Harry is not quite right


I suppose you could say, in a manner of speaking, that it all started with the tupperware parties. That was in our June Cleaver days, you know, you’re too young of course but I’m pretty sure you and Harry watched the reruns when you were little. Remember Harry at those tupperware parties – I think when they first started he was so little he could sit in the cake holder. I remember putting frosting on him one night, what a cute baby he was. Well, house and home was everything to everyone in those days. Sometimes I look back on it and think what in God’s name came over us all? It was like a collective insanity – you know, and then there was that backlash and everyone was taking LSD and singing and traveling around the country in bright orange camper vans. Those were cute; Harry got one in the 90s for nostalgia I suppose and fixed it up like he was going to a Brady Bunch reunion or something. Anyway, the tupperware. I got to saving just about everything in those tupperwares, and we have a basement with a wet bar, a game area and a lot of storage just in case of Armageddon, you know, all packed with water, canned goods, medicines, the kind of thing you might need just in case. I don’t like to be predicting doom all the time, you know, so I did grow tomatoes and keep up with things, kept the house up to date. I remember hanging a shower curtain in the 80s that was just covered with sea creatures: seahorses, clam shells, dolphins, starfish. Very pretty, as I recall. Things were complicated just then, what with the Cold War and the man with the shoe who kept pounding. I think his face was red, but our TV was black and white, so I may be misremembering. So I started collecting all sorts of things other than food and water and storing them in the shelves in the basement. Salt, aspirin, bandaids, socks. Things I could imagine us needing in case of nuclear disaster or a change in the divine plan. These were difficult times, and there were serial murders, and the president seemed to be having some kind of mental problem. So I started thinking a little more broadly. Like wondering what we might need if one of our own, or a neighbor down there with us, got a little disturbed. I picked up a few books on psychiatry and hid these in three inch deep rectangular tupperware behind the dryer, in case I needed to look up some kind of psychosis. The kids wanted some science projects, so we collected burrs and feathers, baking soda, vinegar, and safety pins. Then I thought arsenic might come in handy, a few knives for skinning small animals in case we needed them. I had a hard time remembering the name of that drug that smells like almonds, or was it like cordite? Eventually I bought a book on Poisons and Poisoning. It’s a big basement, generally speaking, but still I couldn’t help imagine being listened to, followed through the low halls under the stairwells that led to the semi-hidden rooms where the weapons were kept. Sometimes I heard their voices, you remember, Harry, don’t you? Sometimes I forget that Harry isn’t here now. Remember when he spoke in his own defense? I was so proud of him. He learned a lot in that library. Law, chemistry, psychology, the history of death. He started painting about three years ago. I haven’t seen him since I fell last year. Those stairs are pretty steep for a woman my age. But he still sends me cards once in awhile. You’ve been keeping the crawl spaces clean and clear of spiders and roaches, I know, and I do thank you for that. So does Harry. Shall we have a glass of wine now, or is it too soon, what do you think?


20 minutes, long list of collectively generated words. Silly, innit?


2 Responses to “Harry is not quite right”

  1. 1 davis July 20, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I’ll tell ya — that harry’ll get you every time

  2. 2 Teresa July 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    That Harry – chip off the old mama, isn’t he?

    Thanks for dropping by, I’ll go take a peek at your site shortly.

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