Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Loser has a Dream

A few nights ago. In the dream, the Complete and Total Loser is standing in line with his father, who is 89. The line is for obituary submissions at the Loser's city newspaper. The obituary they are submitting is the Loser's mother's.
She is, however, not dead yet in either the dream or reality. But what the Loser and his family knows, though they don't talk about it, is that 2010 will likely be the year in which she dies, even though she is not bedridden or terminally ill. In fact, she still goes out, though not often, to "have lunch with the girls," as his father puts it, get her hair done, shop. Eating is the big problem, due to a nerve cut during an operation years ago that affected her swallowing reflex.

For years the Loser has taken pride in his lack of gluttony, saying half seriously that he eats only to stay alive. It's not entirely true; he has a sweet tooth and will melt butter to pour on toast on cold nights. But it's less true for the Loser than for many, and that seems to include his mother who, now that eating has become a task instead of a pleasure, has gone from being a strapping, broad-shouldered woman of 5' 10" to a frail old woman whose doctor has told her she must get more protein or her recent heart problem will not solve itself. Perversely, she likes the attention she gets from people telling her, after decades of carrying 25 extra pounds, to eat more.
The Loser and his father, while standing in line, go over the documents they're about to hand to a clerk. This being a dream, the documents are the actual obituary. The Loser looks at it carefully. He shakes his head and says to his father, "Shit! We brought the wrong one. This one is mine."

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