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Geriatric Park

July 3, 2013
I haven’t shared any recent conversations with my mother, but yesterday’s phone call really made me laugh.

    

It’s been hot here in Portland so I began with, “Are you keeping cool? Are you running your air conditioner?”

    

“I’m doing okay, but that air conditioner is loud so I’m not running it.”

    

“It won’t do much good unless you keep it on,” I said.

    

“I’m not paying attention to the heat. As a matter of fact I’m reading again.”

    

For most of her life Mom was a voracious reader, but over the past few years she’s stopped reading to spend the bulk of her time complaining about the sorry state of American politics and TV programming. I took her newfound interest in reading as a good sign. “What are you reading?” I asked.

    

“It’s one of those Grisham books. I found it on the “free” pile in the lobby.”

    

Mom lives at a retirement facility here in Portland. “What’s it called?”

    

Disclosure. And there’s something familiar about it.”

    

“Maybe you saw the ’94 movie. Only it wasn’t based on a Grisham.”

    

“Yes it was. It’s all high tech and legal—that stuff Grisham writes.”

    

“Check the cover.”

    

I heard rustling on my end of the phone as she grabbed the book.

   

“It says John Gri—ichton.” She struggled to morph the names together, no doubt hoping I wouldn’t notice.

    

“Does it say Michael Crichton?”

    

“I suppose it does. No matter; I’m familiar with Crichton’s work, too.”

    

“Really? What of his have you read?”

    

A moment of silence and then she said, “He wrote those dinosaur books—Geriatric Park!”

    

I nearly spit out my gum. “Geriatric Park?”

    

“Yes, that story about a dinosaur park where the dinosaurs escape and make a mess of things.”

    

Of course she was referring to Jurassic Park but I had no intention of correcting her. Mom’s been mangling her words more and more as she gets older and I think it impolite to constantly correct her. But I couldn’t help imagining my mother walking up and down the corridors of her retirement home, surrounded by triceratops and stegosauruses lumbering about with oxygen, walkers and canes, T-Rexes queued up to have their blood pressure checked, brontosauruses waiting impatiently for the dispensing of Metamucil wafers, and pterodactyls hovering overhead while waiting for a visiting podiatrist to trim their toenails. 

    

As for all of those product tie-ins for the movie—the lunch boxes and mugs emblazoned with the Jurassic Park logo showing the skull of a T-Rex—my imagination transformed that logo into the skull of a geriatric resident, much like my mother, scowling and flashing false teeth at the world.

 

 



Comments

30 Comments
That's a better idea than Jurassic Park 4.
By: PT Dilloway on July 3, 2013
That is hilarious!
By: The Bug on July 3, 2013
Now that sounds like something I would mangle! Too funny-
By: Shelly on July 3, 2013
Now that's Golden! A definite keeper. You could write a book with anecdotes of things your Mom has said. With you sense of humour and excellent drawing skills you may have a best seller on your hands. Think about it... seriously... before it's too late and you morph into a dinosaur.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 3, 2013
What!! it's Jurassic Park? Love it!
By: Cranky Old Man on July 3, 2013
Hee hee hee hee!!!! I love it! THAT would be a funny movie - a home full of geriatric dinosaurs! That's funny about your Mom getting her names/words mixed up - mine does that on occasion. I find that you choose not to correct her endearing and respectful. Thanks for sharing and giving me a smile today!
By: Carrie on July 3, 2013
Funny post, love the graphics to go along with the imagery you posted. I'd retire at geriatric park, but only if there really were dinosaurs! Bless your sweet momma!
By: Yolanda Renee on July 3, 2013
oh hahah this is priceless!
By: Kathe W. on July 3, 2013
When I saw your title, the EXACT same images popped into my mind!! Do you suppose we're related?
By: fishducky on July 3, 2013
This made me smile. It got me thinking of other books the residents might be interested in. How about Sense and Senility?
By: Bryan Jones on July 3, 2013
oh, this is hilarious!
By: TexWisGirl on July 3, 2013
Thanks for making me smile today :)
By: Susan Zutautas on July 3, 2013
I've never wondered about your age, but while reading this, I realized that you're probably around 45. At 64, I often use the wrong words. I usually know it right away, but your story about your mother made me realize that a day will come when I won't know it at all, and that it would be pointless to correct me because what good is correcting someone who is unable to improve? Peggy makes similar mistakes in her use of language, and she makes others mistakes too. For example, she puts things in strange places. For example, her pill box that is divided into seven days and stays in the kitchen, was missing for two weeks before I found it in the hall closet. I think Peggy and I both wonder if the other has Alzheimer's because hardly anything is scarier or more probable than serious dementia. What your mother said about "Geriatric Park" was indeed funny, but such things are funnier when seen as someone else's problem could never possibly never happen to oneself. Then the day comes that not only does it appear possible, it even seems probable.
By: Snowbrush on July 3, 2013
At least she is entertaining others while being entertained.
By: mimi on July 3, 2013
I love your mother and she's right about the politics. It's a mess is Washington D. C. I too live in a geriatric park. In fact anywhere I go I make it a geriatric park. Have a fabulous day. :)
By: Comedy Plus on July 3, 2013
That's absolutely hilarious. I love the scenario you describe. My mom always mangled her words, too. She was especially bad with our names, and I mean when we were young and she was not yet in the geriatric stage. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 3, 2013
Simply love the logo. Brilliant!
By: Jenny Woolf on July 3, 2013
Too funny!
By: Eva Gallant on July 3, 2013
My mother does the same thing...it's not an age thing, it's more of a "I don't care enough to find out for sure" thing. It frustrates/amuses my sisters and brothers, but it really infuriates her grandchildren.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 3, 2013
That's fantastic! I have an idea for the sequel: Geriatric Park II: You Damn Kids Better Get Off My Lawn
By: Al Penwasser on July 3, 2013
Your mom reminds me of a guy who long ago worked for me. I was going on vacation and was flying out, and he suggested I park my car at the Park 'n Ride and just take their "scuttle" bus to the airport. Ha! He came up with these every day! No harm, no foul, but a lot of good fun listening to him. Please share more of your "momisms". ;) S
By: Scott Park on July 3, 2013
My mom doesn't run her air conditioner until September most years. I have to insist that she turn it on. She says she's saving her money for my inheritance. May I suggest a cross-promotional item for your mom's new movie idea? How about Geriatrics of Fire? Inspirational racing footage without the need for slow motion photography.
By: Val on July 3, 2013
I love the geriatric dinosaur imagery, but I think you should have just let her have Disclosure by John Grisham and been done with it. Crichton has passed away, so he wouldn't mind. :)
By: Lexa Cain on July 3, 2013
Both fiercesome in their own way!
By: John on July 4, 2013
I love the stories about your mother. With that being said, let's hope you and I are a long...very long way away from Geriatric Park. (I have been following you long enough to know we are less than a year apart in age..although I am the older of us) That always frightens me a bit that older people don't notice the heat. My MIL used to sit in her house in the middle of summer and swear it wasn't hot. It was...like the surface of the sun but not so bright.
By: Cheryl P. on July 4, 2013
This is hitting very close to home, friend. Like your mother, I've lost a high percentage of my proper nouns and have to resort to, "ahh, you know, that book about big reptiles by that guy who used to be a doctor. . ." Please don't write about Mom complaining about the stranger that stares at her from the bathroom mirror. I'll be too depressed.
By: Jo Barney on July 5, 2013
Now that is adorable!
By: Stephanie D on July 5, 2013
Now that is adorable!
By: Stephanie D on July 5, 2013
Now that's a hoot. Your mother so makes me laugh. Of course, so does her son.
By: Hilary on July 8, 2013
Bless her heart! My Mom still drives, mows the lawn and reads 5 paperbacks a week by Danielle Steele. :) Reading is so key. It builds dendrites in the bran and keeps our Mom's young! My best to your Mom, Stephen!!
By: Michael Manning on July 21, 2013

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