All the time I was REALLY brushing my teeth, I'd say bad things about him under my breath, and wonder at his psychic abilities.
It took me a couple of weeks to figure out that after I "brushed," Dad would go in and feel my toothbrush. It wasn't wet.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I was doing.
By the time I realized all this, paranoia had set in and I had become afraid not to really brush my teeth. After meals, all Dad had to do was look at me. I would automatically head for the bathroom.
I became a fanatic toothbrusher. Fear does that to you. It drives you to excess.
I became such a fanatic that over the years I succeeding in brushing the enamel off my teeth.
Just call me Pavlov's dog (By the way, does anyone know Pavlov's dog's name? Just curious).
Anyway, like most kids I grew up living with my parents and taking their orders. Then I grew up and got stupid and ran away from college to get married. I embarked on a life of independence, brushing my way through the years.
Then, suddenly, I became 10 years older than 40, and my father died and my world fell apart. Of course, I continued to brush my teeth, but otherwise life had changed.
Then, it changed again. My mother called one day and said her house wasn't a home anymore without Dad. She said she thought a change of scenery would do her good.
Mom will be moving here from Ohio as soon as she can sell her house. I'll be moving in with her.
When we are under one roof, it will all have come full swing.
My brother Ralph called today from Ohio to insult me, and talk to me about Mom's impending move. "Do you think she's really sure about this?" he said. "My greatest fear is that a year from now she'll decide she doesn't like it there and call me and want to come here and live in the guest room. I mean, I love her, but I'm afraid I'd have to kill her if she lived here. What if she isn't happy there?"
"Did it ever occur to you that she might not want to live with you," I asked. (Of course he hadn't). Look, I'm sure we'll find a nice place to live, and she'll be happy. Mom said she could live in a shack and be happy, for that matter."
"HA HA HA. I can picture you two now, sitting in front of a steel drum with a blazing fire in it. HA HA HA."
"Oh, shut up. Look, Mom took care of this family for a long time. She held it together. She'll be with me, and if she gets sick, I'll take care of her.
"So you can put the pillow over her head, and not me, right? HA HA HAAAAA."
"THAT'S NOT FUNNY. YOU'RE A VERY SICK PERSON," I said.
"Heh, heh...I'm just kidding. You know that. I love her. It's just that she's, well....HA HA HA."
"Ralph, I will handle things, so you won't have to worry your little head about it, OK? You notice I said 'little' head.
"For your information, Mom has told me she doesn't want us to go through what we did with dad," I continued. "She has stockpiled pills, and if she gets real sick, she intends to take them."
Ralph changed the subject then. "Speaking of sick...you know, I haven't been feeling too hot. I've had this pain in my abdomen just below my stomach..."
I wasn't feeling real sympathetic.
"You're not too sick to insult me, though, are you?" I said.
"No Terry, I'm not dead yet. HA HA HA."
The one nice thing about this coming full swing back to life with mom is that Ralph won't be there, like he was when I was growing up.
I won't have to worry about putting the pillow over his head.
Sometimes, when you think about it, life is good.
Terry Talbert is a Herald-Mail staff writer.