Even More Racoons


22 September 2017

“Hi Dennis,” said Ted, “I’ve been staying at my mom’s place for the past five days. Caught three more racoons. One was a big bugger, about forty pounds. I didn’t like it though. I gave up trapping years ago, swore I’d never do it again. The problem was I set a live trap and my brother was supposed to check on it, which, of course, he didn’t. So, I had to take this animal out of the cage and kill it. It hurt me. What am I going to do?

“My mother is really going batty. She asks me the same question over and over again. What is that?”

I said, “My wife used to work with clients who had dementia or Alzheimer’s. It could be one of those.”

“I saw a program on tv, a scientist said that the brain doesn’t deteriorate. That’s why these rich guys have their head and spine removed to be frozen and brought back to life some time in the future. I guess you can’t always believe what you see on tv. My mother watches the wrestling channel. That’s the only channel she watches. I went in the yard for a few minutes, when I came back in I asked her who won that last match. She said, ‘I don’ know.’ She could watch the same match over and over again and never know the difference. My brother and sister are talking about putting her in a home. I was helping her clear her attic. I hauled down five boxes of boots and shoes. Some had hardly been worn. She has two extra bedrooms upstairs. I found bundles of dresses and blouses, still in their original shop bags, still with the labels on. What’s that about? Is she just acting like a big shot, showing people how much she can buy?”

I said, “I can’t explain women and shopping. If my wife and I have an invitation for dinner, she’ll ask me what dress she should wear. I’ll pick out something and she’ll say, ‘I can’t wear that. I wore it last time we visited, a year ago.’ I’ll say, ‘They probably won’t remember and what’s the harm if they do?’ I can’t figure it.”

“Katrina visited me a few days ago. Al, the guy she’d been staying with had beaten her up something fierce. What is it like when a person has schizophrenia?”

“I’ve known a few people who’ve suffered from that. Seeing, hearing, or even feeling things that no one else can. Difficulty with memory or paying attention. Disorganized thinking, such as trouble organizing thoughts or connecting them logically.”

“That’s her alright. She’s on powerful meds, but can’t remember to take them, so she gets shots once a month. She’s pregnant again. I asked her, ‘What’s this bulge?’ She said, ‘I’m having cramps.’ I said, ‘No you’re not, you’re pregnant.’

“I gave her half a tab of speed and she wouldn’t shut up. It was driving me nuts. Did I tell you that she has these long scars on her legs and arms because her veins collapsed. That happened because of shooting drugs. It looks like Frankenstein. She wanted to stay at my place, but when I told her I wasn’t going to give her money or drugs she walked out.

“I went fishing again — caught three pickerel. They were too small so I used them for bait, but I didn’t catch anything. Did I tell you about the muskie I nearly caught last week. I was sitting on a two foot wall beside the canal, dangling my toes in the water. I caught a decent sized pickerel, three or four pounds. It would have been good for eating, but I embedded three hooks in its belly and threw it back in, letting it sink to the bottom. After a while I got a giant tug on my line. I fought that fish for fifteen minutes. I was alone and drunk and had a hell of a time trying to get it out of the water. At one point I even had my fingers underneath tickling its belly. That calmed him a little, but I couldn’t get a good hold and he snapped my line. The world record is fifty-eight pounds. I don’t think this one was that big, but close. Do you know how much fishing line costs now? Seventeen bucks, and a large lure costs nine. That’s ridiculous!”

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