Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What's in a word?

We had a scare as a family. My father had been told that he may have prostate cancer.

Cancer is one of those words that is so common in our venacular, and we are not adverse to hearing it on the street about various aquaintances. But no matter how often you hear it, the commonality of the word, does not prepare you.When you hear the word cancer spoken about a loved one it sends you to a place that can only be described as pergotory. That simple word can have the most calm person go into a state of panic for what can be lost forever.

Panic for a life. Panic for the loss of a lifestyle and the quality of life has been taken for granted. Panic laced with a taste of death.

My father had a taste for this word. As he/we had a cancer scare. Having this scare opened up Pandora's Box and all of us seemed to find ourselves in Pandora's Bedroom.

As a child I had certain perimeter that I was willing to explore. As a child I would like to think that my existence on this earth was through immaculate conception. My parents did not have sex to make me. I envisioned the day the heavens opened and released me to earth... Celebrated in my miraculous birth and my parents full of love and wonder with my very being. The fantasy had been dashed away as my parents went on to have three other children besides me.

I am the eldest and believe in a bit of decorum. I believe that there are parimeters in your family life that should not be crossed and talking about my parents' sex life would be top of my list.

I suppose I had a belief that we kept our sexual cards close to our chests. My father was a prude and we never saw him naked. We never mentioned the word sex as a family. But the cancer scare brought the word sex right out into the open air. We learned that my father not only had a prostate but a penis to go along with it.

As my family gathered in my parent's living room, there was talk. There was talk about my dad. There was talk about the prostate. There was talk about his penis. There was talk about his sexuality? There was talk about the fact that he would rather die than not??? Than not??? What word are we saying here?

What are we talking about here? What are we talking? This box is wide open and they, they being my siblings, are all talking and joking about my parents' sex life. I was just listening to them with my mouth hanging open as if witnessing a lovetrain wreck: a sex wreck.

This sex posse went on a diatribe about how 'randy' my parents were/ are. All three seemed to go on with glee as they talked about the walls shaking. They had given my parents sex monikkers.They talked about the fact that my parents need a new bed every four years because they need more 'spring'... I do not know where I have been, or how far in the dark I was/am but glad I have missed on the 'noisemaking' since I left the house twenty three years ago. And I am eternally grateful that my bedroom growing up was far away from theirs. Apparently, my siblings did not have this 'luxury' or so they have bestowed upon me with an endless array of adjectives and adverbs to describe these two people that I have only addressed as 'Mom and Dad'.

Now, my family has me bright red with embarrassment , my mother is busy in the kitchen and my father is in the garage getting all the celebratory livations that are required for having all his children: (apparently the product of his loins) all in one house. And we were all there to be part of the celebrations as he was diagnosed cancer free. He does not have to worry about his 'manhood' for a while yet. 'And if that is not something to celebrate, he does not know what is'....This utterance has not come from his lips, it has come from my sister's.

My father enters the livingroom, his children abruptly seguay into other topics. And decorum has been brought back to his living room with a great sigh of relief from his eldest. As more people arrive, the gathering is becoming more civilized.
I am grateful that the grandchildren have always chosen the comforts of the reckroom for these family gatherings as opposed to the LIVING room with the scoundrels.

There are twelve adults have now meandered into the dining room, in a confined space and one must raise your voice to be heard across the table. One learns very early on to annunciate and support your voice through your diaphram if you want the potatoes passed. A lull in the conversation could be the perfect opportunity to tell a joke. But with so many people gathered there is rarely a lull so one has to pounce fast if you would like the undivided attention of the group.

My elderly, niave, cousin from Ireland, as well as my mother's baby brother have joined in the family dinner. There is a lot of frivolity as the food is passed around the table. There is a wicked sense of life. There is a sense of relief and there is a sense of thankfulness in our moment of all gathering together. We rarely have the luxury of gathering together although we live relatively close. Lives are filled to the brim with commitments and other somewhat benial things to fill our plates. And the fact that the cancer scare has passed it has caused a certain electricity of hope and appreciation for a healthy future and we are all glad to partake in the breaking of the bread together.

Now, I have rarely mentioned my dear, sweet, husband; BoyWonder. BoyWonder tends to like to be 'a mixer': a troublemaker: Johnny Mischief:. He always has a twinkle in his eye and he loves a good laugh. And he loves to razzle my family. He has taken upon himself to be in the centre of the table at this gathering and I am sitting across from him. He is in between my rude sister and my cruder brother.

He has decided to seize the opportunity to report about my younger cousin's band. He decided upon this topic as he knows how to get all these people started. This Pandora's Box has been opened afterall. BoyWonder is just poking at it a bit.

He clears his voice and addresses my father.

He says 'Have you heard of Neil's formed a new band?'

I glare at my husband. The table is too wide for me to kick him. The table is now silent as they are riveted to my dad and WonderBoy's loud conversation of importance.

My dad replies that he has not.

WonderBoy says that they are quite good. And with that he gives me a momentary reprieve. He has me breath a sigh of relief. He makes me think I do not have to whip the mashed potatoes at him. But just as quick as he gives me this gift, he takes it away.
He then sighs, an audible sigh that could be heard over the clattering of utensils on plates. He gives this long sigh and then makes certain that everyone at the table can see his troubled look.

I am going to kill him.

I glare across the table.
He's not!
He's not!
Oh yes he is...

Shame about how rude tha' band's name is. says he.

My dad asks 'how rude can a name be?'

BoyWonder has them all waiting. He has them all without food in their mouths. He has them all watching him.

'Weeeelllll, the band's name is Neil&Bob.'

And with that my crude, ruffians, that claim to be related to me, burst into volcanic laughter... All are laughing except for my mother and my elderly, spinster- could-be/should be-a-nun, cousin.

My mother says'I don't get it'

My cousin says I don't either...

The entire table is crying with laughter...

My mom turns to my dad and is getting angry for not being in on the joke 'What are they laughing at????' she cries.

And to my absolute horror,to my utter horror Dear Reader, from the head of the table, where all eyes are on him, He, my father, my uptight, never talks about sex,but now has a penis and a cancerfree prostate father, looks down the table and says 'Honey! You know...'

And then winks.? Yes, he winks.

My cousin screams in exasperation ' I still do NOT get it!'

My mother is frustrated' I don't either" and glares down the table.

Her younger brother fidgets in midlaugh and says" I don't think you wannna know!'

She rebuffs her younger brother and retorts 'Of course I do. Why would I still be asking?'

And with that, all heads turn to my dad. He clears his throat, and with a bit of embarrassment of a schoolboy caught behind the fence smoking his first cigarette says 'Honey, You know KNEEL and BOB'

He waits to see if it registers. We all turn to her.

Nothing and then, with a sigh, he says it again, except with the actions of a blow job.

My cousin screams' Mother of Gawwwwwwwd!'

My mother blushes and cries 'What kinda rude people have I raised????'

My dad shrugs as it really is NOT his fault. It's BoyWonder's. And he points at my husband and says 'it's his fault!'

I am guilty by being associated with BoyWonder.

My family is howling.

As that dear reader, this is how with a simple word, my entire notion of immaculate conception was blown out of the universe. The image of my father has shattered all the perimeters of my fantasy. My shattered notion of immaculate conception and pretty much every other sacred illusion that has passed my mind about my parents...

De Nile is not only found in Egypt.


mad muthas said...

mayhap you were adopted - or else the ruffians were. you sound far too nice to have such nasty rough siblings!

Anonymous said...

Dirty, dirty language! At the dinner table no less...I love it.

I love your dad. With the motions and all. I'm also glad he's healty!

Sayre said...

I, too, am crying with laughter!!! This sounds so much like my family...

I remember one "discussion" that revolved around motorcycles (a couple of brothers rode one) when my dad, feeling slightly left out said quite proudly, "I rode a Fat Boy once!" The table fell silent for a beat before the howls of laughter began. My poor, innocent father sat there getting redder and redder as he finally realized why we were all in tears and sliding under the table, helpless with laughter.

And dear reader, a Fat Boy is a model of Harley...

Andrea said...

Very glad the scare was only a scare and nothing more.

Oh your poor mother (and your dad, having to explain using motions).

Were I in your shoes, dealing with such embarrassment at the hands of my husband, I believe I'd be telling him to evaluate just how fond he was of Neil&Bob before embarrassing me like that again. Of course, I'm all talk.

Andera (

crazymumma said...

Hope your Mom and Dad celebrate his 'health' with abandon!

Christina_the_wench said...

You poor thing. But I am glad to see you back and that your dad is cancer free. We've missed you! =)

My brother-in-law, not unlike your husband, LOVES to bring up the topic of his in-laws having sex. My sister and I chant loudly, "LALALALALALALALALA" complete with fingers in our ears at holiday dinners. Maturity at its best.

Oh, The Joys said...

Oh man. To see your father imitate the kneeling and bobbing action. (head shaking in disbelief...) I am speechless, but laughing!

Catch said...

I was so happy to see you had a new post! I look forward to your posts like I look forward to the Readers Digest coming in the ( I read it from cover to cover) And you have not disappointed I know exactly where you are coming from on this one. My Father was always very prudish too around us kids. And I preferred to think I was a product of immaculate conception for But I have to say since I have gotten older Ive changed. When I read your post I thought how wonderful that your parents can still enjoy each other! I think its terrific that they still have a sex life. And I can understand how you felt at the dinner table, but I think it was halarious! God bless them! And what great news that he is cancer free!!!! I think if everybody was more like your parents there would be far fewer divorces.

Now about Boy Wonder...have you ever considered a muzzle???? (smile) Although I think he has a wonderful sense of humor!

Please dont stay away so long....I miss your posts...they are always so interesting. And on a scale of 1 - 10, I give this one a 10!!! God bless you Sweety!

Mrs. Chicky said...

I heart your family and their dirty minds. Glad to hear your dad is cancer free. I wonder how he and your mom celebrated? Hmmm....

Moobs said...

Another beautifully written and very funny piece. Damn you're good.

Some Catholic pedantry: the immaculate conception was the conception of Mary and not the conception of Jesus. Unlike Christ's conception, Mary was conceived by perfectly normal biological means. The lack of the stain (or macula) refers to the fact that her soul was pure and untainted, uniquely, by original sin. Thus it is perfectly possible for your parents to have broken the bed making you and for you still to have had an immaculate conception. However, your children may prove troublesome.

Rock the Cradle said...

I am GASPING here.

I think I love your family.

And I'm so glad your Dad is ok!

Jodi said...

I am so glad your Dad is healthy and rowdy as ever it sounds like.

However, if we EVER had a conversation like that in my family I would die a thousand deaths, of that I am sure. EWWWWW.

The other day my Grandma was here visiting and we were talking about Chad & I being married 15 years. She said, "when I was married 15 years I had 4 children. And my husband was gone to the war for 4 of those years. He said if he would have had a longer "pencil" we could have had 2 more". EWWWWWW. I said, "Grandma! Don't tell me stuff like that! I wanted to believe that my Dad is a product of immaculate conception". She just looked at me and shook her head and laughed. "Oh dear, why would you think a silly thing like that?"....never mind Grandma, never mind. EWWWWWWW.

I feel your pain, I really do....

Mimi said...

That is too darn funny! My mom always told me my dad planted a seed in her. I pictured him planting it in her belly button or something! LOL!

I am very glad that your dad is okay. Cancer is such a scary thing. I am a lucky one to have caught mine early and am now okay. I hate going to the oncologists office though and everyone else there looks so sickly. It makes me feel relieved and guilty at the same time.

Teri M. said...

So glad to hear that the scare was just that.
And I must agree... there are somethings that should not be discussed. Gah. ;)

mothergoosemouse said...

I'm so glad your father is okay.

And I'm a terrible prude too. I don't want to know about my parents, and I sure as hell don't want to know about my in-laws, but my MIL thinks it's funny to joke about sex - either between her and FIL or Kyle and me.

But Neil&Bob - even I would laugh at that!

Lawyer Mama said...

All I can say is at least it wasn't your mother!

Love that glimpse into your family and I'm so relieved to hear that your dad is cancer free.

pinknest said...

lol! hilarious. immaculate conception would've been something, eh?

chelle said...

HEHEHEHEH! That is a wonderful story!!!

Maritza said...

That's a great story! My parents had a baby when I was 23 years old and I had to sit them down and have THE TALK about birth control. Imagine my horror...

Kevin Charnas said...

Okay, first of all, I'm extremely relieved that your Dad is fine.
Second of all, don't dis-own me, because I really do love you...however...Boy wonder, your siblings and your cousin's band...are my new heros.

I literally spit water when I read the name of the band. classic...just classic. As is your story-telling.

Kristin said...

We learned that my father not only had a prostate but a penis to go along with it.

Brilliant line and so glad all is well.

& if it makes you feel any better the first time my father used the word "fuck" as a verb, I just about tore off my ears...

Andie D. said...

What a great story! So glad your dad is cancer free.

And sorry, but I'm with BoyWonder. The name of the band is just toooooo damn good to not share. With anyone!

Catherine said...

Sooo glad that your father is in the clear!! Now I can roll on the floor with laughter over this post without feeling guilty.

"Mother of Gawwwwwd!!" This brought on the tears.

Kim Ayres said...

Love it. I absolutely love it!

Waya said...

I'm glad your Dad is a ok! Nothing is worse than hearing that C word. And I was in your Mom's shoes too, I didn't get until you spelled it out. The horror of it all, how can our parents do that to us? I need to wash my brain out with soap now! Thanks for that image so early in the morning!!

Nikki said...




Mommy off the Record said...

Oh my GAWD. I would be mortified to talk to my dad about his sexuality to. Ew. Even typing it grosses me out!

But so happy that the cancer was only a scare!

bananas62 said...

Your parents sounded a bit like mine! when it came time for "the talk" I was handed a book....then I heard it on the playground, I am afraid I'm a bit more like your siblings now!
Glad your dad is o.k.!!too Give him an extra hug for me, cuz mine left this world at a young age.
And... Neal and Bob! oh my Gawd!!! I'm still laughing! I love your stories!

shpprgrl said...

I'm happy to hear that dad is ok.

Where parents are concerned there are some things that are better NOT left to the imagination. :)

Ruth Dynamite said...

Ew. Parental relations. Yuk. Make it stop.

But there's no cancer, and that's very good news. (And you know what this means...)

Marcie said...

I'm with you on the parent/sex thing. Don't even want to know about it.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
P.S. Your Dad sounds cool

hautemama said...

I LOVE it. Wish i could of been a fly on that wall.

You have such a gift of writing, I always enjoy reading your blog.

And so happy for your family that your father is cancer free!!!

h&b said...

Hilarious !! A great romp of a read, I loved it.

I too am a first-born. First borns tend to be more reserved and prim in these type of matters. The youngest born is usually the bawdiest. Birth placement has a lot to do with how we see the world.

Good about the all-clear on the Big C though :)

Grim Reality Girl said...

How hilarious!!!!! I too would have died had I seen my father make those motions! Yikes!

carrie said...

Oh, I am not the only one!!! What a witty, brilliant and thoughtfully written piece about what must've been a hard subject to write about.

Just as our parent's mortality elludes our minds, so does their sex life. I learned this lesson after my father's heart attack 2 years ago and now I just have to plug my ears and chant to myself when too much information is being shared (think Jack Nickelson in "As Good As It Gets").

Maybe it has something to do with being the firstborn????


kim said...

I love your stories! I admit I stalk you waiting for a new one :)
Youre family sounds like great fun and the name of that band made me choke and laugh so hard. I loveeee how your husband set that up! Classic!

kim said...

Your family sounds awesome.

I play the straight man or butt of joke, whichever, to my husband most of the time. I refer to my husband as Boywonder, but I think he told me too.

Glad your Dad is OK.

JLee said...

It's funny, (not funny ha ha)the other day my dad blurted out something about "my prostate cancer" and I freaked out! I said "wait a minute, you have cancer??" and he said "oh no, just some trouble with it" I don't know why he said that, but hopefully he would tell me if he DID have something like that! Parents...

Chaotic Mom said...

Holy Crap. I was thinking this the whole way through the post. OMG. I'm otherwise speechless.

Tuesday Girl said...

I am glad your Dad is ok. Your family sounds a lot like mine.

Lisa said...

That is SO funny. Hey, a family that can laugh together is a wonderful thing... And precious too!

So happy your dad is healthy!

Stephanie A. said...

I love this post. It's one of the funniest I've read in a loooooong time!

So glad your dad's healthy, too!

Minerva Jane said...

hilarious. and i too am glad that your dad is okay--although I have to say that not all prostate cancer treatments involve medical castration--at least not now. Hormonal therapy, radiation, special diet and lifestyle changes, are all viable options for many men. (One of my dayjobs involved editing a monthly newsletter for prostate cancer patients; another involves doing media imaging for a foundation that focuses on pca.

Mrs. T said...

Good news about your dad! Cancer is so scary, but with certain types it seems they can and do perform miracles.
Your family sounds so much like my husband's. They love any kind of off color, although witty and creative, comment. Among their favorites are "Poker in the front, liquor in the rear", to be followed with "Poker? You poke her, you brought her."
Keep the stories comin'!

Her Bad Mother said...

What a fantastic story - feeling and laughter and everything. Love it.

strauss said...

This is the first tiem I have stumbled upon your site. That story was a riot. I loved it. Your family sound so wonderful.

Stepping Over the Junk said...


Pendullum said...

Mad Muthas... YES! You must be right!

JANET... Can you believe it...At dinner!!!!

SAYRE... Glad your family is sick as mine... Misery deserves company!

ANDREA: Yes my poor mom... And revenge is the only remedy to my problem with WonderBoy!

CRAZYMUMMA; Yes, and I am grateful I do notlivenext door!

CHRISTINA: I think your tactics are very grown up and may adapt them myself!

OTJ: Can you feel my pain?

CATCH: A muzzle? And then HE, my WonderBoy would do the actions??? Nothing can muzzle him!

MRS.CHICKY: After that dinner there is no doubt in my mind!

MOOBS: Thank you for bringing me back to church...
And ohhh... thanks for the imagery ofmy parents breaking the bed!

ROCK THE CRADLE: THey are a wild bunch!

JODI: She did not? Longer pencil???? Oh my word!!!!

MIMI: I am so glad you are okay. It must have been a terrible time. I am so grateful that you are well and I have had the chance to meet you through the bloggersphere over the last few months...

MOTHERGOOSEMOUSE: Only with my family does BoyWonder do this with.... He would NEVER talk about sex around his....

LAWYER MAMA: You are soooooooo right on the mark there!

TERI M: Thank you!


MARITZA: You have to post about that....
You just gotta!

KEVIN CHARNAS: Ohhh.... I do not know...If you walked into the room they would be on their best behavior and put me to shame...

KRISTIN: Luckily I have not hear my dad say 'fuck'but I think the box has been opened...

ANDIE D: Traitor!

Catherine: Ohhhh and the decimallevel she reached when she shrieked it... Was a thing of wonder!

KIM AYRES: Thank you.

WAYA: Betty, I can see you at our dinner table... You would be right next to my mom....

NIKKI: See how priceless it is... When you have that conversation in your house baby!

MOTR: I'm with you!

SHPPRGRL: I 'm with you!

RUTH DYNAMITE: Only too well do I know what this means now!!!

MARCIE: Extremely shy, my father is...

HAUTEMAMA: Thank you so much!

H & B: My baby sister is more reserved thank goodness! The worst of our litter is the sister that is after me... The second eldest... Boy... She can bring dirty to whole new levels!


CARRIE:Thanks and you are right...I do not know if it is a first born thing as my husband is a first born and he started this whole NEil and Bob conversation!!!

KIM: He's a 'classic' all right!

C ELLA: Your husband told you tocall him BoyWonder... Now, that's classic!

JLEE: I hope your dad is okay. To mention it and then say that he is having problems with it... Still... still goes down the 'EWWW I an concerned Dad but EWWWWW... trail!


TUESDAY GIRL:So where do you stand in the pecking order? Eldest or youngest?

LISA: You are right there!

STEPHANIE A: Thank you.

MINEVERJANE: I know... And I think it is good that you posted all in your comment... It is pretty important information.... Everyone should take a read if they have not...
But it still goes down the EWWWW trail when talking with my dad...

MRS.T: This is why I am so glad that my husband does not read my post... He would run with your poker comment if he read it.... I could see the next family get together....


chichimama said...

So glad to hear your dad is OK!

And such things would never, ever take place in my family! Much to my dismay.

I am still laughing!

urban-urchin said...

what a fun family you have! That's great about your dad being cancer free.

that joke could never be uttered in front of my parents for fear one or both would keel over dead from the shock.

thanks for stopping by.

marsha_tm said...

Great story. But you've got me paranoid about the thin wall between our bedroom and our daughters'...

MommyWithAttitude said...


And glad all is well with your dad's... um... health!