Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Real Men, Part Two

Overheard in front of the elevator

The next day near the same elevator, the same two young women were gabbing about their nursing and health-care experiences, in particular moving people in and out of their beds. Karen, the one who's been on the job longer was speaking.

"You have to know how to move 'em right—really, Beth! You can really hurt your back if you don't hold yourself just right when you lift, you know?"

They began to whisper and for a few moments I couldn't make out anything they were saying. After a while they snickered loudly, touched one another's forearms intimately, and began to speak audibly again. Karen, who had so much experience, began giving instruction again.

"This one old black guy," she chortled, "God, he was a real lardo!"

I cringed inwardly. Evidently, "real men" didn't get stuck in hospital beds very often.

"The bastard just insisted he could move himself. He was wrong, of course! So when it turned out he couldn't and I had to rush over and try to save him from falling on the floor, he nearly busted my back."

"The dirty bastard," said the other girl.

"Uh, well, I don't mean that," the first girl said in a hushed tone.

I'd just given both girls a hard and very unsubtle look, and she had seen it. Maybe she noticed my own lardo gut. She then purposely avoided looking in my direction any more and just as purposely tried to sound self-deprecating. It was clear enough that she'd meant what she said. She was only embarrassed that someone had heard her say it. Maybe she was wondering if I might report her to anyone. I was wondering the same thing, but just as I often memorized the license plate number of a particularly bad driver, then later stopped being angry and let it slide, it wasn't long before I quit thinking about the heartless young women getting their just deserts—who ever gets such a thing, anyway? I don't think you can punish anyone enough to make them stop being themselves.


Some people are too tired or lazy to look it up, so I did it for you.

Definition -- flow in an irregular current with a bubbling noise, as of water; "babbling brooks"

Synonyms -- babble, bubble, guggle, gurgle, ripple
"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" — Abraham Lincoln

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