Monday, February 24, 2014

Naked Pictures of Nixon

           Okay, so the title of this piece does not conjure up a pretty picture. Believe me, I know. I’ve thought about naked pictures of our 37th President for several months now, ever since my husband brought them to my attention. But all I can really see are those black and white pencil sketch cartoons, like in the New Yorker and even in those, Nixon is at least covered with a towel. I can’t imagine real naked pictures of Richard Millhouse Nixon. You try it. See, it’s not easy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without a suit and tie on. He’s just not that guy for me. Now Robert Redford, no problem.  Those naked pictures I’ve seen in my dreams many times. But not Richard Nixon.  

           Little know fact here:  Before she became Mrs. Nixon, Pat Ryan once worked as an x-ray technician.  Personally, I think the ability to see through a man’s body probably helped her in the most intimate moments of her marriage. Either that or just shutting off the lights.  If I ever see naked pictures of Nixon, I fear I’ll never be able to un-see them.

            Here’s how this Nixon scandal came into my life:
            My husband is a restless sleeper. He worries about everything and he takes those worries to bed. He’s sought help for this problem from his doctors. And when I say doctors, I mean all of them: the general practitioner, the gastroenterologist, the urologist, his dentist, anyone with a diploma on their wall who can provide him with an “educated” answer. He’s even sought help from friends and neighbors with the same problem, which is, “just as good as going to a doctor and it’s free.” God forbid he should trust his wife who just tells him to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get up with the sun.
When the “doctors” advise him to take supplements like melatonin, he’s a great patient, always ready to pop another pill. He also believes in the “all natural” cures, which is why he’s such an easy mark for all those t.v. doctors. I point out to him that dirt is "all natural," but he doesn’t make the connection.
When we had our bathroom remodeled, I had the contractor cut a huge medicine cabinet in the wall behind a full-length mirror. It’s 16 inches wide and 5 feet tall. I thought we could share it. But no, it houses all of his supplements from those t.v. experts:  Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr. Suess.  One pill, two pill, red pill, blue pill.
            The real doctors who tell him to change his lifestyle to cure his sleep problems, are talking to a brick wall. He stays up watching old movies on television or surfing sports sites on the internet until 2 or 3 a.m. So he sleeps until noon. We have a DVR. He can watch television on any schedule. As far as I know, the internet is pretty much a 24-hour service too.  Sometimes I think he just doesn’t want to change because he likes breaking the story.  I watch plenty of news.  I’m also a speed reader, so it takes a lot to get the story before me and I think he derives a great deal of pleasure from finding something out before I do. During baseball season this year, many of those stories happened at 2 a.m., usually after a west coast Yankees game and they involved a Yankee player named Alex playing, or not playing, because he was, or was not, suspended for taking, or not taking, supplements which are, or are not, illegal or all natural under major league baseball rules. None of this is need-to-know stuff for me. But he likes it and he wants to share, regardless of my REM cycle or my early morning schedule of dog walking and pickleball.  (That supplement thing between him and Alex is mere coincidence.) It’s not always Yankees news I get at 2 a.m.  Sometimes it’s the death of a celebrity or the birth of a 2-headed animal. A lot of news seems to happen at 2 a.m. eastern standard time.

           When my husband finally comes to bed, he usually has nightmares that are loosely related to the last thing he saw on t.v. or on some web site. Many of them are violent and cause him to toss, turn and yell in a clear voice.  No mumbling. I get every word.
            When he yells, “Adrian, Adrian,” I know he’s not calling out for an old girlfriend. He just watched Rocky.

            After an old John Wayne movie, I hear, “Giddyup, bang, bang, pilgrim.”  And yes, he really says “bang, bang” and holds his finger like a gun.  The first time that happened, I was hysterical.  I couldn’t believe he was actually doing that in his sleep.
            Since then, there’s been the Clint Eastwood movie outbursts:  “Ask yourself, do I feel lucky? Do you Punk? Bang, bang!”
There’s almost always a “bang, bang!”  This from a man who’s never even shot a gun. 
Many nights, he automatically goes into the guest room to spare me from these outbursts. And I appreciate that.
He was not in the guest room on Nixon Night.  That’s what we call it now, Nixon Night.  He came to bed late again. He tossed and turned a little. I had nowhere to send him. My brother’s family of 5 was visiting and the 2 guest rooms were full. So was the couch.  When I could tell he was about to start yelling, I shook him to wake him up so I could get to sleep again.  That usually works.  Not this time. He looked right me, as if he were fully awake and yelled, “Naked pictures of Nixon, naked pictures of Nixon.”  He woke up the whole house and we all wanted to know:  What about the naked pictures of Nixon?  What about the naked pictures of Nixon?  The late night movie that brought on his outburst was All the President’s Men.  I’ve seen it a thousand times.  There are no naked pictures of Nixon in the Watergate scandal. There are some seedy lines in the movie involving Deep Throat and Katherine Graham’s ta-tas, but Nixon remains fully clothed in all pictures.  So what was he thinking and why?  He dreamed up naked pictures of Nixon just like I dreamed up my naked pictures of Robert Redford.
            Melatonin? Sleep?  He says he’s not getting enough.  And I’m not exactly sure what he means by that.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Cradle to Grave Bell Curve

     Ah, The Bell Curve.  I think I remember studying it in school.    I don't remember what I thought about it or why.  Looking it up today, I see that the first few Google pages of online sites devoted to it reference a study in the mid 1990s. Well, I was out of school by then.  So now I really don't know where I remember it from.   Maybe I'm confusing it with playing the bells in music class, or drawing bells in art class.  Whatever.

     Why am I even thinking about this?  It's all I'm thinking about these days because I've discovered a new application for that Bell Curve and I'm going to call it The Cradle to Grave Bell Curve.  It takes into account a person's age and the amount of time expected to address the needs of that person at a certain age.  Simply put, if you draw the bell and assign ages to the up and down slopes, my observation has been that the same things that happen on the up-slope will happen on the down-slope.  Stay with me here.  I'll clear it up.

     Babies want it NOW, or they cry.  Toddlers want it NOW, or they scream.  Young children want it NOW or they throw tantrums.  Teenagers want it NOW or they rebel, regardless of the consequences that often result in the parental-infliction of pain.

     Then it all tapers off.  Young adults have the idea that it's all just beginning.  There's plenty of time for them to get a good job, find a partner, raise a family.  We discover the blissful feeling of procrastination.  Tomorrow is when things will happen.  There's no good reason to do everything today.  Then, it all changes again when old age hits.  And it hits hard.

     Currently, I'm in a household with an 86-year-old and a 90-year-old and it's fascinating (and exhausting) to observe the down-slope of my Cradle to Grave Bell Curve.

     No matter what he needs, 86-year-old Dad wants it NOW!  Ice cream, cookies, coffee, a pen, a napkin, whatever.  If it doesn't come now, he quickly asks what's wrong with me.  (And that's the only thing he does quickly these days.)

     Each time I explain that nothing's wrong.  I'm just busy.  But he keeps asking.  He doesn't get it.  Neither would a baby on the up-slope.

     My experience with children is limited to my nephews and the  children of friends.  But I can still draw the parallel on the Bell. 

     When I tell 90-year-old Aunt Sophie we're going out to lunch, she gets her jacket on and stands at the door, even if I just said, "We're going out to lunch in 20 minutes."  She doesn't want to be late.  And she'll stand at the door waiting.  Of course, seeing that, I  rush around to leave NOW!  (Is she using psychology on me? Nah.  Hmm?)

     I'm trying to be more understanding.  After all, I'll be there some day (if someone doesn't shoot me in frustration first).  I'm sure Dad and Auntie somehow soothed my demands when I was very young.  So I feel the need to reciprocate now.  And the fact that they act like children really makes me believe it's payback.  But here's the scary part:  Aunt Sophie and her brother (my father) are 4 years apart.  So are my brother and I.  Someday, I expect my nephew Kyle to come to the realization that there's a Cradle to Grave Bell Curve.  And when he does, I'll probably have my jacket on, ready for him to take me to lunch at the same time his father is demanding a cup of coffee NOW!

     Good luck Kyle and thank you NOW.