One of the rewards of working with the elderly is that I often walk away with some wonderful anecdotes. This afternoon was no exception.
"I don't believe in prestidigitation," said one lady sitting next to another. "That's a lot of hogwash!"
....Over the years, I have learned to tune my ears like radar when I am in close proximity to elders locked in animated conversations. I don't consider it to be eavesdropping because they tend to talk loudly because of their hearing problems.
....Another reward is that despite my age, fifty-eight, I am considered a youngster in their eyes. It's all relative, I suppose, depending in whose shoes you walk.
...."Young man," the lady said pointing to me, "You don't believe in that stuff, do you?"
....Not knowing how their discussion had begun or why they were debating that particular topic, I replied, "It's all sleight of hand. They can do some amazing things with cards and coins and such. But they're just tricks."
....Both she and the lady next to her looked at each other and then just stared blankly at me. I had that feeling that one gets when one dreams they are naked in a crowd of people, except I had awakened and it wasn't a dream after all! I became self conscious that maybe my fly was open. I didn't check to see, lest I make myself more conspicuous.
...."I didn't say anything about magicians, Sonny!"
....I'm sure you've seen those airline commercials where persons find themselves in embarrassing predicaments, and then the narrator says, "Wanna get away?" That's how I felt at that moment.
...."Agnes here says that our lives are written down in a book up there on God's desk. She thinks that everything we will ever do is already recorded in His "daily planner."
...."Oh," I said to her, "You mean predestination?"
....If she noticed that I had corrected her use of the wrong word, she didn't let on to the fact. "Of course!" she answered.
I can say the darnedest things too!
I felt myself getting into a bit of an ornery mood. "No, I don't believe that everything we do has been preordained. But I do think we are being controlled up there. I don't think we really have much freedom of choice. He is moving us around like pawns on a huge chess board."
....They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's true, you should have seen the astonished look on this poor woman's face.
....I didn't give her a chance to respond right away. "Well, maybe it's not a chess game He's playing. He's probably up there with the latest technology. I'll bet He's playing a video game, like Nintendo or X-Box. He's moving us around with a joystick!"
....She shook her head, got up from the chair and said to me, "You'll be punished for that disrespect, Sonny. I'm going upstairs to get my Rosary beads and pray for you. You should know that good Christians can talk to God."
....As she ambled off across the lobby to the elevator, I noticed that the other lady who had been sitting quietly the whole time had been joined by three other ladies and a gentleman. They were either giggling or were trying to stifle the laughter they were feeling.
....It was then that I received my very first "high-five" from a ninety-year-old man. "Son, you done good," he said. "That's the first time anybody ever shut her up for more than five minutes. She thinks she knows everything about everything!"
....Finally Agnes spoke up, "Be prepared, young man. The next time she sees you, she's going to be loaded with Bible scriptures."
...."I guess I'll have to be ready with a few of my own, eh?" I said.
...."You know the Bible? That's good," said the old man. "Which ones might you use?"
...."Well, I could mention that the Bible has a scripture that deals with letting teenagers use the family car." I had a captive audience, and they were anticipating the verse. "It's a well known one: Spare the (hot)rod, spoil the child."
....I smiled at Agnes as she began to giggle again. "Wait! I have a better one. Did you know that the Bible teaches us about football?" I felt a bit like a stand-up comic at the Improv. "The verse says: There were (NY) giants in those days."
....Now I probably would've been booed and heckled had I been laying those groaners on an audience at the Improv, but there in the lobby of a senior citizens apartment building, I was a hit!
....I guess you had to be there!