Last week, my dad asked me to make an appointment for him at my chiropractor’s office. I called and spoke to the chiropractor’s secretary, let’s call her Debbie. We went through the various pleasantries and questions until she asked me, “What’s your dad’s birthday?”
I immediately responded with the proper date. But the year had me stumped. Please keep in mind, Willa was fussing in the other room, Ellen was saying my name repeatedly, and Adam was tugging on my pants wanting to know what was for dinner (at 10am). I knew how old Dad was. But for the life of me, I couldn’t do the subtraction fast enough to figure out the year. So I guessed. “Um, ’65?”
Debbie was polite enough just to pause. I continued, “Honestly, I can’t remember right now. Can I get back to you on that one?”
“Sure, sweetie. You call and check on that and get back with me if you find out it’s something different, okay?”
I had the vague suspicion I’d just been “handled,” but there wasn’t any time to ponder it, what with all the needs requiring my immediate attention. I called my folks shortly thereafter and was properly corrected on the year. When I notified Debbie, she said, “Well, I wondered. I was trying to figure out how he fit all those kids (there’s nine of us) into such a short amount of time…”
I laughed it off and went back to the urgencies of my brood. Until the next time I walked into the chiropractor’s office and Debbie greeted me with, “Here she is! The daughter of a really young guy!”
Har har. I saw my brother in the waiting room and realized my dad was there, too. About that time, the chiropractor wandered by and said, “Nice arithmetic there, genius!”
I rolled my eyes. Later, I snuck in to say hi to Daddy and he greeted me with a grin. “Trying to make me younger, huh? Well, you never were any good at math.”
He was right about the math thing. But I stomped my foot anyway. “How many people did that woman tell that story to? So I can’t subtract in my head with five voices screaming at me? Sue me!”
We all had a good laugh at my expense and went on with our day. The next week, I knew that the chiropractor would be out of town toward the end of the week and that if I wanted to get an adjustment, I would need to go in by Tuesday. This was the week we went to see my grandparents and had the house painted, so I was a bit discombobulated. And I had a headache. I waited until Andrew was home in the afternoon and called Debbie.
“Hey, is there still time for me to come in today?”
“Honey, they’re all out of town.”
“No, I thought someone would be in the office until Tuesday!”
Again, Debbie was polite enough to pause a beat and let my decrepit brain wheels churn to life.
“Wait. What day is it?”
Of course it is.
For the record, my dad is a young guy. Just not quite that young. Whatever that young is. I can’t be bothered to figure out how young I made him. That would require, you know, actual math. And for somebody who has no idea what day it is, I’m afraid that’s asking entirely too much.