Note: Read the original "My First Day of School" piece that inspired this ongoing Aristocrats-style series.
I will never forget my first day of senility. The unattended stovetop, the remote control in the microwave, the overflowing pill box. Believe me, I have tried my hardest, but I just can’t recall it like it was yesterday. I wouldn’t say I have the sharpest of memories, but the nightmares that frequent my sleep seem determined to keep the details of that day fresh in my mind.
For most people, being senile is an exciting opportunity to escape reality and start each and every day with a clean slate. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience a slight amount of surprise each day at all the new possibilities, but what little bit I did enjoy was mostly erased by the dawn of the next day.
As I walked up to the television for what felt like the first time, I thought about double-checking the TV Guide. It assured me that Matlock would be on.I knew that while meeting my children that day for the first time would be a happy experience, I would be enduring the strange feeling of knowing nobody, until they properly introduced themselves and answered the most puzzling question on my mind: "How in the hell did you get in here?"
To make matters even more confusing, I had only just moved to town a mere two weeks prior (or so it seemed), leaving all of my friends behind and hundreds of miles away (or so I thought). Needless to say the ride on my Hoveround from my bed to my recliner that day was full of half-hearted optimism and feelings of homesickness and depression. Still, I remember feeling determined not to get too down, assuring myself things would work out for the best as it is all part of God’s plan.
As I walked up to the television for what felt like the first time, I was very nervous and thought about turning around and double-checking the TV Guide. It had just assured me that Matlock would be on, but I lacked confidence in my short-term memory. It took some courage, but I managed to convince myself that I was going to be fine and that all of my forgetfulness was just a product of my advanced age. After all, my biggest fear was missing an episode of Matlock, an occurrence that had yet to happen.
It wasn’t long until I leaned back in my recliner, pushing aside the bad thoughts and focusing on a fresh new episode of my favorite courtroom drama. Before I attempted to fully torque the La-Z-Boy lever, I took a second to assure myself that I was going to have the strength to extend the leg rest fully. After all, we all know that the leg rest will just eventually recede back into the recliner if it isn’t fully locked in an extended position.
It didn’t take more than a second or two for my fears to be validated, because as I strenuously pulled on the lacquered wooden lever, all of the vericosed veins in my arms and legs began to pulsate. It was almost as if the La-Z-Boy company had planned this all along, and they wanted me out. But regardless whether La-Z-Boy wanted me dead, I pressed forward with determination.
I held myself together, even as the big red-leathered leg rest failed to elevate. My body began to resonate, and sweat gathered in pools at both the back of my knee caps, and within my palms.
I could not believe how much WD-40 this lever/recliner interface needed, especially since it was well within warranty. I tried to ignore it, but panic began to fill my entire body and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. As hard as I tried to fight it, it was no use. I was coming face-to-face with my own mortality. La-Z-Boy had won.
I had no idea where anything was (as usual) so I just gave one last grunt of desparation and pulled harder on this lever than any lever I had pulled before. Just as my geriatric aorta was about to burst, I heard a voice—the voice of a sweet little girl.
"Grampa, do you need any help with that?" she asked. "Why yes, dear… thank you." Shortly after this exchange, the strange little girl rotated the lever, extended my leg rest, and ensured that I was comfortable. It felt great, but truth be told, I required one more favor. Figuring I should make the request while she was still of assistance, I leaned over and whispered, "Could you change my diaper?"
All "First Day of…" Aristocrats-style articles:
My First Day of School
My First Day at Prison
My First Day at the Cemetery
My First Day at Alcoholics Anonymous
My First Day of Senility
My First Day of Church
My First Day of School, Part 2
My First Day of Fat Camp
My First Day at the Circus