My parents care. They care about my health and my well being. I guess that is why they are so critical of everything I do. Comments from “You are getting some fat” and “Are you still walking or did you give that up?” to “You must be living on potato chips and bars” are their way of telling me to take better care of myself. Please Stop!
“Your pants are getting a little tight in the waist area” is one of their favorites, and like that poor dude whose dad says all the shit, my parents’ team up to destroy my ego and my confidence and really test my patience. Hell, when I was a kid, they had me on some over the counter medication that made me hungry and caused me to eat everything in sight because they thought I was too skinny. Where I ask, is that middle area where they are happy?
The Vimicon years. I just remembered that one. This medication was used to fatten up underweight patients, and somehow, my parents got wind of this marvelous kid fixer, and demanded that I become depended on eating to achieve happiness. As a Vimicon kid, I suffered all the side effects of this drug, especially the drowsiness. My parents used to say “Ted, you are such a lazy kid” “Go out and play with the other kids, why you always want to sleep?” READ THE LABEL: ‘This product may cause drowsiness. Do not operate any machinery while under the care of this medication.’ “You are such a contrary kid” “Why can’t you be pleasant like the other kids?” Another side effect of Vimicon…READ THE LABEL FOR GOD’S SAKE!
“You look so confused all the time. Go out and do something. Why are you not as alert as your brother” READ THE LABEL, THOSE ARE SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THIS STUPID DRUG!!!
“You are eating us out of house and home, what is wrong with you?” AGAIN, READ THE LABEL!!!! “You must be eating chocolate again, you have a skin rash” I began flushing that damn medication.
“The pills are not working anymore, we found something better…cod liver oil capsules” . OMG, THEY WERE HORRIBLE….Think about this one, oil that is extracted from the liver of a codfish. How can that be a good thing? I had so many sleepless nights, burping up the taste of cod liver oil. Have you ever tasted cod liver oil? It was like mixing fish with vegetable oil and eating it before bedtime. I used to wake up stomach sick every night until I discovered that you could pop the capsule, squirt the cod liver oil down the toilet, and eat the outer shell which was made from corn syrup. I did this for about one year, and each day, my parents would exclaim how glad they were to see the cod liver oil taking effect. “You are looking much better now, thanks to that cod liver oil” They would say. “I think I see some fat on your ribs”. Hehehehe…it’s not from the cod liver oil, that stuff is in the toilet!!
I was a test mule for every over the counter “put meat on your ribs” medication on the market, from Vimicon to the above mentioned cold liver oil, and finally to a meaty tasting extract from a by-product of beef of which I cannot remember the name of the product, but it must have been an effective medication because I used to give mine to the dog, and he lived for years.
Throughout the years, my parents’ caring has affected me in many ways. My confidence never developed, and I have always been somewhat of an underachiever with terrible eating habits. They even bought a deep fryer, in hopes that deep fried potato chips would put fat on me. I lived in a time where fat people were thought of as healthy, and skinny people were thought of as sick, and my parents didn’t want any sick kids.
At 16, upon graduating from high school at way too young an age, my parents thought I should be an accountant. They had seen an accountant on a TV show, and they thought this would be a good career for me. They did not realize that I hated math and sucked at it, and even though I tried to explain to them that math and me were not compatible, they reassured me that accounting and math had nothing in common. Hey, I grew up in a rural community on an island in Canada with only one television channel where the Beverley Hillbillies was the main source of knowing what was new in the world. So I enrolled in a Clerk Accounting course at the local community college. I sucked at the program and eventually dropped out.
A drop out. “All our work” they said. “Now you will have to join your father in the logging industry”. I was okay with that, and had twenty years of working next to my dad, listening to his stories, sharing laughs with him, and oh yeah, listening to his advice (and ignoring it whenever I could).
A few years back, I moved to the big city (as big a city as Newfoundland has to offer that is) and the advice continued, despite the fact that I was now living over 10 hours away from my parents. On one occasion, my brother visited around the same time that I was having an adverse reaction to some cholesterol medication my quack doctor had me on. My stomach was swollen so that I went from a 36 waistline to a 44 in just three days. On the day my brother arrived, I had just finished flushing the last of the meds down the toilet, but I was huge. You guessed it, I got a call from my parents that evening. “We heard that you were huge, you have to walk more. You have to eat better. Why do you eat so much?” “we love you and want what is best for you” Those words cut. I know they mean well, but wow, news travels fast for sure, and despite the fact that I tried to explain how the medication did that to me, all they said was that they worried about me.
They are still at it. God bless their hearts. They care, I know they do, but their words still cut deeply into my heart sometimes. I try and talk to them about it, and I hear the same thing all the time. “Now look, you made your mother cry” “What sort of son makes his mother cry?” I live with guilt…Just saying.