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Polly Diller: Avenge yourself on your children

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I am an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth person, so it's natural for me to entertain a fantasy to, shall we say, even out certain inconveniences I have experienced with my children.

I plan to almost, but not quite, get expelled from a nursing home. The summons from the nursing home will read: Dear Kathy, Bradley, Charlotte, Brian: It is my unpleasant duty to request a meeting in reference to your mother's behavior. Be in my office promptly at 2 p.m. on May 25. Respectfully yours, G.W. Goodpence, superintendent, Jolly Geriatrics Nursing Home.

You will arrive nervously at the appointed time. Mr. Goodpence starts, "Ah, well, I've asked you here to discuss your mother's behavior -- often unacceptable in even the fun-filled atmosphere of Jolly Geriatrics. She is, of course, as you know, bright and talented, but fails to meet to her potential.

"For instance, she decorated pillow cases with four-letter words, and says she's giving them to you for Christmas. This disturbed her fellow liquid embroiders, who laughed boisterously and smeared their tea towels. You need to discuss propriety with her. The cooks complain because she stomped into our dining room and bellowed, 'Yuck, a mushroom! Stand back, I'm gonna barf.' The halls are hazardous, because even after repeated groundings, she persists in doing wheelies in her wheelchair."

Bradley interrupts, "Every time I visit her, Mr. Goodpence, I warn about reckless driving. I've told her, 'If you are old enough to own a wheelchair, you are old enough to drive it carefully,' but you can't tell her anything."

Mr. Goodpence nods. "She breaks the rules. Refuses to turn lights out at 11 p.m. Says all the other nursing homes let their patients stay up late if they want." Kathy answers, "Yes, I am aware of this problem. I explained, 'Mother they do this for your own good. Jolly Geriatrics is not responsible for patients in those other nursing homes. And you know as long as you live under their roof, you must abide by their rules whether you like it or not.'"

The superintendent sighs. "She's been banned from the library. Drawing a mustache on the photo of Mother Teresa was the last straw. Not to alarm you, but when we detected a peculiar sweet odor in her room, she asked, 'Don't you know a marijuana cigarette is no more harmful than a can of beer?' And, I don't know how to tell you this, but she's on probation at church. We were forced to take disciplinary action. As soon as the organ starts, she makes paper airplanes out of the bulletins. Also, her appearance is inappropriate. When we tell her tennis shoes are not proper attire, she goes into a tirade. 'If Jesus had been a woman, He wouldn't wear those dumb pumps with silly bows. Now, if you want me to go to church, Buster, tie these tennis shoes for me and get out of my way.'

"On the positive side, occasionally, she exhibits irresistible charm. As incorrigible as Mrs. Diller is, her antics do add sunshine to a gloomy March day. With guidance and encouragement from each of you, I predict she will develop into a useful, productive 90-year-old leader we can all be proud of."

You, my children, will take me to dinner to "talk some sense into me." The conversation will be familiar, only the names will be reversed. "Mom, brush your hair out of your eyes and sit up straight at the table." "Mother, chew with your mouth closed."

As we leave the table, I will pick up part of the tip and publicly declare, "Hey, no one ever paid me for all those meals I served."

I will know at last, my dear children, why God insisted, "Revenge is Mine." It's too heavenly to waste on mortals.

Polly Diller lives at Edgewood Summit.


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