I’ve been trudging these days. It’s been two weeks but an end’s in sight. From the moment the plane touched down in Akron a week ago Sunday, it’s been work-theater, work-theater—non-stop. (Not only is it futher to Painesville than I thought, but it’s much less fun).

Here’s the math:

Twelve days back MINUS ten days on stage leaves two days free. Subtract from that the number of shopping trips to Marc’s with Helen (3), and we’ve a better reflection of true “down time.”

I’m not complaining, just venting. Considering that for the most part the only human contact I’ve had’s been with Whistler’s Aunt…

I need what Rodney Dangerfield would want. He used to make the “okay” sign with his fingers and plead: “Just give me one of these.”

That’s what I need: “one of these”.

It’s been a thankless run recently—-both life and the show. Shopping today, though, put it all in perspective. The lady is certifiable.

I used to think it was just that she liked Hal more. We’d laugh about it, of course, but it was more of a Tommy and Dickie Smothers kind of thing. Until it wasn’t.

A few years back, through the magic of extended families, we were heading to Columbus. “Twas The Reunion Tour: Hal, Margie, Helen, The Jersey Girl, and moi—all one car—en route to a funeral. Never dreaming I’d get an answer, just stirring the pot, I asked:

“Aunt Helen, since we’re all together today, would you finally admit for once and for all that you like Harold more than me?”
“Of course I do,” she confirmed.
From the backseat, incredulous in tone spoke the ex: “You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Did she really say that?”
“Aunt Helen,” I urged calmly, “We’re all adults here. I just want to make sure I heard you right. You prefer Harold to me?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”

FAST FORWARD. It’s November 17, 2011. Two years post-Reunion Tour, what with all the truly vital issues surrounding our family, one would think things might change.

(One would think—but not everyONE.)

Leaving the grocery we were discussing options for Thanksgiving weekend. Harriet, turning 80, is being called to The Torah.

“Do you think your brother will go to Columbus?” she inquired.
“I don’t know.”
“You must have an idea.”
“An idea, yes—but I don’t know.”
“What would you guess?”
“Aunt Helen, I don’t like to guess.”
“Please, Bruce! I must know your brother’s plans.”
“Well, honestly…you should ask him. I really don’t know what he’s doing.”
“Why would I call him,” she asserted, “If he hasn’t decided?”
“Why would I guess if he hasn’t decided?”
“Surely you know which way he is leaning.”

(It was time to end the colloquy).

“Aunt Helen, the good news is that I may not fly to Chicago Friday. If that’s the case you’ll come with me to Columbus.”

There was a silence even my mother could hear…and then:

“I’m not certain I would go.”
“What do you mean?” I erupted (more amused than angered).
“Well,” she uttered, (not unlike Jack Benny), “If your brother doesn’t go, why should I?”

I dropped her off shortly thereafter and couldn’t wait to call Dick Smothers. The more things changed, of course, the more they stayed the same.

Four hours separated me from another schlep east. Three shows in the next forty-eight hours and alas, that party would be over. The timing couldn’t be better.

I am tired. I am hungry, and I am lonely. Really, though, I’m not complaining.

It’s just that right now—at this very moment—I just wish someone would give me “one of these”.

2 Responses to “DRIVING MISS CRAZY”

  1. aunt helen says:

    It is interesting that in Law School they taught you not to ssk the witness a question unless you know the answer. Yet, you still persist with these questions. And you think that I am nuts? Wellllllll !

  2. m says:

    I’m sending you “one of these”. Catch.

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