Today's main mystery involves my dad, Howie. We were having our usual suppertime failure to communicate. I sought to ascertain if Dad desired more of the mac and cheese, asparagus, milk, or ground ham. He had already stuffed the entire brownie into his mouth, and had driven the fork tines repeatedly along the edge of the asparagus spears with his left hand in a strange ritual while holding his spoon vertical in the mushroom soup with his right. Dad grabbed my arm with his very cold, skinny, white fingers, and said clearly, "Let me show you what I want." He proceeded to tear his paper napkin into thin strips. He was sharp enough to know that the napkin, like all paper, tears best from one particular edge. He had found that edge. Sometimes he held the strips of napkin and seemed to roll the paper. Was he rolling a cigarette? He hasn't smoked in four decades. Did he need confetti? A ticker-tape parade? Toilet paper? Bandages? Noodles? A shredder? Comic strips? Strips of bacon? A stripper? A fresh drinking straw and ice water? For all I could tell, Dad wanted Gypsy Rose Lee to bring him another brownie and realign his hospital bed to true north.
When I finally gave up, Dad was creasing a Kleenex for an origami clue. My brain hurt. I had to turn him over to the detached professionals.
I'm reading The Sherlockian, a middling mystery jumping time zones between Arthur Conan Doyle, James Barrie, and Bram Stoker trying to solve serial Whitechapel murders, and a modern Baker Street Irregular obsessive doofus trying to find his inner Holmes. Them that can't shouldn't criticize, I guess. And I can't write or solve mysteries. My inner detective is defective.
For over five decades I've been saying, "It's elementary, my booby Blab." Why, Watson? Because Dad and I were fond of the Quick Draw McGraw* cartoon show by Hanna-Barbera in about 1960. So fond that I El Kabonged my little brother over the head with the brand new plastic guitar he received from Dad's boss, Mr. Schaumberg, for Christmas. This was a bad big sister thing to do. Thanks to Wikipedia for helping me sort out the Snooper & Blabber cartoons, if not the napkin strips. It feels good to own up to my transgression.
*The series featured 3 cartoons per episode, one each by Quick Draw McGraw & Baba Looey, father and son dog duo Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy and cat and mouse detectives Snooper & Blabber.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder