"What?" I almost slammed on my brakes of my car, so unexpected was this phone call.
Now that he had my attention, Theo continued. "I have red bumps all over my body and I'm itching like crazy! And I can't talk no more, because my arms just itching too much. Ow! Ow! Ow!" And then, there was a click.
"TJ thinks he has chickenpox," I informed Corb, after I had picked him up from the hotel for the night.
Corb gave me "the face." "Don't be ridiculous," he said. "He probably has poison ivy. You can get that all year round, you know. My favorite employee at work, Don, told me that it's actually more common this time of year than in the summer."
"I doubt he has poison ivy," I said.
"Well, then maybe he's got a rash. Or herpes."
I punched Corb on the arm. "He says he's covered in little red bumps. What if he really does have it?"
"Have you ever had it?" Corb asked. "It's worse when adults get it, you know."
"I know! You have, right? If not, you could become infertile! And that would be bad, Corb, bad!"
Corb made a face. "As if that really matters. When am I ever going to need to be fertile?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" I said, being ridiculous. "There are hundreds of lesbians out there that are just dying to use your spunk to impregnate themselves!"
Now Corb really made "the face." "Oh really?"
"With a turkey baster, and everything!"
Corb contemplated the situation. "How much does it pay?"
Fifteen minutes later, we arrived home, and I rushed in to see what my poor son had been afflicted with. Was it chicken pox, measles, or simply a plague of locusts? "Theo!" I cried, the minute I entered the homestead. "Show me these bumps of yours!"
Theo was sitting on the couch, working on his homework. "Right here, Daddy," he said, and lifted up his arm.
He proudly displayed a big mosquito bite on his right arm. It looked as though he had scratched the hell out of it. I made a face and looked over at Corb, who tried to stifle a grin. "Is it anywhere else?" I asked, trying to give Theo the benefit of the doubt.
He showed me his left arm. I grabbed it and felt up and down. "Um, I don't see anything, Theo..." I said, still trying to be as diplomatic as possible. "Do you have any on your belly? Chicken pox usually starts on the belly."
He lifted up his shirt. I couldn't see anything. "But it itches like crazy!" he assured me, scratching everywhere, furiously.
"He says he itches like crazy," I reported to Josie, later that night. "But I couldn't see anything except a bug bite. Oh, and every time I ask how it is, he scratches up a storm. But it's only when I remind him about it that he actually does it."
"Oh dear. Where is he now?" asked Josie.
"Jumping on Corb in the bedroom," I replied.
"Hmmmmm," said Josie. "Sounds like he's a bit of a hypochondriac. Can't imagine where he gets that from...."
"What?" I asked, shocked. "Are you calling me a--"
"Hmmm, I don't know. Who is it who gets a pimple on their leg and thinks they're dying of cancer? Who thinks they're developing Alzheimer's? Who thinks they're going to die of a heart attack any day now?" Christ, she made me sound like Fred Sanford.
"Corb, you're not going to believe this!" I called out, in part to save Corb from Ashes and Theo jumping up and down on him. "Josie says that the kids get it from ME!"
"Can I see the phone?" he asked, sweetly. The kids giggled and jumped away. I handed it over. And he said, sweet as can be, the words I wanted to hear. "Oh no, Josie, the kids couldn't possibly over-exagerate every pain and itch they have, because Ted NEVER EVER EVER overexagerates every pain that he gets. Never! I don't know what you're talking about it."
Well, I would have thought that the conversation was over. Corb had truly said enough. But then, I heard him whisper, loudly, "Yes, it's true, and I can't take it any more! Get me out of this hellhole, right this instant! Help me!"
And I heard her say, over the phone, "Hey, you decided to live with him, you're on you're own, bud..."
No respect, I tell you. No R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Idol Chatter ***SPOILER WARNING***
Is it my imagination, or is American Idol about to jump the shark?
Part of the fun is always watching the pathetic losers who don't make the top cut--in part, because we can all identify with them; in part, because we can feel a sadistic sense of satisfaction watching someone else play the fool.
But last night, it just didn't feel right at all.
--It seemed clear that some of the contestants knew they were awful and that the whole thing was a joke (that so-called "biggest fan" at the end...I almost felt that she as deliberately planted as a contestant.) I have suspected this to be the case in past seasons, but this time, they couldn't even keep a straight face.
--Is wearing a military outfit an automatic ticket to Hollywood? Seems so to me.
--Some of the criticism seemed needlessly cruel...for example, Randy ripping apart the music teacher. I mean, that's the guy's living, for god's sake. Who's going to go to him, now?
--Do I really have any need or desire to watch not one, but two, spoiled whiny 16-year-old boys cry? No, not really. And then, is it really necessary to compound this first sin by showing their mommies coming over, with open arms, to tell their no-talent brats that they really, really are going to be a big star someday? I warn you, these kids are going to grow up to write annoying, stomach-churning songs like "Welcome to My Life," and I frankly don't want to endure it...
--And finally, the judges just didn't seem into it at all. They looked bored, frankly. Not into it. Going through the motions.
If this is what we have to look forward to, I might as well tune out, here and now. I'd rather listen to another tape of Paula Abdul on some talk show, drunk and insensible.