Friday, April 16, 2010

I Swear...

I woke up early this morning to the sound of someone, most likely a comedian, talking about Lindsay Lohan and her Twitter feed. This might not have been so strange if a.) I had been watching TV, b.) someone else besides the cat was in the house, or c.) it wasn’t 1:30 in the morning. So, I dragged myself out of bed to see what was what. I went downstairs and found the TV was on, with blaring sound but no picture. The cable box, usually required for a picture, was not on. I pressed the power button and the offensive sound stopped. I can only guess that when I turned the TV on several days ago, I turned all the boxes off but not the TV, and it somehow picked up some signal from somewhere. Some of my friends think this is a “sign” of something, but nothing involving Lindsay Lohan could be a sign of anything except bad taste.

On the other hand—between this and the attack tree outside, this could be the start of a bad horror movie. Earlier this week, I would step outside to find huge limbs from the tree in my driveway spread out on the ground. Not little sticks—4 to 5 foot limbs that were at least 5 inches thick. They appear to be rotten, and this tree is huge, so there must be some bad limbs falling from the top. I found several when I came home from work one day, and dragged them off to the woods. Then I went out to feed the cats the next morning, and there were MORE. I thought, what the f**k is this about? Are the squirrels that live in the tree finally sick enough of the cats to start a war? Like everything else in my life right now, I have more questions than answers. If this is the start of a bad horror movie, I’m going to be pissed off. Especially if Lindsay Lohan is in it. I’d at least want good actors. I don’t know what exactly I’d do about it, though. Probably buy a chainsaw. Or, do what my father does in a crisis—starting cursing my head off.

True story—when I was growing up, my parents’ house adjoined my grandmother’s property, and we treated both properties as one. There was a very nice Italian family that lived next door to my grandmother. My grandmother had a bigger driveway, so we always parked our cars there. If any of the cars needed to be fixed, have the oil changed, or otherwise dealt with, my father would work on them there, usually cursing loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear. Carl, my grandmother’s neighbor, would see my father going outside to open up the hood of the car. He would immediately grab a lawn chair, and pick up some task that he could do while sitting there, and position himself so he could watch my father work on the car. He enjoyed watching my father curse his head off—it was like free performance art. I remember coming home from my college classes, and seeing Carl by the fence. He’d wave to me and say “Boy, you should have heard your father today. He had to change the brakes on his car, and he was having a bad time of it!” And his eyes would light up with glee.

I often wonder if my mother also enjoys my father’s performances. They’re not limited to auto mechanics—he swears just as much at re-flooring jobs, fixing broken drawers, and electrical re-wiring. While my mother complains about his swearing, she also tends to say things while he’s working that only make him swear more. Not at her—he wouldn’t swear at my mother. One afternoon he was nearly purple with rage when a drawer he was trying to fix wouldn’t go back onto the track properly. After 3 hours of fighting with it, he finally got it into place. My mother walked in at that moment, looked at it, and said, “That doesn’t look right. You’ll have to do it again.” I braced myself for the explosion, but my father just turned to her and said, “Isn’t there somewhere else you have to be right now?”

In any event, I believed for years that you couldn’t repair anything unless you swore at it. You may laugh about it, but there is yet another recent study that suggests that swearing can minimize pain. So, maybe there’s something to it after all.

If you’ll excuse me, there’s somewhere else I have to be right now. Preferably any place that doesn’t have blaring televisions and attack trees.


Mark said...

My father swears prodigiously when he fixes things. I do too. More than usual. It's a good thing, and it is my hope that my son will swear like a sailor with Tourette's when he works on cars as well.

Brigid N. Burke said...

Hi, Mark--yes, I do as well. :) In fact, my mother commented on how much I sound like my father when I was trying to open some stuck windows last weekend. :)