Beautiful boy


File under: “Things I said but am unconvinced I shouldn’t have.”

A couple of years ago, I was at a party thrown by a friend whose housemate Doug used to be a nurse. In the later, quieter hours, Doug was telling a story to an audience of drama-school kids about this woman who had had a third of her brain removed due to it turning gangrenous, and who hadn’t talked in ten years. Meanwhile, the gangrene in her leg had been ruled inoperable and was slowly killing her. You’d think that the brain would be a bigger problem, but I’m not a doctor, or even a nurse.

On the morning of the day she died, Doug was giving her a sponge bath, as he had on many mornings previously. As an aside, Doug mentioned that the brain surgery had left her with a dent in her head that held water like a bowl whenever he bathed her. (I actually once knew a guy who had a dent in his head like that.)

Suddenly, Doug said, her eyes opened, and for a moment she was completely lucid. She looked at Doug and said, “Beautiful boy.” Then she closed her eyes and peacefully died later that day.

“Wow,” said the spellbound drama kids, softly.

“It was the most spiritual moment in my life,” Doug said. “Because she hadn’t spoken in ten years, and because at the end, she was completely conscious of what was going on, and because she was trying to thank me for everything I’d done for her, in the only way she could.”

The drama kids cooed in awe. “Is that why you left nursing?” a girl asked.

“No,” Doug said. “I left because a friend of mine helped me get a job working with fragile children.”

“You know,” I said, “The only trick to working with fragile children is to just make sure you don’t drop ‘em.”

With that, one of the drama kids (who looked just like John Cusack) rounded on me: “That’s horrible! How can you say that?! How can you say that?!” He literally choked with disgust. “Oh! I just can’t believe it! How can you say that?!” He was as appalled as I’ve ever seen anyone, and over so little.

“Cheer up, kid,” I said. “You’re too young to be so serious. Besides, that was only about .01 on the Peter Lynn scale.”

I suppose that last part makes me sound way too proud of saying terrible things. It’s not that I am—I’m just aware that I occasionally do. But this wasn’t one of them. Hell, Doug thought it was actually kind of funny.

So, long story short, if you ever happen to be walking around near wherever they teach drama in Toronto and think you see John Cusack, just really let him have it with your best material. I think you could literally strike him dead with a word or two.

2 Responses to “Beautiful boy”

  1. 1 Matt

    Well, obviously we’ve got to figure out where this guy lives, and then stand outside his apartment holding up a ghetto blaster and playing a tape of you saying “Look at that big gap in Chris Pronger’s teeth! I could fit my whole cock through there!”

  2. 2 Candace

    That’s not even the worst thing you said today… Cusack needs to chill.

    Fragile kids… funny!

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