Tragedy, or Comedy? Knowing the Ending Makes All the Difference

Happy endings ahead on all fronts. This could have all become tragedy on various levels. You may know that comedy = tragedy + time. This means that the time you backed into the 100,000-gallon aquarium and flooded your new Cadillac can become a great story you tell over and over rather than something you never speak of again. In this case, all ended well, so feel free to laugh at my antics. Someone should.



Awoke to my phone ringing. I charge it in the living room, so there’s no way I was going to get the call. Sue tried to catch it but it stopped ringing.

Her phone rang seconds later. It was my mom, sounding pretty sick. She’d tried to get a doctor’s appointment the day before because she could barely breathe, but they didn’t have anything until today.

She said “I’ll try again tomorrow, if I live through the night.” My mother is famous for her positive perspective.

This morning she couldn’t breathe so she called to see if someone could take her to the emergency room.

I’ve had some kind of respiratory issue since we came home from Phoenix, which means I haven’t been sleeping well, which, with my sleep apnea, means I’m oxygen-deprived most days.

In plain English: I’m stumbling stupid.

Looked out the window, and the dreary rain of the past week (except Monday, when it was blazing sun so warm we opened windows) had turned to snow. Blowing straight sideways snow.

Despite my limited coherence, it’s better for me to wrestle my, erm, nondiminutive mother into our not-handicapped-friendly van than for Sue to try it. Especially when it’s blowing snow straight sideways.

My Best Beloved made me a giant mug of tea and packed me a PBJ (all natural peanut butter and all-fruit apricot jam, oh yes) to take along. She’s like that.


The folding light-duty wheelchair we got for Mom worked well. Since this was our test run (she’s only had it 6 months) I was concerned, but no cause.

The curb made the little step-stool I’d brought down from Mom’s apartment too tall, so she struggled into the van right from the curb.

Video would only have been funny if real people hadn’t been involved. It’s funny when it’s a comedian pretending.

No, she didn’t fall. And if she had, I know better than to get in the way. No sense two of us being injured. Instead, she wobbled and pulled and slid into the van. I helped her buckle her seat belt, and went around and got in.

As I buckled my seat belt I heard some change fall out of my pocket and onto the floor of the van, a metallic rattling clunk.

This seemed unusual, since I don’t carry change in my pockets. Ever. But I had bigger fish, as they say, and didn’t give it another thought.

Not yet.


At the doctor’s office, we tried Urgent Care, but when the receptionists heard Mom’s breathing, one took her information while another did the phone-loudspeaker thing. I heard something about “nurse” and “reception” and, yes, they really do say “stat” when they’re in a hurry.


I told Mom I’d go out and close the van door and be right back.


As I put my gloves on I realized that my wedding ring wasn’t on my finger.

My custom made white gold 8mm massive LOTR-looking wedding ring. The one from the marriage I was going to keep.

Clank. Rattle. Thud.

The sound of my brain and heart echoed the sounds I’d heard getting into the van.

At Mom’s apartment.

Ten minutes ago.

Across town.

It’s a small town.


Across town. Parking lot. Ten minutes.



I ran back inside to let Mom know she was on her own. It’s a hospital. They know better how to care for a sick old lady than I do. What did they need me for?

The receptionists said “They took her over to Emergency. You should drive over there and park.”

I ran out without answering.


Flying down the driveway, I made an illegal call to my wife. I was on the phone while driving, without using appropriate legal technology. I’m sorry.

I asked her to call the hospital to let them know I’d be delayed.

Please Obey All Traffic Laws, No Matter How Urgent Your Quest Feels

Then I hung up and set a new record for crossing town. Legally. A record for crossing town while studiously observing every single traffic law (other than, y’know, the brief phone call) because I know how long it takes to get a ticket, and I can cross town in less time than that.

And I did.

And the ring was nowhere in the parking lot.

I walked around in a few circles.

Nope. Not a trick of the light.


Scenarios of rewards and waiting and grief smothered me.

Deep Breaths Always Help

As Best Beloved always instructs me at such times, I took a deep breath, and went through things slowly, methodically.

I’d checked the floor of the van before I left the hospital. No sense flying across town without at least checking, right?

There in the parking lot, I checked again. Better light. Slow down, feel around, lean in.


I pulled one of my other pairs of gloves out of the pocket in the door. (Yes, I have two pairs of gloves in the van, my brown jersey gloves for keeping my hands clean and my Wells Lamont leather gloves for keeping them safe and I was wearing my deer skin gloves which are just for keeping them warm in mild weather, when I don’t need the thermal subzero black gloves for, y’know, that, and when my wool fingerless gloves aren’t right but where was I? oh yes, pulling my brown jersey gloves from the door pocket)

and it had fallen into the door pocket, and rolled under the gloves.

While I was in there, I found my aluminum comb, too. My new brush is pathetic and I’ve been looking for that comb. So, good news all around, eh?

The End

Oh, that. Asthma. She’s had it for years. No explanation forthcoming for the virulence of this attack. They verified her meds (which autocorrect on Best Beloved’s phone changed to “mess” every time she wrote it) and gave her a little something extra and sent her home. She was back in bed by 9:30, less than two hours after I picked her up. So, happy ending there, too.

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