DEAR DR. FAUX: My mother is eighty-five and does not want to go into a nursing home, but I do not see any other way to handle the situation. I have to do the shopping for her now and must also arrange for the cleaning of her home on a regular basis; she is so messy. Also, my mother likes to have what she calls her little parties. Guess who has to buy food for those parties and help her clean her house after all her friends visit? I have a life of my own and just don't have time to clean up after her. But more importantly I think entering a home would be best for her. What should I do? Sign Me: Not A Manager in New Orleans
DEAR NOT A MANAGER: Old people just don't work well aesthetically, do they? They drag their limbs while others leap; digestively they are bothersome. And there's something about looking at them—their faces particularly—when there's a genetic connection. "Oh, my! Not me! Please not me." And its getting closer, for you, isn't it? Where's my broom and dust pan? Isn't that what you mean? Why must people like you—let's call you a little fascist for now—disguise their true intent with a specious concern for others? You want the best for her. Dr. Faux would avoid you at all costs lest you want the best for him. Your mother has so little significance in our society. The market says that the really juicy targets are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four. So let's just get rid of the rest, the market-ly insignificant. Keep them out of the malls. Their moribund presence puts the lie to immortality by consumption and is bad for business.
So, yes, by all means, to make life easier for you and as a service to the marketplace, put Mom in a nursing home before she has another one of her inconvenient little parties. Perhaps you could obtain a power of attorney, have her declared incompetent. That would take care of the messy business of her desires, what she wants for herself: the idiocy of her living in her own home. It's so messy. After the legal work is handled you will have to transport her, or arrange for her transport, to the nursing home. And all that could be depressing for you, but remember, it's the last time you'll really have to deal with her, and then you can get on with your shopping.
What Dr. Faux would really like to have available for people like you when it's time for the warehousing of elderly parents is curbside pickup. On the night before they are transported to The Home you place the messy, unwanted one in a large container on the curb-—like a recycling bin. The Home has provided you with what they call The Happy Crate a day in advance with suggestions on how to get your ancient, useless parent into the thing. There's no way she can be coaxed to step into it on her own, so a mild compliance hold will have to be utilized—something with her wrist—and bang-o she's in. Occasionally they must be drugged, but many times that causes them to drool, and that is so aesthetically displeasing and should be avoided.
It is imperative that they be placed in The Happy Crate the night before, available for collection at 6 A.M. on Pickup Day. The pickup services schedule must be met. The trucks must run on time. The nursing home has all this handy info in their Pre-Entry Kit. And a personalized barcode is provided which is placed on the old one's wrist and on the side of his/her container. There will be other discards on the same truck for delivery to several different nursing homes, and the barcode will allow the driver to keep both his inventory and route in order and to handle all pickups and deliveries from the trucks cab. The truck utilizes a hydraulic arm—controllable from the cab—to hoist the crates onto the truck so the driver won't have to actually step curbside, touch the container, actually look at the transportees or listen to their complaints. "Help! Help! That's my home. I don't want to leave it!" Drivel. Can you imagine the kind of whining that goes on? "How could they do this to me?" they ask.
Dr.Faux believes he knows the answer to that one. Pay attention. They have children like you. And like all fascists, you hate clutter. Ah, the tidy ones. Dr. Faux does not associate with neat people. They frighten him. They know what's right for everybody, how things should be arranged. Such arranging distracts them from the clutter upstairs in their own life. Dr. Laura. Deep The Chop. Most shrinks. Neat people. Clean and combed. They smell good and wear tailored clothes, or habits like neat Mother Teresa wore. They keep a calendar with "things to do" and tell you about the lint on your coat. Dr. Faux worries for them, but he worries more about whatever control they have over the rest of us. He believes he knows what's going on in their head. They have thoughts which won't arrange themselves, random no-nos and shameful things. They find themselves looking where they shouldn't, a tumescence follows, and they straighten your tie. They find themselves thinking about people who should die, and see a knife misaligned at a place setting. They move it. There. They think of doing the double nasty with Jesus and hit the streets of Calcutta with a dust pan. Fussing with the poor can distract one.
Dr. Faux is approaching a certain age and worries that one day a fascist like you or Mother T will show up at his Airstream to check on his cleanliness. They'll see that his cats, Muffins and Tom-Tom, have the run of the trailer and make for disarray. They will see empty vodka bottles on the floor, all the dead Cossacks, and begin to ask questions. "Who is the president?" "What year is this?" "Do you know your name?" And when Dr. Faux answers, "A thief," "They are all the same" and "Legion" they will cart him away without his dear cats.
Here is a quiz: Why does the world honor Mother Teresa? Answer: She took care of the litter. She shielded the world from having to think of the poor, the messy poor. She made the world think of her dwarfish, so-ugly-she-must-be-holy self instead. Mother T was the poor in the world's eye, a media surrogate, and she controlled the conversation about poor people so that her cronies and contributors (like Charles Keating and Haiti's Duvalier darlings) got good PR and good Jesus. "I think the world is much helped by the suffering of the poor people." She said that. Really. Her friends certainly were, and the ugly old bat herself certainly was: "Saint Teresa," soon. And with her No to abortion and No to birth control she made sure that we would Keep The Poor Coming. She had warehouses full, all over the world, stockpiled as living tickets to heaven for her and all her beautiful friends—who hung around her dwarfness just as they would a lucky hump, there just to suck in their sinful excesses.
Mother Teresa continues to haunt Dr. Faux. She comes to him in his dreams wearing a negligée, a blue and white thing like her habit, saying, "Are you my Jesus? Wanna party? Can you do the funky chicken?" It's so horrible. She hovers in Dr. Faux's trailer, glowing, twirling, laughing, batting her tiny eyes at him. Muffins and Tom-Tom are so frightened they bury themselves in their litter box rather than look at her. And then she says to Dr. Faux, "Shove over, handsome." And she dives toward Dr. Faux's bed and laughs, and beyond her lips can be seen all the world's poor begging to be released from her mouth, and Dr Faux screams and wakes himself.
Dr. Faux has just depressed himself mightily. There are depressions and there are depressions with a religious motif. But there is also hope; it has a hootch motif. Dr. Faux recently discovered a case of wonderful, Banff vodka he had hidden under his Airstream during a time of bounty, and he knows a beautiful, young, blonde woman named Bubbles who likes to party, and he thinks he might give her a call and have one. A little party, like your mother liked to have before you warehoused her. You did, didn't you? And when Dr. Faux has had his party with his lusty Bubbles, please do not worry about cleaning up after him. You and your kind stay the hell away from Dr. Faux. He'll get to cleaning up his trailer one of these days. Or not. In the meantime, let's all open our prayer books to Rock and Roll. And send for Dr. Faux's zero-selling Mother Teresa: The Holy Hoover. Cash only. ###
Dr. J. Jean Johann Faux lives in an Airstream with his cats, Muffins and Tom-Tom. He once had a lucrative practice in Beverly Hills until his flaky clients tired of his recommendations regarding the palliative power of rational thinking and one by one left him for Marianne Williamson and Deep The Chop.
For more in the humor category, please see On My Road, Pat Robertson's Jesus as Seen on "Geraldo."