Friday, February 5, 2016

Mom thinks I work in hardware store (plus blog halftime Super Bowl prediction)

I'm starting to think the only reason God wants my Mom to live with dementia so long is He doesn’t ever want me to ever run low on blog material.
That’s how I wound up with a make-believe job down at the local hardware store.
Hours are good, pay’s decent and I like all the make-believe people with whom I work.
Some of the make-believe customers can be difficult, but what are you gonna do? The world is just so full to busting with true jerks many of them are crossing the reality border and stealing the jobs of make-believe hardware store customers.
Oh, if only we knew just one great man with the make-believe know-how to build a great big beautiful make-believe wall!
Mom’s dementia’s been on the march for about seven years now. It’s not so debilitating that she’s incapable of living on her own and she’s happy where she’s been for nearly 20 years. And she is beloved there. Her condo is blessed with caring neighbors and staff who understand her situation and are patient with her lapses.
Not me. I’m easily exasperated and often respond to her innocence with cruel sarcasm.
God knows. I’m convinced He adds 18 months to her life every time I smart ass her for her innocent mindlessness.
For instance, it was driving me nuts when she’d begun asking me, “Are sorry you ever became a writer?”
She meant well, I know. But I interpreted the question as an indictment my entire life.
To me, it was my own mother asking, “Are you sorry you’re such a failure? Do you wish you had chosen a career that leads to actual income and benefits? Are you sorry you’re barely able to support your family? In essence, are you sorry your such a damned loser?
The reason it drives me nuts, I guess, is because the question put forth by my endearingly senile 83-year-old mother is the same one I, a completely rational adult, asks himself each and every night.
I want to say, “Yes! Yes! Yes! My professional life feels like one big mistake. Yes, of course, I’m sorry! I can’t stand it!”
But I knew she’d be stung by my tone and wouldn’t comprehend the subtlety. And I knew she’d keep asking me it, as she’s done for the past two years.
I needed an answer she’d understand.
So I told her I took a job in the local hardware store.
It’s a great make-believe job because it’s something cluttered minds can easily grasp. It’s honest. It’s legitimate. And it’s concrete which, by the way, we sell by the sack in aisle 6 in Home Improvements.

Blog Halftime Super Bowl Prediction!!!
What? Didn’t you see the clock ticking down? I’ve been very proud that this is the first time all week the blog’s mentioned the Super Bowl. But I couldn’t let the event pass without a prediction. Here it is:
Carolina 55, Denver 37.
That’s not the score. That’s my prediction of what the high temperatures will be Sunday in each respective city.
I never thought Denver would beat Pittsburgh and I never thought they’d beat New England (and hallelujah for that). They’re playing wily. But I don’t think they’ll beat Carolina. In fact, I think it’ll be a blow out.
It’s easy to root for Peyton Manning, gracious as he is in both victory and defeat. But in situations like this, I always root for the team whose victory will most infuriate our nation’s racists.
And that’s the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers. Many racists will be miserable if showboat Newton and his team win. He plays with so much joy and exuberance I can’t help but love to watch him win. So I hope he scores the game-winning touchdown, cartwheels down the field and gets caught on camera sucking face with a Denver cheerleader.
And, yeah, I hope the chick is white.
Carolina 37, Denver 10.

And now for the Blog’s 2nd Half . . .
I think I could really dig working in a hardware store, especially one that stocked lots of shovels. I’d have a steady paycheck, humble ambitions and a sensible stability my wife craves.
But a big part of me would expire.
See, I really do love writing and suffer from a rosy conviction one day it’ll all pay off.
I’m thrilled by the reaction the “The Last Baby Boomer” is getting. I thought it was good and people would like it, but anything that gets so battered by rejection — and I include myself in the category — is bound to react to potential criticism like a dog that’s been beat too much (and, yes, Springsteen completists, I’m thinking of “Born in the USA”).
So to hear people are really enjoying the book makes me so happy. It ratifies all my dreams.
Plus, I’m hearing from enthused media-types who are finding the hook of what’ll happen to the very last baby boomer irresistible. Truly the elements — baby boomers/reality TV/greed/future — are pop culture media cap nip.
That bodes well for the guerrilla kind of marketing I’ll need to make the book a success.
The very best reaction, however, came from the most surprising source.
It was Mom.
She’s enjoying, I think, the idea of me make-believe working at the hardware store. It’s something she can easily explain. But I showed her the book anyway, not at all sure how she’d react or if she’d react at all.
Well, she was thrilled.
She hugged me with startling vigor and told me she was so proud. She could tell, she said, people were going to love it. 
It was like for a moment she remembered who I was and how wonderful it would feel to receive that affirmation she used to so readily and joyfully bestow on an hourly basis.
For that one moment, she was perfectly cogent and I was once again, maybe for the very last time, her little boy who was happy again to be hugging his Mommy.
I have to tell you, it choked me up.
I can hardly wait to tell the guys down at the hardware store.

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