Tuesday, July 31, 2012


So, leaving our hospital sockies behind, I proceed to try and find an empty chair, preferably one up front, close to where the nurses will call the patients and I don’t have to run the Obstacle Course of the Dead to get to the Nurses’ station. No joy there. All empty seats are in the back. Now, this is not laid out like the DMV, airline style waiting area, with row upon row of seats, due to the fact that everyone in this room is either on crutches, in a wheel chair, has a cane, missing an appendage, an eye, or is crazy, or barfing, or any of the afore mentioned  combination. No, the seats abut the walls of the room, and there are vast amounts of space to traverse, just what the lame and the halt ordered. At times it resembles buzkashi, what with canes and wheel chairs, people trying to dodge one another; the only thing lacking is a head.

So I proceed to cram myself into the one chair that lacks a (hopefully live) body in a corner that’s next to the phone. I’m there about 10 minutes, and it rings. It startles me. It’s one of those square, flesh-beigy phones that looked dirty when it was 5 minutes old. It rings again and not one person is paying attention to it. I start to wonder if I’m in one of those creepy movies where I’m dead and everyone is alive. I can scream my head and… Well, I pick up the phone. “Hello? Hello?” I say this in my quasi-Llily Tomlin and Terry Jones voice, because I’m traveling incognito. Dead air.

I hang up. “Hell called. I’m next.” I announce loudly to no one. I’m starting to get looks from some of the other patients. Okay, I’ve been sitting here for about 6 or 7 hours now. I don’t go to the nurses’ station. The nurses’ station comes to you. Not a whole lot has happened. We have TV. Dr. Phil, Puke. I can’t stand that phony. The people across from me get the Olympics. My one chance, and I wouldn’t even have to steal it, but no. They don’t have the wit to see I’m gymnastics-deprived, but I can't turn my head because of this cursed neck-thingy. Oh good, here comes Brad, the Vitals-taker, or RN. I’m bored. Me bored in public is never a good mix. “Hey Brad, you know the only difference between this place and Steerage on the Titanic, is the TGH waiting room has TVs here.” Brad’s a sparrer, I find to my delight. He never bats an eye, as he jams that clothes-pin air doo-dad on my finger “Oh, well wait, the lower decks get the organ grinders and the monkeys, later.”  “Hmm, are they re-arranging the deck chairs, yet, up top?” “not yet, miss.” “cool.” He turned to walk away. I stopped him. “Hey, Brad,” He turned. “Up on the Lido Deck for a waltz later?” He grinned and went on his rounds. A little play at work.

Well, it must be getting late. We’ve had the news. Or talking heads So now David Letterman is on. And he’s got one of my all time favorite guests, Jack Hanna.
Jack has brought out 2 little baby jaguar kittens they look like and they are so tiny they don’t have fur, they’re still in the wool stage. David is trying to feed one and accidentally pokes the bottle nipple in the kitten’s eye. The kitten doesn’t even notice, so intent on his dinner. Cute, cute. Then, Jack brings out some Pelican-looking birds. I can't really tell from my vantage point. There seems to be a lot of flapping and hopping and then they go away. 

Now, here’s where this whole narrative takes a giant left turn and in planning this out, I’m beginning to think there will probably be a Part 3 to this, too. To properly do this insanity justice, I have to go back more than 50 years. Whether the trip is worth it, only you can tell, dear readers. I have some of my better ideas during idleness and this was a very (for me) prolonged period of idleness, coupled with the fact that I had some not insignificant drugs running around in my system battling a pretty nasty headache. So let me “walk this back” as the current Romney phrase seems to be every time he makes a gaffe. Why in hell they just don’t face north on a south-running people-mover and call it a day and save time is beyond me, but I digress.

Over 50 years ago, my parents were quite the bon vivants for the Muskegon, Michigan “in” crowd, whatever that was. The hung around with people who were accomplished, educated and very witty. Most of those people had one or two children or quite possibly, none. I, being an only child, was never left out. My parents also never adhered to that adage “seen but not heard,” and I think, they got some marvelous stories out of this later, but must have certainly questioned their own possible serious deranged attitudes at the time, and may have been partially responsible for their rather (for our families) fairly early demises. Nevertheless they stood by their choice. But I spent a lot of time around adults from babyhood and was never a distraction; quite the contrary it was a good education. Interestingly, today, I find I mingle very easily with young people.

I am telling you this, because I’ve often wondered why it is I have just never given a damn if I got up in a public venue and made a complete ass out of my self. And never mind if I know anything about the subject or not. Of course, playing in public, and soloing in public is different; it was my job. Likewise, working in the IT industry. The fact that I was highly successful in a man's world didn't hurt either. But, I will get up and with the same bravado, do something for which I have no business doing. Like mimic John Wayne and I do a really bad John Wayne and fall flat on my face. Case in point. When I was about 4, my folks took me to an afternoon party after church to a friend’s house. He played piano quite well. 

I didn’t. At 4 years old, I could fumble through a couple of tunes I learned through osmosis. I didn't learn how to read music until I started violin at the ancient age of 11. I still don’t "play piano" at 56. I can plunk out some Beethoven, and Chopin and "read piano" music akin, to how someone reads Spanish after 30 years of not picking up their text book. I love the chord changes and the harmonies, but I truly, truly suck at piano. I believe I mentioned I had to take a year in college, What a waste. I‘ll never get those notes back. Anyway, the host was playing piano. I, at 4, did what any well-behaved child would do. I interrupted him, climbed up next to him, and said “I can play piano, wanna hear a song? Any requests?” Somebody shouted out “Moonglow,” whereupon I proceeded to play “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Horribly, I’m sure. I got all done, and hollered out, “okay, any other requests?” My father, being the wit that he is said “Sure, St. Louis Blues,” “Okay!” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” again, about 4 bars. ...And then my mother came in from the kitchen and retired me from my first music career.

So, this is kind of setting us up for what transpired last night in the waiting room in TGH. Bear in mind; I’ll make an ass out of myself and pretty much talk to anyone

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