You are hereEssays on Life / Lucky George (2)
Lucky George (2)
My father, George, was a lucky man. I don’t mean in terms of the lottery. He played it regularly – often I would come home to find that my dad was “out buying his lottery ticket,” as my mother reported – and he occasionally won amounts ranging from $20 to $200.
No, his luck showed itself in other ways. When he had a heart attack in 1983, he knew enough to get to the hospital and collapse among a collection of doctors who had the equipment needed to save his life.
In 1999, his luck continued, although it was hard to tell at the time. It was Monday, at about 4 A.M. when I was roused from sleep by a phone call. It was George, complaining about back pains. “I’ve been trying to sleep since 2:30,” he said. “Can you take me to the emergency room?”
I hopped in a cab and picked up George, who was standing in front of his apartment building looking somewhat dazed. At the hospital, the attendant asked us to sit down and wait. Noticing George’s gray demeanor, I got insistent. “Look, this is an emergency. We need to see a doctor now.”
“You should have told me it was urgent,” said the attendant.
We’re in an emergency room, for God’s sake, I thought, but I only said, “I’ve never done this before.”
A heavyset Jamaican doctor examined George. “Did you know that your aorta is very large?” she asked him.
“Is that good?” he replied.
“…and your blood circulation is very slow,” she added, without answering him. She left. When she returned she said: “I think we’ll do a CAT scan.”
Her manner was professional, impersonal, and it had a calming effect. Maybe we were too hasty, I thought. The doctor left.
“I’m feeling nauseous,” George said suddenly. I got the attention of a nurse, who gave George a once-over. She got another doctor to examine him. They talked in subdued but anxious tones, the professional calm gone. Without saying a word to me, they wheeled him off in a hurry, looking concerned. Soon after, the Jamaican doctor returned. “This is very serious,” she said, explaining that George had just had an aneurysm and had been taken into emergency surgery. She handed me a bag containing George’s ring, watch, and other belongings. Seeing those objects divorced from my father seemed so final. I choked up.
But George’s time hadn’t come yet. (to be contInued)
March 3, 2013
AMERICA, AMERICA (1963) An autobiographical film about the immigration of writer-director Elia Kazan's father from Greece to America in the early 1900s. There are some striking angles and impessive photography, but the movie suffers from an unappealing lead (who scowls through much of the nearly three-hour film), and from terrible post-sync sound. Everyone was obviously redubbed (by other actors) and it's quite distracting. Tedious.
TINY FURNITURE (2012) A frustrating examination of a collection of 20-something teenagers, who complain, insult, and get wrapped up in the petty concerns of youth. It tells the story of a recent college grad who has come home to live with her short-tempered mother and argumentative sisters. She wants to be a video artist. She is socially awkward. She makes the mistakes of youth. Such an irritating group of kids: can you spell self-involved? Can you also spell, "Who cares?"