Lexi, my daughter, is quite the “Sassypants.”
She can trade barbs with the best of them.
And she can make you wish you’d never engaged.
This is not a surprise… it seems to be a family trait that has been passed down from sassy generation-to-generation.
We have been blessed with a gift.
Our family is always in search of the better moment… the better story… and love us or hate us… we do tend to liven up a room.
My father was legendary. Known for his inappropriate Polish jokes and ability to light his chest hair on fire after one too many 4th of July cocktails.
My brother: a punk rock sociopath. Actually started a riot in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during one of his sold-out punk shows… definitely in a league of his own.
My own son? A giant 6′ 1″ furry bear willing to wear short shorts all four years of high school while accepting mass amounts of public ridicule and humiliation because he believed that wearing short shorts was the “new true punk.”
And so, when it comes to dealing with my family, I am usually prepared for the unexpected at every turn.
However, when Lexi had her tonsils out, I had no idea that her brash manner would be enhanced by anesthesia and used to berate a poor little old man.
I have to admit, that even I felt pity for her unwitting victim.
He was just trying to do his job.
He was just trying to lend a helping hand.
a seventy-year-old frail, thin, rod of a man, who was passing out big stick popsicles, in the recovery room at Los Al Medical Center.
I had been waiting for the nurses to allow me to come in and visit Lex after her surgery, when one of them finally popped out and said, “Man, do you have a handful in that one. Could you come in please?”
I turned and looked at my boyfriend, Stephen, who looked at me as if I had no right to comment, being that in his opinion, I was quite a handful myself.
I pushed open the recovery room door and immediately saw from the look in Lexi’s eyes that she was completely belligerent.
I had heard about this happening to people after receiving large quantities of anesthesia but I had never witnessed it.
I had a feeling the next hour in the recovery room was going to be a long one.
Lexi was propped up in bed, her hospital gown untied and falling loosely around each of her large, bouncy, tan breasts.
She was working a big stick popsicle in a way that can only be described as… pornographic.
As her mother, I was speechless and at the same time, totally amused.
The nurses were keeping their distance. They circled her as if she were a wild animal ready to bite.
“Lexorcist,” I said as I walked towards her… “What the hell are you doing?”
Her glazed eyes settled on me and I understood why demonic possession seemed so terrifying.
She didn’t answer.
She went back to working her big stick and glaring at something in the far corner of the room.
I sat down in the chair next to her and turned to see what she was focusing on.
And that’s when I saw him.
The old man.
He was quietly trying to pass out popscicles to the other patients without disturbing “the beast.”
I could see it in his eyes.
He was hoping that she would somehow forget about him… be distracted from her prey… that her wrath would somehow fade… but like a cat who is focused on toying with a bird, Lexi barely blinked her eyes, obviously obsessed, as she burned him through with her steely stare.
I couldn’t imagine what he had done to entice her anger in such a way until she suddenly screamed out.
I jumped at the ferocity of her voice.
I had assumed the removal of her tonsils would silence her but I could see now that her voice box was very much intact.
“OLD MAN!” she shouted to him again from across the room.
I was now stunned… in full view of a train wreck that could not be stopped.
The nurses looked at me as if I had brought this plague down upon them.
I smiled and waved, pretending I could confidently handle the situation, but I knew the truth.
Stephen, unwilling to believe that there was nothing that we could do, went to the other side of the bed and tried to quiet Lexi down.
He placed his strong hand upon her forehead, prepared to brush the loose hair away from her face, when she wrenched away and actually snarled at him.
She broke eye contact with the old man just long enough to let Stephen know with an icy glare that if he stepped between her and the old man again she would kill him.
Stephen’s eyes grew large as he backed away slowly and stood quietly against the wall, finger itching to hit the emergency CALL THE DOCTOR switch.
“OLD MAN!” she screamed again and I watched as the old man cowered behind a hospital curtain afraid to make eye contact but afraid to look away.
He slowly cast his eyes up and upon her as she used her big stick to point at her breasts and say, “I know you were looking at these babies when I was out cold old man. Do you hear me? I know what you were looking at!”
The old man shook his head in terror.
She pointed the big stick out in front of her as if she were Babe Ruth calling her spot in the outfield, her arm out firm… pointing that big stick at his frightened little face… She squinted her eyes and glared… then she gave him a knowing nod… before pointing the big stick back at her boobs and saying, “That’s right old man. I know what you did.”
The other patients looked on in doped-up enjoyment.
They slurped on their popsicles, amused with their own live recovery room stage show as the old man hurried to finish passing out the pops before rushing from the room in total fear and humiliation.
She calmed then. She looked at me and winked. Her chin raised high with pride in her ability to terrorize him as she finished off her big stick, her eyes becoming heavy, before finally falling off to sleep.
The relief of those in charge was palpable.
The nurses shook their heads and rolled their eyes before quietly getting back to their discharge paperwork, most likely now moving Lexi’s file to the top of the stack.
I mean let’s face it… I would have.
An hour later, Lexi was quiet as we wheeled her through the hospital and out to the car.
She had made a complete mental recovery and was unaware of her hospital hi-jinx.
Stephen and I thought it best that we wait until a few days later to share the details of her hideous behavior.
We turned the corner to the elevator when suddenly, the old man she had been terrorizing rounded the corner and ran straight into Lexi and her wheelchair.
His face was priceless.
He gasped and stopped cold before scurrying to the far wall, his bony little hand clutching at the corner.
If he was wearing an adult brief at the time, I’m sure he took this opportunity to fill it.
“Oh sorry about that,” Lexi said unaware of the total humiliation she had just recently caused him in the recovery room. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
I almost laughed.
I watched as his face turned furious with indignation.
How dare she blatantly pretend she had not terrorized him just minutes ago.
He glared at her before gathering his wits and stomping away.
“What the fuck was his problem?” she asked me and Stephen innocently.
Stephen looked at me as if he was having second thoughts about choosing to be part of my family.
“What?” I said with a snarky snap…. feeling that Lexi’s recent twisted behavior was somehow a reflection of how fucked up I was as the actual birth parent.
“It’s not my fault,” I said to Stephen.
“What’s not your fault?” Lexi said, now completely bewildered.
“Nothing,” I mumbled as I pushed the elevator button and waited for the doors to close.
“Could you stop and get me some popscicles on the way home?” Lex asked sweetly.
“No big sticks,” Stephen said. “I don’t ever want to see a big stick again.”
“Amen,” I said as the doors closed and the elevator moved towards the ground floor.