Thursday, December 23, 2004

Machismo is in the DNA

Perhaps a smoky casino was not the best place to bring a puking mother-to-be. Hindsight is 20/20, my friend. She made me promise to stay and play, I struggled but managed to agree, while she went back to the ‘chalet.’ For reference, if you make a reservation in Louisiana for a chalet, keep an open mind. The fancy French word can’t change the fact that it is a one bedroom trailer home parked in a large trailer park next door to a casino. Regardless, it was actually much nicer than a hotel room and was only $29.

I finished up $140 and decided to call it a night before that icy craps table beckoned to me. Good thing, too, since Julie rang me up at the ass crack of dawn to tell me my old man was in the ER back in the largest city nearest his hicktown. Foregoing our second gambling day Jazz and I made the drive back to the hospital he was in.

My old man hasn’t taken a day off since Mom died in May last year. And he rarely took time off before then. Even during the summer when we went through that shit with his cancer he worked partial days. So when he was standing about 10 feet off the ground yesterday and his ladder just slipped out from beneath him, it never occurred to him to go home for the day. He landed hard, the wrung smashing into his heel as it collapsed horizontally. The talus was shattered and his tibia/fibia shit (can’t remember what the surgeon said) was flush making that leg 2 inches shorter. So what did that motherfucker do?

He kept on working. He limped for a while until the pain became “uncomfortable” and then he crawled. He said it was the size of his head last night. He even showed up for work this morning until his boss told him he couldn’t return without a doctor’s release. That’s why the trip to the ER. Nothing was going to keep him from working. He’d get the stupid, fucking piece of paper and he’d go back to work and there was nothing that sack of shit could do about it.

Until he got the news. When I showed up an anesthesiologist was right behind me. They were prepping him for surgery until the doc showed up and said the swelling so fucking ridiculous he’d never be able to close the wound. So they sent him home and told him to elevate it for 5 days. We brought him back to his place, Julie picked up his scripts, and got him settled in. After 15 minutes his ignorant ass got up and started hopping to the kitchen.

“You better be taking a piss in the sink.”

“I’m making you two some coffee.”

Goddamn hard-headed son of a bitch. “Sit the fuck down!” I had to literally push him out of the way to make the coffee myself. A few minutes later I came back from the bathroom to find him on his motherfucking knees crawling back from the kitchen. “What now?”

“Forgot my glasses.”

I looked at Jasmine but she was too busy trying to hide her smile. About that time my old man’s cousin called. Now that was an interesting damn conversation. My old man doesn’t wear sunglasses, coats, use umbrellas, or hold a phone to his ear. It’s “girlie.” So when Cuz called he put it on hands-free and we all got to hear the conversation.

Cuz: What happened?
Dad: Hurt my foot.
Cuz: Julie says you shattered it.
Dad: Maybe.
Cuz: You went to the hospital?
Dad: Yep.
Cuz: Pussy. Did I go to the hospital when I drilled a hole through my finger?
My dad looked at us and explained that Cuz had been drilling something from beneath and the bit came up through the wood and went straight up through his finger and out the nail before he noticed.
Cuz: They put on a cast?
Dad: A splint. No cast till surgery.
Cuz: Hell, Uncle Herbert, he got some metal we could’a used. It’s all rusty, but hell, I got a wire brush.
Dad: I don’t want to be a cripple like Cyril.
I assume Cyril is a man who works at the fire department with Cuz.
Cuz: Yeah, you know how Cyril got that bad hip, huh? Well, Tommy, he was making fun of Cyril the other day. They can only replace one hip at a time, ya know, and now Cyril got one good hip and one bad hip still. Tommy said one hip walks faster than the other and so when Cyril walks he goes in circles like this and then he showed us.

There is no mercy for the weak in my family. You dead yet? No? Then get your ass up and get some work done. The sun’s already up. I gave Jazz the once over and pointed out to her, “He’s your babies’ granddaddy.” If that shit don’t scare her off, nothing will.