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Old and In the Way: Dad’s a little out of touch

Skyped with the oldest son this week. I’m trying to be better about keeping in touch with children far from home. When, this weekend, it came out that the lad had received 9 stitches in his lip a few weeks ago and I knew nothing about it.. she asked the uncomfortable question, when did you last speak to your son… Ayeya.. uh… mmm.. no.. umm.. I texted him a few times back in October, no wait we talked at her Dad’s funeral, we travelled together after all. So not that long ago. Oct 15th or so. Just yesterday.

Fact is other than that I don’t really chat with him except when he’s home. He’s a Junior now, I’m used to his being gone, as they say “outta sight, outta mind”.

I’ve now been informed this is bad and I should call him. So I did. Skyped him.

We didn’t have Skype when I was in college. Good thing too. Wouldn’t have been good to have my parents looking in on my dorm room or my room in the Frat house, or anywhere else I’ve lived.

Call came up, there was my son staring back at me. I skipped “Hello” and went right to “What the hell happened to your lip?” See, you can tell me stuff all you want and I’m still not going to remember when push comes to shove, I kinda live in the moment thanks to my constant ADD and dedicated lack of interest in the affairs of others. Oh yeah.. Dude slipped in the shower and hit the spigot with his lip, split the thing open pretty darned good.

First question a father asks.. “Where you dunk?” “It was 9:00 am Dad” Well, you could have had an eye opener or two, I don’t really know what his drinking habits are, I don’t talk to him much.. or the more likely Saturday morning scenario, still drunk from the night before. Truth is I don’t think he really drinks much and that wasn’t my concern, but I had to ask.

“Did you damage the spigot?” next concern is my security deposit in the house he living in. It’s fine, thank goodness. Finally.. “That’s quite a mark you have there.”

Turns out, after the incident he got a ride to the ER in Hancock Michigan where the Doctor on duty stitched him up. By the time I’d talked to him a different doctor had removed the stitches and uh.. as the lad says “When he saw the cut and took out the stitches his first comment ‘oh no, that’s not good’”. What’s not good is the nasty scar he’s going to have.

“Did a plastic surgeon take a look at it when you came in?” Most of the times I’ve had stitches in my face I’ve had a plastic surgeon come offered.. “In UP (Upper Peninsula) on a Saturday morning? Dad.. where do you think I am?” Oooo “The don’t have plastic surgeons up here, I think this was done by a taxidermist moonlighting in the ER, there are a ton of those up here.” Ahh which explains the nasty scar. “Well” I said, “you may have disqualified yourself from the crème of mail order brides, I guess we’ll save some money on your marriage.” He didn’t get it, but had a good response “but they do have good ER docs up here who are used to stuff like this, especially on Weekend mornings.. lots of bar fights.” Hadn’t though to that. “Ok, so you’re in good hands.”

I did have to ask a leading question to outwit him some and try, for once, to get some more personal information from him. When he complained about how much it hurt last week, and how he had move an appointment with his advisor, this is the one where their prepping him for Grad School, because there was a “flap” of something hanging out the back of his lip that hurt when he talked.. ok so maybe he’s not in the best of hands. “Son” I asked “does it hurt when you’re making out with someone?”

At that point we lost the connection some how and I decided to make some tater tots and move on, the Fall Conversation was over. He’ll be home next week so I can grill him in more detail on the kissing thing.

I don’t know that I would have used a plastic surgeon if it were me, my first question would be “how much?” and realizing that when you’re as butt ugly as I am doesn’t really matter. I guess a guy who specializes in walleye mounts and deer heads is cheaper and just as qualified as long as we don’t go putting any marbles into my eye sockets.

This post was written by Gary Sankary and originally published on Old and In the Way. Follow him on Twitter: @sank

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