You know those moments when you just say to yourself, “What the hell??!!” I had one of those this morning at the Elk’s Lodge. (Yes, we are members. Technically-speaking, though, I am the only official Elk – Elkess? – in our house. The Dude and the kids are my ‘preferred guests’ – which makes me feel all important and powerful.) The Elk’s Lodge may bring to your mind images of lots of old folks, outdated furniture, and Bingo. And it certainly has all that. But it also has $2 gin and tonics! $2 Jack and Cokes! No observation of any existing Blue Laws! Forty-something men with cigarettes dangling out of their mouths while testing the outer limits of the diving board! And all of this on a Saturday morning before 10!! So you can see why we are members. Plus, we like to think that, simply by our presence, we bring a bit of class and panache to the joint.
Anyhoo, my WTH moment came when an elderly male Elk disrobed poolside, and, much to the dismay of, well, everyone there, was wearing a black Speedo. Things really got good, though, when he proceeded to don full snorkle gear with fins. Oh, he also had a gold necklace that mingled with his grey chest hair. I wanted to look away, I really did. I even tried to rationalize it away – like, well, maybe he’s some sort of distant cousin of Jacques Cousteau? Maybe that gold charm on his necklace is a pirate’s piece-of-eight, and he’s trying to relive his days as an adventurer/shipwreck diver/guy who scrapes barnacles off of rich people’s pleasure boats? Sadly, I will never know – because at that moment child #5 decided to have a complete melt-down and we left for home.
Every once in a while, though I have one of those moments when someone says or does something that is so fantastically, astronomically, unbelievably outrageous that it’s like I can feel the soft pulsations of my friend Mr. Cerebral Aneurysm. At times like these, when I’m presented with something that I just simply cannot fathom and my brain (and I picture him here, as a sort of School House Rock-ish character, with skinny, angular arms and legs, and talking to me in the same voice as that Saturday-morning nutritional character – you know the one, the chorus is something about “A hunk-a, hunk-a cheese”? Yep, that’s him.) pipes up with, “Hold on. HOLD ON. I’ve got this. I’ve GOT this!” Here I imagine him rummaging through some sort of tool box as he tries to present me with a scenario that is more palatable/manageable than the one I’m currently facing.
This occurred the other day at work. I was about to discharge a patient when a family member turns to me and asks if they can take home an entire set of linen. My first thought was, “How would that look??” and immediately began to hear the soft clinks of screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, etc as my cute little MacGyver brain tore through his toolbox. Of course I said something very nursey-nurse that was polite and calm and passive-aggressively non-committal. But in the nanoseconds between her request and my response, this is what my brain presented me with:
All the hospital linen has huge bar codes on the back. I’m there, scanning everything through, like some sort of Emergent Bed, Bath & Beyond. I say to the family member, “And did you find yourself a duvet? And what about pillow shams? Oh, and don’t forget the bed skirt! Hmm? What’s that? Oh, no, bed skirts are DEFINITELY making a come-back! Har har har!! (insert fake saleslady laugh here)” And then, instantaneously, I’m transported back to reality, and I’m wheeling the patient out, and their visit ends with generic pleasantries and my standard sigh of relief. And finally Mr. Cerebral Aneursym recedes into the dark crevices of my grey matter, where he will remain lurking until my next WTH moment.