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Monday, August 30, 2004

Dad and Mr. Scott 

It was sad news to hear about James Doohan's illness. Wil Wheaton reports that Scotty has Alzhiemer's and is retiring from public appearances. Wil helped to give him a great send-off.
Scotty was always my favorite character on the original Star Trek. I think I liked him because his character was rarely the focus of the show, but was always a great guy to have around when Trouble came knocking. I guess it's also because my Dad's an engineer, too.

Whenever something mechanical broke down, we'd call on Dad to fix it. Now, I know that fixing the timing on a car's engine is a far cry from re-aligning a warp core, but he probably saved our lives many times, just the same.
As Dad's condition continues to worsen, I feel a loss; the loss of all that knowledge. It's not like he never tried to hand it down to me. It's just that I wouldn't listen. Every time he tried to explain how he was fixing my car (and yelled at me for not paying attention) I consciously ignored him. "Dad," I'm sure I said, "don't bother. I'm sure I'll never fix my own car. I'm just not handy with tools."
Which is why car mechanics can so easily rip me off... but let's not go there.

I don't remember the exact date nor the actual issue at hand, a few years ago, when I realized that I could no longer call on Dad for his expertise. Actually, I couldn't trust him any longer. His mind had lost more technical information than I will even glance at in my lifetime. I was afraid that he'd mess things up more than they already were.
I have learned to do a few things: tighten a pipe, mount a bathroom shelf, lay small amounts of tile, and cut off all of a block of pine that doesn't look like my son's blueprint for his Cub Scout pinewood derby car. All thanks to the few things that did lodge in my deflective brain.
Because of his medical problems, Dad's memory and thought processes are swiftly moving in the wrong direction. Yes, I know that nature needs to take its course. I can do the math, too. He's 82 years old.
Old.
There are some good things, though. He definitely recognizes me. He's happy when he sees me (usually). But it feels strange when he doesn't use my name.
It really sucks when every time my cell phone rings, I'm scared it's my Mom calling. Mom wouldn't call me on the cell unless it was really important.
And it really sucks when I'm not sure if I should use pliers or a wrench, but there's no one to call to ask.
But it feels really great when I hang up that shelf and check it with a level.
"It's Level!!"
So maybe I'm not a total failure.
Thanx, Dad.



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