A week ago, I wrote a post called Stop Being Stupid and said I was going to use it as my upcoming political campaign slogan. I probably should have re-read it before my antics this week. I am so anti-stupidity, I have this thing I say: “I’m a lot of things; stupid is not one of them.” It sounds cool, has a little grit to it, lets my kids know they can’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining (thank you, Judge Judy, for that quote). And usually it’s true. This not-being-stupid thing is actually pretty important to me: I pride myself on having a level head and being a rational human being. I don’t generally make dumb decisions, don’t put myself in ridiculous situations, don’t have those “What the fuck were you thinking about?” moments. Not anymore.
See, occasionally my powers of deduction and reason and common fucking sense fail me and I turn into those jackasses you see on any reality show. You know the guy who gets killed in the horror movie for doing dumb shit? That’s me. I deserve a helmet because I turn into DMFRH. And it happened a couple days ago.
If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve had a couple things going on here at the ranch: my wife got a not so sexy diagnosis and had to get surgery, my computer fell apart, I lost my book, my kids are kids, Thanksgiving was coming and I don’t know how to make greens…I was juggling a couple things. This was me going into Wednesday (like 4 days ago):
And preparing for the festivities (and trying to handle the stress of it all) meant minimal sleep for me. Like 2 – 2 ½ hours Tuesday night.
We’re up at the crack of ass to get everybody dressed, drop kids off at a neighbor’s before school, and get to the hospital for the check in. You know what comes after check in for surgery? WAITING! Clock-watching. Thumb-twiddling and small talk. It means answering questions on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or judging the idiots on Peoples’ Court or choosing sides in Divorce Court with a group of strangers in the same boat I’m in. It’s listening to people talk about loved ones losing their baby toes (seriously) or getting an abscess drained (which sounds disgusting enough I haven’t had the stomach to look it up). But it doesn’t mean sleep. It’s a snow globe of anxiety.
But things go well. Very well. Ahhh…deep sigh of relief, right? My wife is healthy, doctors are confident, things are good, right? Yeah…but I gotta tell two kids who had to go to school convinced their mom wasn’t going to wake up from surgery that she’s okay. And they only semi-believe me. They wanna see. So I become two people: the comforting husband deeply concerned about his wounded spouse and the reassuring father comforting distressed children. It means I have to be in two places at the same time. Literally.
This is my long-winded way of trying to build my case for my stupidity. So I’m driving back and forth from the hospital, going to the house to let the dog out and brine the turkey (because my wife is ADAMANT we’re having Thanksgiving, surgery be damned!), up the street to grab kids, back to the hospital, from the hospital to find food because I realize I haven’t eaten and it’s 9pm, back to the hospital and it’s now 10:30 and I gotta take kids back to the neighbor.
And it was a dark and stormy night. Seriously.
I’m tired—very tired—and I turn up a street that has me 4 minutes from the house. Except there is a Road Closed sign. Sometimes, when it rains here for days on end, things flood. And this street was one of them. But I didn’t believe it. I watch another car zip through the Road Closed sign and I think “I just wanna go home. How bad can it be?” The Boy says, “Hey, umm, that says ‘Road Closed.’” You hear that? The Boy, the original DMFRH, has wise words. He exercises good judgment. I do not. I wave him off: “I think we can make it.” I am recalling two things as I say this: sometime ago I bought my wife a brand new 2006 Saturn Ion and as we drove from the dealership, we got caught in a freak Colorado Springs hail storm/monsoon and the car is forced to go through a 3 foot deep puddle and does it with flying colors. I also think that the last time I was as tired as I was on Wednesday night, I had a hallucination that a T-Rex stomped out onto the freeway and I swerved my car around its foot. I had a hallucination about an animal that hasn’t existed for 65 million years and acted accordingly. But this time my kids are in the car.
I breezed through the first Road Closed sign. Then the second. That’s 2 written warnings. The Boy is giving me his “what the fuck are you doing?” face. Warning number 3. I ignore them all. How bad can it be? I see the water, don’t believe it looks that bad, and hit the gas. I think we can make it.
We do not make it.
Mid-way into the puddle, which is really like a 30-40 yard pond, the car stops. Just fucking dies. We didn’t make it. Dammit. I am less concerned about the fact that I am stuck in the middle of this flooded part of the street, less concerned about that might have happened to my car, than I am about having to admit to The Boy that he was right. And he’s already in “I told you so” mode: “Road Closed! Didn’t you see the sign? Road Closed. What are we gonna do now?” I do have to say the Honey Badger didn’t even look up until she realized the car stopped moving. “Do we have to walk?” she says. And then, “But my boots are gonna get wet!”
“Fuck your boots!” is what I’m thinking but I can’t say it because this shit it my fault. I had no plan B.
I jump out, put the car in Neutral and begin pushing. Let me tell you, being soaked up to your knees in freezing water wakes your ass right up! The Boy jumps in the driver’s seat and we steer clear of the bog. Car won’t start. Godammit! Police come, I give them a sob story, and they decide to be cool. “You’re a dummy but we won’t give you a ticket because it’s Thanksgiving.” They call a tow truck which comes after 20 minutes but can’t do anything because there are too many of us. We get to wait for ANOTHER tow truck. Fabulous.
It is 56 minutes of The Boy giving me the business and I can’t say shit. I’m cold and wet and the battery is dying so the heat won’t stay on consistently. My wife is texting because I’m supposed to come back to the hospital. Neighbor is texting because the kids are supposed to be there. I’m worried about the WonderDog destroying the house and I’m still REALLY tired.
Second tow truck finally comes. The Boy eases up. I convince him not to post it on Facebook—yet. We make it home and the WonderDog was sleep with the house intact. The Honey Badger won’t leave my side while the guy is unloading my car; he even tries the jump the car (it still won’t start). I drop kids off at the neighbor (who is still awake), go back to the hospital and confess the whole thing to my wife, who chooses to just roll with it or is too high to care.
So here I am, 4 days later, still feeling like a fool. Yes, I know I should have made a different decision. Yes, I know I should have just followed the detour. Yes, I know the Boy was fucking right! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Justine (my car) still won’t start: had a mechanic friend take a look and I gotta get a new battery. Maybe an alternator. We’ll see. But I figured I can’t give you highlights from The Boy’s exploits as DMFRH and not share my own.
I am DMFRH…and I earned the title.
The whole ordeal did make me think of this scene from Bruce Almighty:
Oh yeah, got my Mac back! $17 part, $39 labor (cuz the bastards wouldn’t just sell me the part). Back in business baby!!