photo by Susan Kauffmann
During the years I’ve breakfasted out, I’ve met a few characters. I find it interesting to hear what they have to say. Murray is one of these. He’d been to see his kids, yet seemed in a somber mood, so I asked if something was wrong.
‘I’ve been reading about elder abuse,’ he told me. ‘And I realize I’m being assaulted by my children. It’s devastating.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Your kids are lovely and wouldn’t assault anyone.’
‘Well, ‘assault’ may be the wrong word, but I almost fell over the
I could have broken every bone in my body
baby’s stuffed dog lying right in the middle of the floor. Are you telling me it wasn’t on purpose? I could have broken every bone in my body.’
‘Murray, you don’t look where you’re going. That’s not Dorothy’s fault. YOU need to be more careful.’
‘She knows perfectly well I don’t look where I’m going. She should have moved it. Why didn’t she, Huh? I’ll tell you why….’
‘Come on Murray,’ I interrupted, ‘that’s ridiculous. You’re not a baby and Dorothy has a little one of her own to take care of. She shouldn’t have to worry about you too.’
‘Go ahead,’ he was petulant, ‘take her part. Who’s friend are you anyway?’
‘I’m your friend,’ I tried to calm him, ‘and I don’t want you running around with crazy notions about your children trying to hurt you.’
‘Oh, yeah! Trying to?’ his voice raised an octave, ‘What about that stupid electronic stuff they bought me for Christmas? I nearly poked my eyes out when I leaned over to read those buttons, and when I pushed the wrong one, the darn thing hit me right in the face. They know I don’t see well and don’t know how to use those contraptions. They did it on purpose I tell you!’
They know I don’t know how to use those contraptions
‘Oh Murray. It’s always a challenge to adjust to new technology and it’s good for us. You’ll enjoy it when you get used to it and you love music…..’
‘Sure, sure,’ he hadn’t heard me at all, ‘I tell you. Alex and Dorothy together…’
I couldn’t listen to this any longer and interrupted again.
‘Alex and Dorothy??? I think you’re really losing it. They wouldn’t hurt a fly!’
‘Maybe not a fly,’ Murray continued, ‘why should they hurt a fly? Their sick old father is another matter.’
‘What do mean ‘sick’? Are you sick? I always thought you were as healthy as a horse.’
Murray was on a roll. He wasn’t hearing me. He gets like that sometimes.
They want my money a few years earlier
‘They’re out to get me,’ he wailed, ‘they want my money a few years earlier. How long do I have anyway?’
‘C’mon, Murray,’ I sighed, ‘what did they really ever do to hurt you?’ He thought for a moment.
‘Aha! Alex bought me that Exercycle, that’s what.’
‘Exercise is good for you,’ I was at my wits end, ‘he got you the best bike money could buy. How can you possibly find fault with that?’
I may need a heart transplant
‘I get a cramp in my left leg every time I use the stupid thing. Note, my LEFT leg, I want you to know that’s the one closest to the heart. It’s working its way up to my chest a little each time I use it. Soon I’ll need a pacemaker, then a bypass, maybe even a heart transplant, who knows? I won’t survive that Exercycle and Alex knows it — he figured it all out in that little brain of his. What have I done to deserve this in my old age? I’ll sue them.’
‘Sue? Are you nuts? Where do you think you’ll find a lawyer who’ll take on such a crazy case?’
‘Oh, yeah,’ he responded, ‘I hear Joe is going to sue his grandson for aggravated assault.’
‘What? How old is the kid?’
‘Eighteen months,’ Murray said, ‘ he gave Joe a Charley horse bouncing on his knees.’
It was time for me to go home.
**Note: I recognize elder abuse is a serious problem, but Murray obviously had it wrong.