Saturday, December 16, 2006


This evening my mom, her visiting sister, my Aunt Gloria, my girlfriend (a truly cheap sounding word, given the depths of my feelings for her, alas) and I will together attend a party in San Francisco. My dad will stay home, unable to join us. Which is a shame because he has enjoyed prior editions of this annual soirée and many of his friends and colleagues will be in attendance. But times have changed. I and many others will miss his estimable presence.

I was at my parents’s home on Wednesday night when I overheard a superficially humorous telephone exchange between my dad and one of his favorite former graduate students.

Young humans are quite incapable of caring for themselves. Such that when their parents take their leave for an evening’s well deserved rest, invariably outside care must be sought to look after the young humans. To make sure that they eat their fish sticks, that they correctly put on their jammies, and that they wash, brush and floss before their bedtime. Though it is often a bit of a misnomer, especially with older children, such caretakers are invariably called babysitters. At least here in the U.S. I know there are many overseas readers, some of whom I’m sure even had full–time governesses to see after them, although surely not ones with magical brollies.

But I digress...

Well, perhaps not so much... The reason for my dad’s call to his former student was to ask the student, in my father’s own words: “to come and babysit me while my wife is out Saturday evening.” The student happily allowed that he could come and look after my dad. This made my father also happy. I am sure his sitter will see to it that my dad is well looked after and properly tucked into bed at the appropriate time. Maybe he’ll even get a bedtime story. (‘There once was a big, old Australopithicus Afarensis named Bob....’)

As charming and cute as the foregoing seems on the surface, it underscores the illusory quality of my dad’s seemingly good health. It also bolsters the import of yesterday’s post (which you should be sure and read). And finally, it reminds us of the seriousness of the reason for his to be looked after, and that just depresses me. And we’re just at the start of this fun house ride, folks. Hang on tight! It’s gonna get reeeally bumpy!

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