pants in the hospital!

  4. Oh, that was hilarious!
    Just a suggestion ... if you try again, you need to figure out WHERE the designated smoking area is ... at Vanderbilt, it's on the other SIDE of the campus (1/2 mile away). And if you're going to dip, use the bedpan for a spit cup ... it will all blend in :-) If all else fails, try chewing the nicotine patches. (Just kidding - I'm a former smoker, and I know it's hard to quit, but it can be done)

    We miss ya very much Grumpy, and you are in my prayers for a swift recovery.

  5. The ghost of Will Rogers lives on in Moos & Madpole. Next time tell her you want to visit the nursery viewing area. Most ladies have a soft spot for babies. Many will also accept cash or a major credit card.

  6. Torimom - Are you another Tennessean?

  7. I wonder if they found his two Pall Malls?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.