Thursday, August 17, 2006

Beautiful Girl Hair

Today I was called to the bedside of a woman who had just died in one of our intensive care units. Her husband and daughter and several other family members were there, staring at her, grieving. I focused almost immediately on her husband (I did not know his relationship at the time) as he wore a look of utter despair.

I took his empty hand and spoke calmly with him for a few minutes, reassuring him that feeling pain at the loss of someone we love is not selfishness, nor is it wrong to wish they were still here even if that meant more suffering. These feelings are the other side of love.

Their daughter sat down next to us eventually and turned my attention toward her. After establishing that her mother had been sick for some time she told me that she felt numb. She had been crying and grieving for the past three days as they watched their mother fade, but now she felt very little. I reassured her that the emotions of grief often make very little rational sense and that they move in and out like storms, often unexpectedly. She nodded in agreement and said "I'm sure I'll hurt more later on, but I just have to say, you have great hair. I'm sorry, I know this isn't the right time, but I just had to say that."

We both laughed and I assured her that I would have to share that with my wife who encourages me to keep it the way it is.

When I was younger I played a video-game called "Sam N Max: Hit the Road," which I credit with shaping my sense of humor. In the game you controlled a cartoon dog and rabbit, trying to solve the mystery of missing sideshow attractions. You could controll the dialogue by selecting from four choices of types of responses. You could push the "?" and they would ask a question, the "!" and they would say something intense, or you could push the image of a rubber duck and they would say something non-sequiter. From time to time in my life, especially in the hospital, I get the feeling someone is enjoying pushing the duck button.


B. Utter said...

I don't know any better way to respond to so candid and moving a post than with a contribution of trivial piffle.
The following are some of the more memorable--well, less immediately forgettable--quotes from Sam n' Max. (My thanks to IMDB).
S&M (catch that? huh?) probably had as large a shaping influence on my adolescent sensibilites as anyone save Calvin & Hobbes.

Sam: My mind is a swirling miasma
of scintillating thoughts and
turgid ideas.
Max: Me too.

Sam: Let us ride the "Cone Of Tragedy," or my partner here will chew off all your tattoos.
Max: Not bloody likely.

Sam: I haven't seen that much twine since that night in Tokyo in '68.

Sam: I can now control the speed and direction of the rotating diner via these mounted binoculars!
Max: That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Sam: [Speaking to a hotel concierge] You know, you look just like Evelyn Morrison; famed B-movie star.
Evelyn Morrison: I AM Evelyn Morrison, you cur!
Sam: Actually I'm more of an Irish Wolfhound than a cur... I've seen all your movies!
Max: My favorite was "Robot Terror From Beyond the Galaxy"
Sam: Is that the one where the alien says "Klaatu barada nikto"?
Max: No, that's "Vampires In Prison"


M. Lumpkin said...

The first quote is my favorite and indicative of the intense wit and intellect that Steve Purcell brought to the writing.

I have to say I'm intensely skeptical about Brandy's having played Sam N Max. However, if it is true, she is an even dearer friend than I had dared believe.


Joshua Daniel Franklin said...

Heh. I'd never made the connection, maybe that helps explain my love of non sequiturs. ("nons sequitur"? I need some latin here.) Or maybe it was all the Monty Python.