Want a Dad conversation? Sure you do.
Dad: Hey, I can’t say what I want to say.
Me: Hmm. That’s going to make this a really awkward conversation. Lots of guessing.
Dad: Because…the person…I am talking…um…about…
Me: Do you want to say something about Mom?
Me: Is she right there?
Me: Awesome. This is like being a Navajo codetalker.
Me: You don’t have to say Navajo codetalker in code. Mom won’t know that’s about her.
Me: Fine. What’s up, Secretive Sam?
Dad: Remember once there was talk of people trying to drive you insane?
Me: Um. Oh, like gaslighting? Like my friend Chris said his wife did to him?
Dad: YES THAT.
Me: Is Mom trying to make you think you’re insane?
Me: What happened?
Dad: A person came to me today and asked if I took little white pills.
Me: The person is Mom? She’s going to know you’re talking about her now.
Dad: No. I am hiding by the back door.
Me: Oh, that’s not at all suspect.
Dad: She’ll think I’m checking the satellite dish.
Me: Because…you often check the dish? For…what, tampering?
Dad: STOP OVERTHINKING I DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME.
Me: Fine, fine. What happened with the pills.
Dad: So I said, “Yes, of course I take little white pills. I take a lot of pills.”
Me: OK. That’s not tricky. So far, so good.
Dad: You’re sticking up for her. Stop that.
Me: I am not. I don’t even know the story. Go on.
Dad: So she said, “Do you keep your pills in the freezer?”
Me: Well, now I’m curious. Do you?
Dad: Of course I don’t. Pills are not ice.
Me: No, no they’re not. Why did she ask that?
Dad: That what I said! And she said, “Is this one of your pills?” And gave me a little white pill.
Me: And? Was it one of your pills?
Dad: Well, at first I was not sure. So I took out my magnifying glass, and I compared it to one of the pills from the bottle. IT WAS A MATCH.
Me: Um. OK. That was certainly thorough of you. Did she find the pill in the freezer?
Dad: You are jumping ahead.
Me: Sorry. It’s just that we’ve been talking for like a month now. About freezer-pills.
Dad: You don’t even know they’re freezer-pills, because I didn’t get to that part of the story yet!
Me: I used my powers of deduction. Go on.
Dad: So I said, “Yes, this is one of my pills. Where did you find this?” and she said, “It was in the freezer.”
Me: Aha! The game is AFOOT, Watson!
Dad: How come you’re Holmes? Watson’s a dummy. I don’t want to be Watson.
Me: Yeah, you should see the new Sherlock. Watson’s not a dummy at all. You’d be HAPPY to be Watson.
Dad: What I found mysterious about the whole thing is that the pill? WAS NOT EVEN COLD.
Me: Dad, it’s a little tiny pill. It’s not metal or ice. It’s not going to retain the cold. That’s not how physics works, I don’t think.
Dad: Always sticking up for your mother. Is it because you’re both women?
Me: SIGH. Go on.
Dad: So she said, “I found this pill stuck to a cheese bag. Why was this pill stuck to a cheese bag?”
Me: Well, why WAS it stuck to a cheese bag? Hee, cheese bag.
Dad: I DON’T THINK IT WAS. SHE IS GASOLINING ME.
Me: Gaslighting. Is there any way you could have dropped it in the freezer? When do you take this pill? In the morning, or at night? Do you hold it in your hand when you go to the freezer for ice or something?
Dad: STOP TRYING TO FIGURE THIS ALL OUT. She is TRYING TO MAKE ME THINK I’M INSANE.
Me: This is a very nefarious plot she’s hatched, buddy. I mean, way to start small, right? A tiny pill, stuck to a cheese bag. Heh. Cheese bag.
Dad: I think the words “cheese bag” are making you laugh more than anyone should. It’s not that funny.
Me: It sounds like an insult. “Get away from me, you stinkin’ cheese bag.”
Dad: Yeah, it kind of does. Heh. Cheese bag.
Me: Listen! I have a story about things in the freezer from when I was in college.
Dad: Is this a sex story? I don’t want to hear about you having sex in college.
Me: …I don’t even…what about “freezer” makes you think I’m going to talk about my sex life? You’re so weird.
Dad: FINE TELL THE STORY. But if there’s sex in it I’m hanging right up.
Me: When I was in college, my roommate S. went out one night. I did not. She came home super-late. Or, early, I guess. I was asleep, I didn’t know what time. Anyway, she was super-drunk when she came home. I woke up and she was still asleep, but her shoes were in the bathtub and her skirt was in the living room and stuff. Super-drunk. These things happen.
Dad: Not to my daughter!
Me: Yeah. Heh. Never to me. EVER. ANYWAY, when she finally woke up, she was tearing the house apart looking for something. All over the place. And I said, “What are you looking for?” and she said, “I can’t find my keys, I had them when I got home last night, but now they are GONE.” And we looked for a while, but they were nowhere to be found. So it was hot, and I went to get a popsicle, and in the freezer? Her keys. So I was all, “S.! I have found your keys. Did you get something out of the freezer last night?” and she was all, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DID LAST NIGHT.” And that sums up college well, I think.
Dad: What does this have to do with me? I’m not drunk in the mornings when I take my pill.
Me: I know. I’m just saying, sometimes things end up in freezers. It’s not without precedent.
Dad: Someday, your mother is going to call you up and say, “I had your father committed, because he was crazy.” When that day happens, please come spring me out of the pokey.
Me: I don’t think you call the mental institution the pokey. I think it’s the nuthouse or something.
Dad: It’s the same thing. You have to come get me out. You know I’m not crazy. I did not put a pill in the freezer. Why would I do that?
Me: OK, Dad. I promise. I’ll bake you a cake with a file in it.
Dad: THIS IS NOT FUNNY.
Me: It’s a little funny, you cheese bag.
When I talked to my mom, she said, “Your father said those pills are so small he drops them all over the place and he probably had one stuck to his hand when he reached into the freezer for the bread. He makes everything a huge story. I can’t even IMAGINE where you and your brother get your storytelling tendencies. Not from the NEIGHBORS, that’s for sure.”
I think the funniest part of this story is that Dad went on and on and ON about how Mom was trying to drive him crazy but then he told her that he probably did it after all. Or maybe he just told her that she she wouldn’t think she won the gaslighting?
Sometimes I think it was a very good thing my life didn’t lead me to marriage. I would be extraordinarily bad at this.