essays

Life As A Rerun        

Mary Tyler Moor and Dick Van DykeDick Van Dyke was one of my favorite pratfall comedians. I am Dick Van Dyke reincarnated -- if he was dead, that is. Not the REAL Dick Van Dyke, his character Rob Petrie.  Not the suave, handsome, skinny, well-dressed Rob. The klutzy Rob who is victim of his own good intentions or Laura’s missteps.

Except my Rob moments often have potential for serious injury. And my Laura doesn’t shake her hands and say “Oohhh Rooooob!” when I’m in serious danger. My Laura laughs at me.

Back to the beginning: Nancy goes on “streaks.” She will put up with a minor inconvenience for years - literally years - and then decide she has to take matters into her own hands and take drastic steps NOW. 

The flies have decided they would rather live in our house rather than just near it. With four dogs somebody is always coming and going. Make that going and going. We have a garage attached to the house with a “enclosed breezeway” by a couple doors. Nancy uses the garage and is always carting stuff from her car inside. So the doors never get closed. A few flies get in the house from time to time. Just a few, it’s not like a dairy barn or garbage skow around here.

Nancy decided she was going to NOT have ANY flies in the house. She bought those flystrips that cow farmers hang in dairy barns. The real sticky, gooey, ones where the flies have to run into the damn thing for it to work. She hung in on the back of one of the doors from the garage.

Of course I got one in my hair! You think I’m telling you all this for no reason? I. AM. PISSED. I leave it in my hair and storm into the bathroom (hardly able to maintain a suitable irritation factor.) I demand she remove the strip and wash my hair. I didn’t make eye contact with her or look in the mirror because I knew I would bust out laughing. No. I. AM. PISSED. Rob and Laura kissShe pulls it out of my hair. She pulls out hair with it. I demand she wash my hair - wash my hair woman! I know she is just biting right through her lip to keep from laughing out loud. So I dump shampoo in my hair - and the goo doesn't budge.

So I demand she get “something” to get it out. Vegetable oil! I heard that is good for sticky stuff. “No wait, get the Goo-Be-Gone.” She dumps it on my head, I suds up and it gets in my eyes. I mean, it is stinging like I’ve never had before. It really hurt. A hundred times worse than when I put Ear Wax Remover drops in my eye. So I start flooding my eyes with water and as they get better, I realize my whole scalp is burning like hell. After a couple more shampoos I am all better.

I looked at the fly strip just removed from my head… not one damn fly died for my suffering.
But like Rob and Laura, we kissed and it was all better.

Fade to black.

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

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