Several years ago, my best friend Sharon's dad, Henry, retired, and immediately started driving his wife, Sylvia, crazy. Sylvia, who is Mexican-American, came up with a nickname for him - Chicle - because he was like a piece of bubble gum stuck to her shoe - she couldn't get rid of him.
Yep, Chicle. That's Jimmy since he's been stuck home convalescing after his long hospital stay. He's home all day. Every day. This is what Jimmy does to fill his days of late...
- Watches daytime television.
- Tells me what to do.
Um...yep, that's about it.
Jimmy sits on the sofa with his laptop on his lap. He stares at the screen, confused, then lets out a moan.
Aaaaagh! You gotta come here and look at this! I was trying
to send Joey one of those Facebook secret message things, and
now I think I've got it where everybody can see it.
Gretchen begrudgingly looks over his shoulder, then sighs.
Yes, you have posted the message on Joey's wall for all
to see, not in a private message that only Joey can see.
You GOTTA show me how to do that private message thing!
Jimmy, I have shown you how to do that private
message thing four hundred and eighty-seven thousand
(eavesdropping from other room)
That's an exaggeration, Mom!
Well show me again, okay? Is that too much to ask?
Gretchen shows Jimmy how to send a private Facebook message. ONE minute goes by.
Aaaagh! Did I do it again? I think I did it again! You gotta
show me how to do that again!
Four hundred and eighty-seven thousand and two times.
(from other room)
That's another exaggeration, Mom!
Gretchen sighs and walks away. Jimmy continues to stare, confused at the computer. Jude continues to be a tween.
Gretchen is in the kitchen doing dishes. Jimmy enters, all hyped up.
I was just watching that Dr. Oz show. We gotta get Jude to
eat more vegetables!
Really???! I never thought of that! What a startling scientific
discovery that Dr. Oz has made! I can't believe that I never
before knew that Jude should eat more vegetables! I'll get
right on that!
(from calling out from other room)
That's sarcasm, Mom, isn't it?
Gretchen continues to do dishes. Jimmy continues to talk about the need for vegetables. Jude continues to be a tween.
Gretchen walks into the living room and finds it in complete chaos. Jimmy is in the office pulling everything out of the closet. He has already emptied every drawer and pulled all the furniture out of the office into the living room. She stares, stunned. Jude is "helping" move boxes around, clearly not enjoying himself.
I've decided to clean out the office and rearrange all
the furniture. Jude's helping.
Jude gives Gretchen a sad, pleading look. Gretchen stares a beat longer, then heads to the kitchen to locate a hot poker with which to gouge her eyes out.
Jimmy continues to take the office apart but not put it back together. Gretchen continues to bang her head against a wall. Jude continues to be a tween.
Gretchen finds Jude in his room. She speaks to him in a hushed but desperate tone.
You've got to help me. You've got to get Daddy out of this
house. He's making me crazy.
But I'm right in the middle...
Get him to take you somewhere. I don't care where. Ask
him to take you to Larchmont to walk around.
But I don't want to...
Tell him that a nice easy walk on Larchmont would be
good for him to get his strength back. Maybe he will buy
you a Frappuccino or something.
I don't know...I'm kind of...
I'll give you money.
A compromise is reached. Gretchen continues to be driven crazy. Jimmy continues to be chicle. Jude continues to be a tween.