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She made Bill Clinton feel GOOOOD!

January 7, 2015

My last blog post from September includes a vignette about a family game of Catch Phrase as well as my inability to stop myself from ridiculing my mother when she plays. Timber forgot to bring Catch Phrase home for Christmas, so I downloaded Outburst on my iPhone, which is basically a Catch Phrase app. Bursting with holiday spirit, I purchased the $3.99 “All Word Packs” upgrade, which unlocked access to extra categories such as Literature, Super Word Pack #2, Accents & Impressions, 90s!, and Dirty Words. During one of Mother’s turns, she gripped my phone, eyes widening at the word she was tasked to describe. With her enormous cross earrings flapping against her cheeks, she sweetly smiled, batted her lashes, and said, “Oh! She made Bill Clinton feel GOOOOD!”

“Monica Lewsinky!!” Ryan and my Uncle Stanley screamed.

An hour or so later during one of my turns the screen displayed “Bill Clinton.” Juxtaposing Mother’s classiness, I blurted, “Monica Lewinsky sucked his dick.”

“Bill Clinton!!” everyone shouted, even though Timber was my only teammate.

“Bobbin, why do you have to be so nasty?” Mother scowled.

“I gave the perfect hint, didn’t I?” I defended myself.

Hours before my father had retreated to the bedroom. I slipped under the sheets on the other side, which Mother permanently vacated months ago. I lay next to Daddy reading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Revisited and told him about my financial goals — a topic he pontificated on with zeal before becoming an Alzheimer’s zombie. I also mentioned Mr. Money Mustache, a finance blogger who suggests saving and investing half of one’s income in order to achieve pecuniary freedom.

“I wish I could get to a point where I spend only half my income,” I sighed.

“Your mother is really good at that,” Daddy yawned. “She uses both halves.”

For a second Daddy’s old self flickered, but the overpowering stench of his body odor and urine drove me out of the room. His resistance to showering reminds me of my own childhood, when receiving permission to skip a bath was a special treat. In a way Daddy acts like my five-year-old brother.

“Daddy, Mother said to take a shower!” I yelled to him from the living room one morning.

“I don’t want to!” he shouted back.

“She said you have to!”

“I’m not going to!”

“Robert, get in the shower!” Mother intervened.

“Fine, I’ll get in the shower,” he huffed, sulking to the bathroom.

One evening Daddy emerged for a snack and broke a jar of pickles when he opened the pantry. He ignored the mess and stood over me eating a row of Saltines while I picked up the glass and sopped up the sticky juice with a ratty towel, trying to protect him from Mother’s wrath.

“Robert, the very idea!” she bawled.

“It’s okay, Daddy,” I winced while Saltine crumbs floated from his mouth onto the floor. (I concede that if I dealt with Daddy every day, I wouldn’t exercise much sympathy or patience.)

Every year on Christmas Eve our close family and friends gather for lunch and then a gift exchange. Per tradition, the youngest person opens presents first, and we proceed in chronological order. Since Daddy now is unable to interact with most people, we let him go first this year. He disappeared before the teenagers’ turns, but I didn’t even notice. I’m used to the empty chair.

I’ll close with an excerpt from Mary Gauthier’s song “Mercy Now” — a stretch of lyrics that makes me choke anew every time:

My father could use a little mercy now
The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground
His work is almost over; it won’t be long, he won’t be around
I love my father; he could use some mercy now

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2015 12:06 pm

    Bobbin, I teared up at the end of this. So beautiful and honest. And so funny too. Thank you for writing it. Thinking of you today. xx

    Sent from afar


    • January 7, 2015 12:10 pm

      I’m missing you in Georgia and can’t wait to see what happens with Coucou this year. Thank you for your support. ❤

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    January 7, 2015 12:14 pm

    Oh, Bobbin! You certainly have a way with words! I really hate to hear this about your daddy and I grieve so that you and your family have to go through this. Nathan’s nanny has this and it has been very painful to watch her deteriorate. We sing the 12 days of Christmas every year before we open up gifts, and she is the one who gets the honor or singing “and a partridge in a pear tree.” This year, she too sat there like a zombie and we didn’t even attempt to prompt her that it was her time to sing. It is such a sad disease. It’s admirable that you share your story with such candidacy and humor. Thank you!

    • January 7, 2015 1:54 pm

      Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment, Elizabeth. I’m sorry to hear about Nathan’s grandmother — I hope you are able to enjoy her company in some capacity. I also hope medical advancements will bring us at least a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease in our lifetime. What a B.S. disease.

  3. January 20, 2015 5:44 pm

    I don’t have much to say this time. Just… hugs, dear heart. Hugs :/

    • January 22, 2015 11:39 am

      Thank you! Hugs are always needed and greatly appreciated.

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