Monday, July 14, 2008

What do you get the man who has everthing?

Soap on a rope, of course!

Every year, I ponder what I should get my father in law for his birthday. He has everything he could ever want or need. He is a bitter, 81 year old man who seems to think the rest of us never get it right in the gift department. He may be right as I think we've all just stopped trying; he is impossible to please.   I think soap on a rope is perfect because if it isn't enough that he isn't ever grateful, he hasn't had a shower in years. He refuses. We know he hasn't showered because we set traps on the shower heads. If they aren't moved or aren't wet, they aren't used. Simple as that.

Every day, he takes a nice little necessity bath as though he lives in the bush. He misses spots. The house smells elderly, sweaty and sort of like a boy's gym bag. It also smells like powder, athlete's foot powder.

To say we have our hands full, is an understatement. You can't tell him he stinks because he can't hear us. He steadfastly refuses to buy hearing aids that work-too much money. It wouldn't matter because they'd just sit there anyways. Unused.  We are his hearing aids.

I know that resorting to soap on a rope is subtlety he may miss. For anyone else, it'd probably be a WTF moment. Not him. In addition to being a cranky old man, he is head injured. Two years ago, he cracked his skull on the marble counter at a casino and wound up incredibly traumatized. He survived, but with more quirks than prior to the injury. Showering is one of them. He is afraid to get his ears wet. The same ears he won't put hearing aids in. Talk about stubborn. So, after two years, it can get aromatic. I'm tempted to just turn the hose on him and have at it-like they'd do in the military if you stunk. I can't though. Deep down, I'm a chicken shit and nobody can scream like he does.

After his head injury, it fell to me to take him to the first neurologist visit. He wanted the go ahead to drive. Me, I was praying the doctor would say no. My prayers were answered. No. No and no. He couldn't drive. The doctor left the room and my FIL asked me what the doctor said about driving (of course he didn't have his hearing aids in.) I told him what he'd said. I've never seen such a transformation in the man. The next thing you know, he sprouted horns from his head, grew a tail, turned the deepest shade of red I've seen and screamed BULLSHIT at the top of his lungs. I think I suffered hearing loss that day and almost had an accident in my pants. He scared me. When we were out in the parking lot, he asked if he could take me to dinner. Just like that-I'm supposed to break bread with the man while my ears are still ringing. A little later, the neurologist called me at home, concerned for me. He increased my FIL's "mood stabilizer." Yeah right, like that'll work in a possessed human. I think I should have slipped him some holy water for all the good the Depakote did.

I think I've struck on the perfect gift for the man who has everything. Just in case he goes ballistic, I'm planning to be absent from the celebration. I'll have the rest of the family wear ear plugs-just in case.

One word of advice, if you're driving in the metropolitan Detroit area and see a crazy man with horns in his head, driving a silver Lincoln, get the hell away out of the way.  You didn't think a man like this would take no for an answer, did you? 


Brenda said...

Oh My God!!!! I have been laughing hysterically all through out this post. At first I felt bad about laughing and then the more I read, I thought....How can I not laugh?!?!? This is a great scene from a movie..I can picture all of this vividly even though I do not know what any of you look like.

I am sorry if I shouldn't be laughing...but that was just funny!

Mrs. G. said...

Here's hoping he takes the hint.

Rudee said...

Oh no Brenda, if we didn't think it was funny too, we may as well throw in the towel. If it weren't for humor (and not a little wine), we'd be ready for the asylum. I couldn't have a post about this man's wife one day without one about him the next. I think she was a saint.

Mrs. G, He'll probably just think the soap is a candle, but here's hoping.

Rositta said...

It is funny but really it's not. Unless he was always this way I suspect the bump on the head and the loss of his wife affected him. It's amazing that you are so patient, the soap is a good gift..I'd have used the hose, lol...ciao

Rudee said...

Rositta, he has always been like this. Just more so since the skull fracture & brain bleed. Way, way more so.

Rose said...

Wow. He sounds like a handful, as we say in the south. Glad you have a sense of humor about it.

Rudee said...

To say he is a handful is an understatement Rose.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget:
*Slippers must be worn when walking on tile or you will get a cold.
*A hat must be worn in the winter, even if it is 80 degrees.
*A bowel movement cures depression.
*Your ears must be cleaned out by a medical professional once a month.
*A good scream at someone is good for you.

Anonymous said...

One more cure jonas salk never knew about..powder..specifically, Mexana medicated powder.

The most heart-felt advice I ever received growing up, from adolescence to adult-hood, was prior to exiting the home. That advice was, "Did you remember to Powder". By the way, Mexana can remove rust from a bumper..imagine what it does to the skin!

Anonymous said...

The correct spelling is includes Eucalyptus and Camphor.