A Series of Bungee Cords: Part Nine
by Fiona and Lily Landers
Top Ten Funny Things We Remember About Dad Today on his Birthday:
1. Dad always had old cars and the only insurance he paid for was Antique Auto Insurance which basically only covered parades. And we never once drove any of our cars in a parade.
2. Whenever Dad would take money out of his wallet, he would say “Squeak squeak. Is there a mouse in there?”
3. Unbeknownst to Dad, they had just raised the rate for parking at the Hollywood Bowl from five dollars to ten dollars in the early 90’s. The parking attendant said, “That’ll be ten dollars.” And he said, “TEN DOLLARS?!” and squeaked a ten dollar bill out of his mouse wallet. When he handed it to the attendant he wouldn’t let go and they played tug of war for an uncomfortable moment that felt like a nice, little mini-eternity.
4. He also made us lie down and threw a blanket over us in the backseat of our 1964 T-Bird (that was not being used for a parade) so he didn’t have to pay the kid’s rate at the Drive-In movies.
5. Our dining room table folded down on both sides. One night the latch wasn’t secure on Dad’s side and his plate of pasta fell in his lap. We laughed so hard and he was furious.
6. When we were selling our house, the realtor described our living room as an Entertainer’s Living Room. Dad was like, “What does that mean?” He went into a Guys and Dolls-like song and dance number: “Dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. Look at the Living Room isn’t it small?”
7. After we sold the house, Dad thought he might want to live on a boat. So he took Lily to the harbor in Marina Del Rey to visit his friend who lived on a boat. He was not impressed with the boat and he decided NOT to live on a boat.
8. A member of the Church of Jorai came to our house and asked Dad if he could pray for him. Dad said sure and then the next day he booked a job and decided to join their religion. He went to their church twice.
9. When Dad went outside to mess with the fuse box he would always have one of us stand next to him in case he got electrocuted. Our instructions were to hit him really hard in the back.
10. Fiona ate a bunch of potatoes at the Herkimer County Fair and barfed on the twirl-a-whirl ride. Dad noticed the dunk tank was being filled and hi-jacked the hose. He proceeded to hose Fiona down with the hose at full blast and then returned the hose to the tank.
Top Five Funniest Things Dad Said During Hospice:
1. It was two days before Dad died. People were calling all day and Lily finally silenced her ringing phone. Dad pretended to pick up. He said, “Hello? We’re waiting for the angel of death. If that’s you, great. If not, take a number.”
2. Every once in a while he would just say, “SEGA!” like the ‘90’s video game commercials. And then once he said, “I don’t even know what that is.”
3. One of Dad’s friends called about wanting to stop by at the same time he was scheduled to have a sponge bath. Fiona asked if he still wanted her to come and his response was, “Tell her I’m on morphine and I’m about to get my balls washed. If she can top that, come on over.”
4. It was getting harder for Dad to lift and drink from glasses, so our mom brought over a child’s sippy cup. It was green and had frogs on it. Lily asked him, “Hey, do you want to try this new cup that mom brought?” He looked at it and said, “Nah. That was just in case I was a total retard.”
5. We were sitting with him on the bed and this was one of our last conversations.
Lily: Hey, for a guy on a death bed, you look great!
Dad: I do? Take a selfie.
We all huddled together and I snapped the photo. We looked at it.
Fiona: Ugh, I look terrible.
Lily: So do I.
Dad: Me too!
Top Five Ways to Honor Dad during the month of October:
1. Recline and watch a baseball play-off game. Text or call friends who are watching during key points of the game to celebrate or commiserate. As a champion of underdogs, Dad would have been ecstatic that the Cubs are playing the Mets for the NLCS this year.
2. Add a “with a broomstick” to your “Fuck You,” like when someone says, “Fuck you” to you, you say, “Fuck you with a broomstick.” It’s Halloween!
3. Scare a child. It’s Halloween!
4. Dress your kid up as Little Red Riding Hood and dress yourself up as the Big Bad Wolf. This is a great costume that Matt and Fiona wore for Halloween in 1989.
5. Tonight on Dad’s birthday, October 21st, have some sausage and peppers, a cigar, or a glass of wine, and pour one out for your homie.