My Sound Mind and Body Are Too Loud.

The Next Family

By: Ann Brown

Okay, what did I miss?

I’ve been sick in bed. It was horrible. A TV commercial came on for a local production of STOMP and I couldn’t tell the difference between when the commercial was on and when it ended. You know, because that’s how I felt. Like STOMP was playing in my head. Cause I was sick. So my head was pounding.

Shit, I had really hoped for a stronger opening to this post.

My languishment, however brief, was nonetheless reveletory. Most notably, I realized that STOMP is a really, really bad idea. Maybe I’m just old, maybe it was the fever, but listening to people banging shit on things and jumping on shit and dribbling basketballs isn’t what the people are longing to hear nowadays. Maybe back in the early 90’s when STOMP first opened we could handle it. It was a quieter time then, what with the Lilliehammer Winter Olympics, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Belgium becoming a federal state rather than a kingdom, Mongolia holding its first presidential election, and the Irish sodomy laws being reformed, so settling down for an evening of crashes and booms wasn’t such an assault on the senses.

But life today is loud enough. Everyone’s cell phone is on speaker, for one thing. This is not a time to bring back “Stomp”. Especially with so many of us sick with flu. This is a time to bring back, I don’t know, semaphore. And laryngitis. And reading quietly at our seats.

Uh oh. An inability to handle loud sounds was one of the first signs of my dad’s dementia.

I am always a little bit terrified that a doctor will ask me to count backwards by 7 (they always tested my dad that way), or even to count forwards by 7, for that matter, and I will be declared incompetent – or dead – because I am unable to do it.

“Lady, are you okay?” they will yell, poking me in the shoulder like I learned to do in CPR class. “Lady, can you hear me? Count backwards by sevens so we know you are alright.”

I’ll need a pencil, I swear to God. And even if I somehow could convince them that I am really more of a liberal arts kind of gal as opposed to a math type, what if they switch to asking me questions like, “when is it correct to use ‘lay’ instead of ‘lie’?” or “who are your state representatives?” or “why do you keep buying kefir when you never drink it?”

Well, that one is easy: kefir is gross.

I don’t test well. I freeze up. I sweat. I cheat. And then I giggle and incriminate myself.

I practice at home for tests that might spring up when I least expect them. I attempt to walk a straight line every night from my bed to the toilet, imagining that I’ve been pulled over after drinking. But I can’t even do it in the hallway without having to touch the wall every once in a while. I think it’s my braless boobs that throw my balance off because I am not drunk every damn night.

If they ask me any math or geography to prove my sanity, I’m as good as locked up. Or any sort of athletics other than sock skating, but even then I’d need my music. The only things I can do pretty reliably under pressure are writing and playing Pathwords on Facebook. Oh, and I can make a nice brisket for the High Holydays in no time flat. Even with a houseful of judgemental relatives and only three hours until the fast begins. I mean, talk about pressure.  And I don’t skimp on the garlic like some cooks.

Okay, good. So if I ever lose consciousness or lose my mind or if I am ever pulled over for suspicious driving, I will write a clever little limerick on the spot, connect random letters to form words for points and ask for a piece of beef, flat tip, to stew.




[Photo Credit: esthearases]

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