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Sometimes it is Hard to not Laugh

by Rundy on November 7, 2006

This afternoon I looked over my shoulder to see Grandpa with one shoe on. He was standing in the hall putting a tissue box on his other bare foot. Seeing trouble in the works I got up from the computer to investigate. Grandpa was walking down the hall toward the bedroom one shoe on, and one tissue box on the other foot, looking lost.

“Grandpa,” I said. “Are you going out to check the mail?”

“Yeah, I was,” he said. “But I think I won’t.”

“Do you like some help?” I asked.

“Yes, I do,” he said.

I try to not laugh at Grandpa, but sometimes it is very hard. Sometimes the situation is so absurd, so completely unreal, that the laughter comes bubbling up. This was one of those times. I very much didn’t want to embarrass him, but seeing him walking down the hall going clump, clump, clump with a tissue box on one bare foot look funny, and the idea of saying, “Grandpa, you’re wearing a tissue box,” was too silly. The ideal solution was to obliqly help him correct the situation without directly pointing out that he had done such a ridicilous thing as putting a tissue box on his foot instead of a shoe.

“Come here and I’ll give you a hand,” I said, but then watching him became to much and as he walked down the hall I had to turn away and laugh under my breath. When he reached me I manged to regain control and offer him his second shoe.

“Here is your shoe,” I said. “I think you’ll find this will work better.”

“I wondered where that thing went,” he said. (It had been right beside where he had retireved his first shoe.)

When he took off the tissue box I quitely removed it and let him put the shoe on by himself.

But today wasn’t going to be a good day. A little later I checked on him again and discovered he was trying to put a different shoe inside the shoe I had given him.”

“I don’t think you want to do that,” I said. “You don’t need that shoe.”

“But there isn’t a shoe inside it,” he said.

“There doesn’t need to be a shoe inside that shoe,” I said. “You put your foot inside the shoe.” After I took the extra pare of shoes away and guided him he managed to put his foot inside the shoe and I laced it up. Once I helped him get into his coat he went out and got the mail.

But it wasn’t the end of his confusion for the day. When Grandpa tries to do something and gets confused or side-tracked he can end up going down a very different (and usually strange) trail. About 15 minutes later I heard him muttering and complaining to himself again and went into the kitchen to check on him. He had taken his pants off and was trying to put his coat on instead. He already had successfully put one leg through an arm hole.

“Looks like you need some help there,” I said. “How about we swap. I give you these–” I picked up his discarded pants. “And you give me that.”

“Okay,” he said, and then looked confused over how he might get rid of the coat now that he had his leg through one armhole.

I managed to keep from laughing, but this time Grandpa laughed. It wasn’t a happy laugh–more like a sad laugh, probably as he realized how completely confused he was. With my guiding he got out of the coat and back into his pants.

Some people might think he didn’t realize that he made so many mistakes that afternoon. But after I got him back into his pants I asked him if he wanted me to turn on the TV and he said, “Yeah, I guess so. Maybe then I won’t get into any more trouble.”

It is very difficult to realize you can’t do things without getting into trouble. It’s even worse when someone laughs at you. So I try very hard not to, even when it is funny.

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