My father aka The Old Man has to have surgery
next this month. On March 15, the Ides of March, to be precise. I told my mother that since his name isn’t César, he shouldn’t worry too much – unless the surgeon is Dr. Brutus.
I went home for a day visit. He was in the road, digging trenches to drain the meltwater. (February was unseasonably warm, so the roads were turning to mud.) He directed me to park on sort-of solid ground and followed me inside not long after, where he promptly put on a blood pressure cuff.
“Did your mom tell you what’s wrong with me?” he asked.
“Well, she has been hinting for years,” I said.
They laughed, although it turned out I ruined the timing of his own joke. Turns out he’d gone to the doctor a few days earlier with intestinal pain, and he declared, “The doctor told me, ‘You’re full of shit.'” (It seems in addition to his heart, his digestive system was acting up. It never rains but it pours.)
I learned young that when you have troubles outside your control, the best thing is to joke about them. But I forget.
When my mother suddenly leaned on the kitchen counter and said, “I feel dizzy”, I was concerned. Then my father said, “I did the same thing yesterday, in the same spot. There must be something wrong with this counter!”
My mother cheerfully agreed.
So I’ve been trying to view my own troubles through the same humorous lens.