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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Grumpy Old Men

What do you do when two sweet little old men are about ready to duke it out? I mean, really ready to whip the shit right into each other’s depends? Screaming across the room and slowing inching their way toward each other with their walkers, they cussed and yelled back-and-forth.

The one Guy “Ali” was so angry, he was red-faced and shaking so badly, his walker rocked across the floor.

The other “The Brown Bomber” was also red-faced and trembling, but he was coming for Ali while trying to carry his walker rather than use it to help him walk. At a snail’s-pace, they inched closer, shouting obscenities all the while.

The room was packed with people because we were just getting started with an activity, making homemade butter. We gathered most of the residents who wanted to participate. Some were more excited about the thought of Ali or The Brown Bomber getting creamed.

With people egging them on they continued to slowly inch their way in each other’s direction. Several of the department heads tried talking the men off the ledge. It wasn’t until they were six or seven feet from each other, that I jumped in.

One of my little sweethearts started to cry. Their shouting and cussing was so loud by then, even though she is blind and mostly def, she knew something terrible was going to happen. Crying she begged, “Father, please stop.” Lost somewhere in time, she was very upset.

I walked over to the brawling boys, stood between their walkers, now six feet-or-so apart, held out my arms and said, “Knock it off! Look at what you are doing to Edith. You should be ashamed of yourselves!”

Taking Ali’s arm, I turned him in the opposite direction. The Brown Bomber gave me the “What the fuck?!” look as I took his sparring partner away.

Trying to calm Ali down after pulling him aside, he still was shaking. With one fist still buckled, he said, “He gets me so angry! He’s just so…so…” raising his fist to my chin, “ I just want to kill him!” Fighting to hold himself back from clocking me in the jaw, just to get it out of his system, the head administrator ran over, put one hand on my face and the other cupping his fist, she said, “You better not hit her!”

She made him snap out of it, and then he was in tears, “I’d never hit her! I love her! I love you, Lois!” He said now trying to reach around the administrator’s hand to rub my face.

“I know you would never hit me, Ali. Come on, let’s go for a walk and shake it off.”

The administrator, like many administrators, doesn’t normally get involved in the day-to-day stuff. In fact, I think she has only spoken to me twice in two months. She gave me a look, shook her head and said quietly, “He was going to knock your block off.”

I’m happy to report, he didn’t knock my block off. They both calmed down after being separated. Ali said the whole thing began after The Brown Bomber changed the channel on the TV.

“We were watching The Price is Right and he just walked in and put on Little House on the Prairie! Who does he think he is?”

It reminded me of us kids growing up and fighting over the TV. It is rude to walk into a room and change the channel, but we lived for being rude to each other. However, no matter who was watching what, Dad always pulled rank with the TV. We could have an all out brawl over what program to watch, and he would walk into the room, sit in his fuzzy gold high-back arm chair, tell whoever was closest to the television set to put on whatever channel he wanted, and that was that.

We were the remote control back then. And if he decided a couple of minutes into that show that he wanted to see what else was on, he would tell whoever was closest to change it. By that point, we usually would begin to disperse from the room, mostly for fear of him not liking that show either. If you weren’t very bright… a-hem, you may have sat there like an idiot changing the channel all day long. But it did keep you out of trouble.

When the remote control finally made it to the Lane Estate, about five years after everyone else had one, Dad kept it in his back pocket, taking it everywhere he went. That meant that someone was out of a channel changing job. But I didn’t fret because trouble was ready and waiting for my big comeback.

By the way, The Brown Bomber would have totally kicked Ali’s ass that day had the fight ever actually started.

Have a great fight-free weekend everybody! Happy Mother’s Day to my mama and all you utha-muthas out there!!!