Archive for May, 2009

Danny’s Irish Kiss

Danny returned from the restroom and counted heads. “One, two, three, four, five … oh shit.” He panicked. “Where is Seamus?”

Of his family, Danny is the only one who lives in the United States. Everyone else lives in Ireland.

His cousins, six strong, come to visit him once a year. The week they visit, Danny reports, is a week of severe anxiety and sleepless nights.

“I know it sounds funny,” Danny says. “But they are Irish through and through. They like to drink, they like their women, and they like to fight. Everything else is secondary.”

“When I take them out, I am forever counting heads. I can’t keep my eyes off of them. If one goes missing, he’s going to get in trouble. They’re like fucking kids.”

One evening, Danny took the cousins to the Bamboo Bar & Grill in Seaside. Danny went to the bathroom (“It was the quickest pee I ever took”) and came back to one missing, Seamus.

He scanned the bar to see Seamus across the room. He’s standing, leaning forward on a table, talking eye-to-eye with a pretty young lady. She smiling. He’s laying it on her thick, and she’s buying it.

“Now it’s like a movie in slow motion. I see the whole thing. I’m moving as fast as I can but I can’t get there; I can’t stop it.”

The girl’s boyfriend shows up. He’s not happy that Seamus is talking to his date.

“I’m just talking to the pretty lady,” Seamus said in his heavy Irish accent, now standing with his arms at his side.

The boyfriend is half a head taller than Seamus and squares off as to intimidate him. “Seamus gets that smile that scares the shit out of me,” Danny says. “I yell, ‘Nooooo!’” Too late.

Seamus steps backward slightly and then BAMM! Headbutts this poor sod right in the mouth. “Irish kiss.”

“The poor boyfriend drops like a rock. He’s out cold. Seamus turns to his cousins. His arms are spread wide and he’s smiling biggest shit-eating smile that you’ve ever seen. Like he was saying, ‘Did you see what I just did?’ Blood was running down his face from where the kid’s tooth impacted his forehead. Pig in shit, Jim. Pig in shit.”

Danny got there at the same time as the bouncers. Seamus was ready for them, so were the cousins.

“Don’t do it,” Danny begged the bouncers. “You don’t understand. They live for this. They want this. They don’t care if they spend the night in jail. It’s just another story that they’ll take home to their friends. Please, just let me take them home.”

The bouncers believed Danny and ushered the cousins out the back door.

“That was last year, Jim. They’ll be back in a month and I’m already losing sleep.”

War. It’s a Guy Thing.

The rehab hospital near where I live has a long-term, head trauma unit. Basically, it’s an assisted living facility for people who have brain injuries. They live there until they become too dependent on staff and then are transferred to a nursing home.

Living on the brain injury unit are two guys that are confined to motorized wheelchairs. These men hate each other. They can barely talk and can’t even scratch their asses, and yet they hate each other. I have no idea why, but it’s probably something like one guy coughed while the other was praying (that’s how most wars start).

About once a week or so these two guys will cross paths in the main lobby. Their eyes meet. Like a Spaghetti Western, everything goes quiet. Tension fills the room. A tumbleweed blows through. Someone closes a shutter. The nurses and aides all know what is happening but no one can react quick enough to stop it. What awaits is the duel …

One man feints a ramming move with his wheelchair; the other parries. A quick circle. Dust is blown up. A wheel screeches from the friction of the tight turn. They stop to face each other, ten paces apart.

And on silent cue, like a maiden’s hanky hitting the dust, these two got-enough-going-against ‘em, brain injured, wheelchair sportin’ hipsters get their chairs up to top speed and ram into each other with all their battery-powered might. Intent, I’m sure, one to kill the other.

Eventually their handlers (for lack of a better word) are able to intervene and break up the fight. The war of the wheelchairs is over. Until next week.

Down the road from the rehab hospital is an Alzheimer’s assisted living. Again, it’s kind of a nursing home holding area. It’s for people who aren’t so incapacitated that they need a nursing home yet but not able to safely live alone or with family anymore.

Two guys (of course). Each in his 80′s. Each needing canes or walkers to get around. Most of their memories have been robbed by Alzheimer’s Disease. Especially their short-term memories. They don’t remember your name, but they remember who played shortstop for the Yankees in ’32.

Everyday, maybe a couple of times per day … maybe a dozen, Guy #1 goes into Guy #2′s room. Rifles through his stuff. Lays on his bed. Eats his hard candies. Uses his toilet.

But he doesn’t know any better. He has Alzheimer’s; he thinks this is his room.

This angers Guy #2. And, everyday, this battle ensues:

“Get out of my room!”

“This is my room.”

“It is not! Get out of my room, asshole.”

“Asshole? I’ll hit you with my cane.”

Push. Shove. Grab. Hit.

Everyday.

As long as there are guys there will be war.