A guy I play hockey with served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. He’s a little bit outspoken, somewhat rough around the edges, but then I’ve been called worse than that and I’ve never served anywhere. he’s still working and sounds as normal as I do. Okay… bad example.
“How come you don’t have PTSD?” I asked him one day while we were lacing up our skates.
“I do have it,” he replied. “I got it from my first marriage.”
I thought that was funny and since I was in a hockey dressing room I could laugh outright and not look over my shoulder, checking for the P.C.- thought police. They are everywhere it seems and it even makes me angry to read the two daily newspapers we receive at the house. Just the fact that I don’t get all my news off my phone should give you an idea of how old I am. I’m as out-of-step with the times as I used to think my uncle was, and he was an old farmer who died twenty five years ago.
However, it’s gotten to the point where my wife is now inviting people who I regard as my nemesis into the house to eat with us. What did that guy say about his marriage giving him PTSD ?
Recently we rented a cottage on a lake. It’s about a ninety minute drive from Ottawa and I thought it would be the perfect spot to decompress for awhile. That is, if a guy who’s been retired for five years needs to decompress.
“Why don’t we invite Andrew and Eleanor over for one night while we’re up here?” my wife innocently asked one evening.
Both my daughter Rachelle, the only one of our children who accompanied us, and I were against it. I didn’t want to be disturbed from kayaking and fishing off the dock and Rachelle seems to think I can be an embarrassment.Imagine that.
But my wife invariably gets her way, mostly because even I know that it’s become unacceptable to carry on like Ralph Cramden of the old Honeymooners t.v. show. I’m sure that you can find reruns on YouTube.
“O.K.,” Rachelle finally went along with the idea. She then turned her sights on me. “But I don’t want to hear any of your politically-incorrect opinions while they’re here.”
Who?… me ?
They arrived with one bottle of wine and three beers. Andrew drank two beers while I did the barbequeing and was served wine from our supply. Throughout supper we were treated to Andrew’s monologue. He ran down a long list of his latest accomplishments, complete with all his opinions on the latest court decisions. He was so politically-correct that he’d make the latest C.B.C documentary look like it was written by a bunch of Alberta oilfield workers. I smiled, bit my tongue and drank myself into such a stupour that I wasn’t able to articulate a single sentence. In other words, my family was happy I was playing the perfect host.
The next day, after swimming, canoeing and a large breakfast, they started loading up to go home. Andrew opened up the fridge right beside me, took out the lone beer he hadn’t drunk and then the bottle of wine that they had brought. He loaded them into his cooler.
I was doing the dishes as I watched, almost breaking my jaw as it dropped to the floor.
I used to think it was standard practice to leave your host family with a bottle of wine. But then again, I’m about as up-to-date as a five cent bottle of Coca-Cola. The new code of conduct has left me back in the horse-and-buggy era. Now, if you excuse me, I have to go water my horse. I left him out at the hitching post.