This tale will undoubtedly offend some. I don’t care. My circus. My monkeys.
End of life impressions.
It’s something I never gave much thought until my best friend had a serious scare.
A few months ago he went to his doctor wondering why he had heartburn (you can all see it coming, right?). He was put through some tests and ended up being admitted to the hospital for an exploratory procedure.
Heart disease runs in his family. It claimed his father at 38.
His big brother fell short of a heart attack, but had stents installed to remedy blocked arteries. He called bro and felt reassured. “Yeah,” his brother said. “That’s how I felt, too. But you get the stents done and you’re home the next day and you feel great! So much more energy.”
My friend figured that wasn’t so bad. He checked in, and closed his eyes…
…and woke up to find he’d had a triple bypass and would be in the hospital for a week. He was totally unprepared. Shocked.
He is the buff guy. The one who works out and has salad when others order steak. A glass of red wine while others down multiple Martinis.
Then there were complications. A blood clot. More hospital time.
When it was all over and he’d made a remarkable recovery in record time (so it does pay to stay in shape), we talked from the perspective of a few weeks.
I should mention here that he used to be an actor, a comedian. He got tired of the struggle it takes to make a living at it, so he moved on. But he still has the gift. He can make me laugh like no one else. His are the tales I’ll think of while standing in line, or on a subway or bus…alone…and burst into loud, unstoppable laughter. The kind that makes people cross to the other side of the street and pull their children closer. The guy is that funny.
Maybe not to everyone. But to me…oh, yes.
We spoke of many things, but my friend said that the first ‘project’ he tackled upon finally returning home and being once again on his own, was to ‘clean things out.’
“What do you mean? Your place is spotless.”
“No, Cat. I mean…you know…get rid of things.”
I was still mystified. “What? Like donate stuff to Good Will? Have a garage sale? What?”
A moment of silence rife with reluctance, and then… “I got rid of stuff I don’t want left behind if I die…you know…suddenly. Stuff I don’t want people to find when they go through my place. Things I don’t want to be remembered for.”
“Porn, Cat! Porn! I got rid of all my porn.”
“Are you kidding? I mean, I didn’t see anything. How much could you have?”
“Enough to fill a couple of those giant garbage bags. I tell ya, I was hefting it like some kind of perverted Santa Claus. Scared I’d kick it in the elevator on the way down…the stuff would spill out, and the doors would open on Girl Scouts selling cookies…Mothers with children…Nuns…” He sighed. “Hell of a last impression…”
And that’s the image that’s to blame for my uncontrolled hilarity while standing in the grocery line today.
This guy is the best monkey in my circus…and I’m glad he’s still here.