Tag Archives: Humour

Happy Birthday, Sis

“Citizen Ralph, we must go to the guillotine.  Today, there are spry and energetic – if somewhat aged – bourgeois, my favourite. And we must buy a wrinkled, pathetic turnip and week-old wine for our supper.”

“I also, Citizen Margaret, enjoy the shopping with a little chopping. Ha Ha. But perhaps we might steal something on the way and make a feast of it. I am rather fond of a good Bordeaux.”

“Do not get above your station, Citizen. Be satisfied with what you may find in the hands of the 1 percent. Personally, I’m hoping for a claret, and perhaps a chicken, but I’ll take what providence and your bludgeon provide.”

“It is a merry life we have, is it not Citizen Margaret, in spite of being three score years and ten?”

“It is indeed, Citizen Ralph. We have many years of enjoyment ahead. HO HO. Did you get that, Citizen? A HEAD!”

“Very drole, my dear, very drole. Onward.”

*

This scene was inspired by a postcard depicting an old man and woman, perhaps during the French Revolution, deep in conversation. In honour of my birthday, my brother, Ken, wrote  les mots amusante to accompany the drawing. Definitely the best birthday card ever.

Graceland (S)

Why were the care aides whispering about him when he lay on his motorized bed not five feet away? Just because he didn’t understand what they said didn’t mean he was hard of hearing. He was only waiting for them to say something that made sense.

Jack felt relaxed enough to drool. Over-medicated, he’d heard them whisper. His dog bothered them because he wasn’t hygienic. Sure, Elvis sleeping on his bed wasn’t completely safe, but it was fine if he spent the night in soiled adult nappies.

“You wouldn’t mind if we take Elvis for a short walk, would you, Jack.”

“Try it, and you won’t like what happens,” Jack said, letting his evil smile loose. The two care aides jerked back when he displayed a new set of poorly-made false teeth that seemed too big and brilliant for his puckered mouth. He’d even scared himself when he smiled in the mirror. “Elvis stays with me.” He imagined delivering this line in a resonant bass voice, but his old man quaver didn’t cut it. That meant using the toothy grin, the weapon he saved for dire situations. Both aides narrowed their eyes and shrugged, deciding it wasn’t worth risking a bite from his choppers.

Jack patted Elvis and watched his pet’s adoring eyes turn towards him and blink several times before closing for a nap. There was an audible doggy sigh as contagious and satisfying as a yawn.

 

Someone had absconded with Elvis two nights ago, and Jack had worked himself into an uncharacteristic state of agitation.

“Where’s Elvis?” Jack shouted at the aide, his scrawny arms crossed over his pajamas. It was difficult to appear menacing in pjs, especially ones with silhouettes of Elvis dancing across his chest.

“You haven’t eaten your breakfast. It’s your favourite – poached egg.”

“Not eating until you bring me Elvis.”

“He’s in for repairs. I told you yesterday.”

“I told you yesterday that I wouldn’t eat until you brought him back.”

He could hear the two women whispering at the door. “How can he remember even owning that bloody dog?” the grumpy one said.

“His memory must be a lot better than we thought,” the pretty one said. Jack watched them leave, wondering if he was risking an injection of something nasty by acting up.

 

“Here you go, Jack. Elvis is back.” The grumpy aide tossed a plush collie on his bed.

“Hey! That’s a stuffed dog. It’s not even the same breed. What do you take me for, a senile old man?”

 

“Jack, I understand you haven’t been eating.” The doctor was pretending to care, pouting like his old Mum when he wouldn’t eat his peas.

“Your people stole my dog.”

“You have a dog? In a care facility?” Now the doctor tried to look shocked, but that didn’t hit home either.

“Don’t play games, Doc. You know Elvis came here with me two years ago.

“When you arrived, you thought Elvis was real. Do you still think so?” Jack frowned and squinted up at the doctor. Maybe they should trade places.

“I know Elvis is a robot, but he’s my robot and I want him back.”

“Do you mind if I run a couple of tests.” The doctor pulled out a little computer and started poking at it.

“Darn right I mind. No Elvis, no tests.”

 

“Here’s your dog, you old fool.” The grumpy aide dumped Elvis on the bed. “You got us all into trouble.”

“As if I care,” Jack said. He ran his hand over Elvis’s stomach, felt the comforting heat radiating from the battery pack, and checked to see if the dog’s eyes turned to look at him adoringly when he stroked him. For the first time in days, he could relax and enjoy being pampered. Lunch was a mystery but it never tasted better.

 

Then the doctor showed up with his tests and asked a bunch of meaningless questions. Can you remember three items from that picture I showed you? Can you tell me the time from this clock face? Jack shrugged and waited until the doctor said something that made sense.

“Jack, I can’t help wonder if you’re playing games with me. Yesterday you were lucid. Today you can’t answer simple questions.” Jack’s eyebrows were hitting each other. He couldn’t understand a word.

Elvis moved his head to look at Jack, blinked his eyes, closed them, and sighed. Good plan, thought Jack, and he imitated the dog’s actions and fell asleep in an instant.

 

“What do you mean, the dog’s doing it?” The doctor banged his pen up and down on his iPad as if it were a bongo drum. He was glaring at the pretty aide.

“I tell you, Jack’s a zombie when that dog’s around. Take it away and he’s almost normal.”

“That’s ludicrous.”

“Sure, but I’d bet I’m right. Try it and see what happens.”

 

Jack sensed something was up. The aides were snickering and saying things that made no sense. He heard the word Elvis, and something in his brain clicked. He started to shake. His hand wobbled on the warm battery pack, and he stared into Elvis’s glossy black eyes, looking for help. Slowly his shaking subsided and he felt a lovely calm descend. When the doctor entered with the pretty aide, Jack was asleep. They took Elvis.

 

“He’s not upset?” the doctor asked.

“I wouldn’t say that. He’s stopped eating again, but he’s not talking rationally the way he did last time. He just sits there drooling.”

“You’ve changed his routine. That’s why he’s not eating. Now I’m worried about your mental state. Really? Suggesting the dog was making him senile?”

“Sorry, but I thought Elvis was affecting his brain.” There was a long silence when Jack wanted to open his eyes and see what was happening.

“Can we give him back his dog?”

“Why not? See if he starts eating again.”

Jack heard it all, but he didn’t let his face muscles tense or his eyes react. Funny thing was, he enjoyed listening to them talk. He could tell there was a budding relationship between the doctor and the pretty aide. He wanted to know more, but if he let on he wasn’t senile, everything would change for the worse because they’d evict him from the care home. Whatever it took, he wasn’t going back to that filthy hostel to fend for himself, and no way would Elvis turn him into a drooling idiot, either. That care aide had the brains to figure it out.

 

“Everything’s back to normal,” the pretty one said. “Jack’s eating again, so the doctor was right. We must have upset his routine. Funny though, Elvis has stopped doing his companion thing – you know, wiggling, blinking and sighing. I offered to change the batteries, but when I tried to take Elvis away, Jack bared those awful dentures and growled at me.”

“If he doesn’t miss that bogus pet affection, why should we care? Let him enjoy his plushy germ-ridden toy.” The grumpy aide shrugged and left the room with Jack’s empty dinner tray.

After they had gone, Jack wondered how Elvis had managed to make him act demented. He knew it had something to do with the battery he’d removed and shoved in the diaper pail. What really bothered him was not being able to remember which one of his wretched relatives had given him the dog as a present. Jack released a big sigh which was almost as satisfying as hearing one from Elvis.

 

***

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wed, Nov 29, 1911

As someone anxious about the near-future, I find it odd that my husband is developing an addiction to  Ancestry.com. However, many people are obsessed with searching for their ancestors on-line. If you don’t believe that, a quick web search will reveal someone who describes himself as “the Walter White of family trees, always looking to build a better meth lab”. Perhaps these people are incipient tech addicts or wanna-a-be detectives, but hours can disappear while researching your roots, only to be buried in dirt. For those wondering if you have the symptoms, I’ve included a (partial) list below taken from the Geni.com website.

You might be addicted to genealogy if…

  • You’re more interested in what happened in 1815 than 2015
  • You spend your vacations visiting cemeteries, courthouses and archives
  • You introduce people as “my aunt’s husband’s second cousin once removed”
  • Your doctor asks about your family history and you ask, “how many generations back?”
  • You know more about your friends’ family history than they do
  • The pharmacist asks you to decipher the doctor’s handwriting

For me, uncovering dates of birth, death, marriage etc. of my ancestors is so dry as to require a drink. I crave those important details that bring a life to life, and, rarely, that  happens. My husband found this wonderful newspaper article about his great-grandfather who moved from Quebec to Alberta in 1903. It’s too good not to share.

Ananie Durand, 56 years old and father of nine children, came 2000 miles from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, to St. Louis to find a wife. He arrived Thursday. He was introduced to Mrs. Mattie White of IOC614 O’Fallon street Friday, sampled her cooking Saturday, proposed and was accepted Sunday, bought a wedding outfit for her Monday and engaged a priest Tuesday to marry them Wednesday afternoon. Mrs. White is 53 years old and has two grown children. Her husband died last February. Durand’s wife died last March. Durand says he has a $100,000 farm In Alberta and he is sure his bride will like to live there, although he has warned her that the temperature sometimes drops to 50 degrees below zero. This being a mild winter it was only 14 below when he left home, he says.

“I don’t mind the cold,” says the prospective Mrs. Durand. “I always did want to live on a farm.” Durand wrote to friends in St. Louis several weeks ago, telling them he was looking for a wife. He will not divulge the names of these friends but says that after looking over the matrimonial field there they advised him to come to St. Louis and take his pick of their selections.

Durand went to the Alcazar Hotel, 3127 Locust street, and then called on eligible widows whose names had been furnished by his friends. “I didn’t let them know what I wanted, though,” he said slyly. “Some of them kept rooming houses. I would ring the bell and ask to see a room. They would show me through the house and I would note whether they were tidy housekeepers. Most of them were not, and I went away without telling them I wanted a wife.”

I liked Mrs. White’s looks when I was introduced to her. I found her house neat and clean. I came back the next day and ate dinner with her and learned that she was a fine cook. The meal was so good that I came back for a Sunday dinner. No man ought to marry a woman who can’t cook.  In order to marry It was necessary for them to get a dispensation from Archbishop Glennon, as Durand is a Methodist and Mrs. White a Catholic. “Religion makes no difference if the cooking is good” said Durand, Wednesday. Mr. and Mrs. Durand will depart on their 2000-mile journey to Alberta next Wednesday evening. After arriving at Red Deer, they will drive 30 miles in a sleigh to Durand’s farm.

 

 

[Any news article published in the United States before 1923 is in the public domain and can be reprinted or republished without any copyright concerns.]