Monday, December 11, 2006

life in the old folks' home

There is a Simpsons episode in which a sign hangs outside of Springfield Retirement Home: "thank you for not mentioning the outside world."

In a dazzling display of reversal, I would like to mention the retirement home to the world at large. Mostly because I work there. What? you ask. Does it take a Masters degree to call bingo? Yes and no. No, a four year old can do it. Yes, I am much better equipped to serve the elderly and dying by my study of ministry.

At any rate, today was bingo day, and I, as Assistant Activity Director of old folks' land, called bingo. Ella May yells bingo, by the way, after every letter I call. "B-12. B as in Boy (I have to do that for people whose hearing has gone, because B sounds like G when you're 85), 1-2. B-12". BINGO yells Ella May. "N-42", I half-shout. "N as in Nativity, 4-2". BINGO yells Ella May. And so on.

At least there wasn't a fight this time. We give out stuffed animals, snacks, and consignment store jewelry. Everybody gets a prize. Several brawls have broken out among ladies fighting over necklaces or brooches. I become a geriatric bouncer.

Things I've Heard in the Halls of my Old Folks Home:

from Frank: "I'm gonna punch him. I'll punch him. He (the roommate) tried to crawl in bed with me. You know. IN BED. He was gonna make ME the woman!"
Me: "but Frank, he's not...LIKE that, and your door was open the whole time, so...

from Ella May: "please get a nurse, I've dropped my dress in the commode..."

from Ed, to Hal: "my eyes are getting worse. the doc says I should have surgery."
Hal: "so why don't you?"
Ed:"too much risk."
Hal: "how old are you?"
Ed: "86"
Hal: "Well, then, what do you have to lose?"

from Ethel: "boy you're skinny. everyone who works here is fat. I was beginning to think
you had to be fat to work here." (20 seconds later to large nurse who walks in) "oh my, don't you look nice today?"

from me to Oscar: "I left your mail on your bed."
Oscar: "Why didn't you leave a blonde?"

from Lola to me: "LOOK at this, they put this bracelet on my ankle like I'm a prisoner or something. It's like I'm in jail and they think I'm going to try to escape."
Me: "Well, would you?"
Lola: "Of course!"

from Sam to me: "I've slept with 27 elephants."
Me, to myself: "Did he like large women?"
Sam: "I said, 'Susie, don't roll over on me!'"
Sam's Daughter: Dad used to work with the circus.


Amanda said...

Ah! Life in the retirement home. I was an assistant chaplain in one for a year and a half. We could compare stories.

One of my favorites was asking Anne how she was feeling that day. She stopped. Thought hard. And then held up her index finger and said, "Well, this one's doing okay."

bloghog@polliwogbog said...

That is really funny !! I didn't know you were working in a nursing home. Wow, what a awesome responsibility. Every day you are facing the fact that yours could be the last face they see prior to seeing the face of God or feeling the heat of H___. Notice I said H___. I did not write it out. I noticed you used the word "dang" in one of your writings. I temporarily excuse it only because you probably picked it up from some old lady and it just slipped out because you hear it so often. Try not to say that word. It may lead to something else, along with pinching, sticking your tongue out or peeing on the floor, just because you can.

Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...

Well, since I have no idea who bloghog is, I will only say that I will probably not take linguistic advice from someone who deems it appropriate to type the word God but dash out the word hell. Readers of the Bible will know that hell occurs frequently in the Scripture, proof that original usage was not meant as profanity and that mention of the word hell in spiritual context is something the Biblical writers frequently did. Indeed, the Jews trembled to write not the word hell but rather the word referring to God. The writer of the comment may wish to examine which should be more feared, hell or God.
I do agree that working in a nursing home is a tremendous responsibility and encourage everyone to do so in their local nursing homes, which are always in urgent need of more volunteers.