(The Beatles, When I’m Sixty-Four. Hey, it’s the only lighthearted song about getting old I could think of, so sue me. Uploaded by one OctopuSsGarden)
There are days in a man’s life when he must tackle pain, frustration, love, sadness, and terrible smells. Today was one of those important days, as I was forced into both visiting my grandfather at the nursing home and playing a game of golf.
Yes, on the same day.
A bit of background: Old people and golf have been around since olden days, and they are usually one and the same. Back in the olden days, there were no nursing homes. This is primarily because the people were too poor to afford it. I mean, these were really the “golden days”, but the people couldn’t even afford a capital G to spell it, which is why they were referred to as “olden days” in the first place. Do you really think these kinds of people could find a monetary way of convincing somebody to care for a person whose bodily function control is on the level of an untrained puppy?
Son of old person: Here, I’ll give you ten pounds or whatever currency we use here per hour to take care of… uh… someone for me.
Potential old person caretaker: Oh, how cute! You want me to babysit? I love kids!
Son of old person: Uh, no, well, y’see…
Old person: *emits strong odors*
Potential old person caretaker: Dear God.
You people make me sick.
Of course, that was OK, back then, because most of the old people in the olden days were dead anyway, due in part to an unusually virulent outbreak of rap music. But today, most of our nation’s rappers are dead or are pretending to be to avoid potential lawsuits, so it is necessary for us as a nation to take care of our nation’s old people*.
(*Note: The large amount of old people today is also due to the “Baby Boom”, a period of time in our nation’s history in which an astonishing 78.2 million American babies spontaneously exploded into flame. [Source: Wikipedia])
I have always been against my grandfather being in a nursing home, at least partially because I believe he is faking it, likely for the doughnuts my uncle now buys him. This is something my uncle does every Sunday, and has been doing for quite awhile. I have now gone with him twice. Apparently, my grandfather likes chocolate donuts with coconut sprinkles. My uncle puts the doughnut into Grandpa’s mouth, and he eats it, and then he spits out the coconut, in much the same way he used to spit out his chewing tobacco. That is, of course, the tobacco he chewed before the nurses took it away from him so they could keep him from getting cancer, which would likely deprive the nursing home of the opportunity to better itself, in the form of money.
My uncle then gave Grandpa a bit of coffee, before a nurse stopped him.
“You can’t do that,” the nurse said.
“Why not?” my uncle asked.
“You need to thicken it first,” she responded.
So my uncle went to get “thickener” for the coffee, which is made of some strange kind of substance that makes it less liquidy.
“You want some?” my uncle asked me.
“…No,” I said emphatically. If there is one thing my life has taught me, it is to never drink anything that has been “thickened”.
Both of my visits were pretty much the same. We wheeled Grandpa out into a big courtyard, fed him the doughnut, talked to him, and left. The only real difference was that this time the smell, the overpowering smell of death and over a dozen old people housed inside a single enclosure, was stronger and my grandpa did not put his feet down when it was time to go back inside. I liked to think he was resisting the man, in the form of my uncle, by firmly refusing to reenter the Den of the Old People, but it may have been because he didn’t actually realize he had feet.
Meanwhile, another uncle of mine had been preparing for our golf game. Think about that for a second. He actually took time, out of his busy day, to plan for playing a game in which you hit a small ball into a hole no larger than the average person’s left nostril. This requires dedication to the game, the kind where you are expected to play at least twelve dozen times per semester, regardless of price or health condition. If you have to play with intravenous tubes in both arms, as just one example, golf instructors will be waiting to teach you how to properly coil your backswing, while making sure that you do not accidentally spill blood or saline into their ball washers, as this could lead to unpleasant experiences for others who will play the course.
I, on the other hand, was a maverick, in that this was the first time I had played golf all year. In golf circles, this is the equivalent of wearing all black with a Pantera T-shirt and dozens of bodily piercings in strategic locations across your body. My game was as good as could be expected under the circumstances. On the eighteen holes, I was able to deposit the ball into the hole a full eighteen times, eventually, without causing unnecessary skull fractures or death.
“Fetch”, the game would say. And I would fetch. I would wind up running after the golf ball, bounding from one edge of the grass to the other, over children, sand, and water, looking for my ball, which was yellow and covered with random pen marks. I had intended it to look like a psychedelic Roger Dean work or possibly a tie-dye piece, but it in fact wound up looking a lot more like a golf ball with a lot of pen marks on it.
We–meaning my two uncles and younger cousin–played on a military golf course. This meant that there were things we did not do. For example, we didn’t say that we “bombed” a hole, for fear that authorities would come and kill us. Also, we absolutely did not even entertain the thought of performing one of those humorous golf shots you see on television wherein you wade into the water and swing at your ball and get water all over yourself and into your clothes. The following illustration shows why that is:
Other than golfing and seeing my grandpa, my day was pretty typical. The electricity went off for a couple of hours, as it does every month in New Mexico, the Land of Violent Electrical Storms. I wound up talking to Ashley Of the Forty-Year-Old Boyfriend Who Plays Texas Hold ‘Em As A Career, and finding out that the University of New Mexico believes that I should no longer receive my scholarships because the computer told it I shouldn’t. While I go down to destroy the computer with a sledgehammer tomorrow, I think about the events of the weekend: Seeing my grandfather; being closer to active nuclear weapons than any person should ever have to be; wanting to see one of the weapons go off because I think nuclear explosions are beautiful; realizing that the FBI has probably already sent out an agent to get me for saying that on the Internet; and so on and so forth. These things stir powerful feelings within me. I think it’s the mutations kicking in.