Remember how Doris broke her wrist? Remember that she was in the hospital visiting Sly (honestly, I would have not let anyone or anything pry me out of that house while Sly was confined to a hospital bed – I would have been rejoicing at having some peace and quiet) and she fell and broke her wrist, which was awful for her because she is already so frail and has such a hard time with things and she sure didn’t need an injury?
Do you see all the peace and quiet and Alone in this photo? I do and it makes me smile.
She and Sly sued the hospital. They sued for Doris’ pain and suffering.
And they sued for loss of consortium.
Me: Just how much consortium does a man your dad’s age have? What's that loss worth - a dollar?
Me: No boundaries. What is it with your dad? Honestly!
Primo: Oh, it’s not just him. Ted is just like that. And so is Jack.
Me: What do you mean?
Primo: Jack told me that he has to get manscaped.
Primo: You know – shaved. Sculpted. Like a Brazilian for a guy.
Me: But why?
Primo: Because he’s divorced now and has re-entered the dating world.
Me: Not why did he do it? Why did he tell you about it? Why do they tell you these things?
Primo: Don’t you talk about this kind of thing with your mom and your sister?
Me: No! No! I do not! Nobody in my family has ever asked me if I’ve seen Deep Throat. Nobody in my family has ever discussed the state of her pubic hair with me. Nobody in my family has ever discussed sexual practices with me.
Primo: That’s because you are from a repressive Catholic family.
Me: Nope. Not repressive. Just appropriate. My parents got those Time-Life books about the reproductive system and taught us about sex – in an age-appropriate way – when I was in second grade. I’ll bet your mom and dad didn’t do that. By the time we had sex ed in sixth grade – in my CATHOLIC school – I already knew all that stuff.
Primo: I don’t remember if my parents talked to me about sex – I mean, the sex education kind. But I’ll bet your mom and dad didn’t talk to you about the non-clinical aspects.
Me: Like what?
Primo: You know – about if pre-marital sex is OK, about birth control.
Me: You think my parents were prudes? My mom got pregnant on her honeymoon and got pregnant again a few months after I was born. They were getting busy.
Primo: You’re the one who didn’t want to share a bedroom with me at my mom and dad’s.
Me: Yeah! Because I didn’t even KNOW them! And because no boyfriend’s parents had ever suggested that before. Nobody I know does that. Nobody.
Primo: My parents think you’re a prude.
Me: Whatever. I don’t care what they think about me and I really don’t care to know what they think about my sex life. And as far as my parents being prudes – my dad and I were packing the car the night before he and my mom were going to drive me to Houston to start college. I was seventeen. My dad says, super casually, “By the way, if you’re going to get laid, use protection.”
Primo: What did you say?
Me: I was shocked! “Dad!” I said. “You know I don’t believe in pre-marital sex!”
Me: Well, I didn’t! I had been taught you wait for marriage. It is not that unusual for people who go to church to believe that kind of thing. I guess your mom and dad think that everyone should be having sex all the time, even if they are teenagers.
Primo: My dad for sure thinks he should be having sex all the time. He was really ticked at his loss of consortium.
Me: He probably has more consortium than you and I do.
Primo: Yeah, well it's easy to have time and energy for consortium when you are retired and your wife does all the housework and cooking and you don't do anything all day but sit on your butt and watch porn. But he wants more than he gets, probably.
Me: How much does your mom want?
Primo: Not as much as he does. Probably not any. The way my dad picks at her--
Me: I know. He is always criticizing her and then getting annoyed when she gets upset.
Primo: Yep. He says she is too thin-skinned.
Me: Your dad is a jerk. Yeah, your mom is a little sensitive, but your dad is mean to her. I don’t think she is over-reacting to get annoyed when he criticizes her.
Primo: He tells her she is not doing it right.
Me: She is not his project. Lord have mercy. It is not his job to fix her.
Primo: He criticizes everything she does – about supper being cold and things like that.
Me: Maybe he could cut her a little bit of slack. Nobody said, “Sly! You are not allowed to cook ever.”
Primo: He doesn’t think that’s his job. One time when I was there, I asked my dad to help me put away the laundry that I had done. My mom was taking a nap and I thought we could at least fold the clothes and put away the kitchen things while she was asleep. He didn’t know where anything went.
Me: How long have they been married?
Primo: Almost fifty years.
Me: And he doesn’t know where the kitchen towels go?
Primo: He said he didn’t know where my mom’s clothes go, either.
Me: And he didn’t even think this was a problem he could solve by say, opening the drawers and cupboards and looking for like items?
Primo: Nope. He thinks that’s my mom’s job.
Me: And yet he considers himself a good liberal.
Primo: Well, he’s liberal for himself. Not for other people.
Me: Your mom was probably thinking that the only good thing about her broken wrist was that it was getting her out of consortium.
Primo: You're probably right.