Monday, September 7, 2015

A Witness to Torture

The last time I visited someone in a nursing home I was horrified by what I saw going on. I was literally a witness to torture.

The friend I was visiting was in bed, his wheelchair parked alongside. In the next bed was who knows who. It was his latest new roommate. That’s how it is works when you live in a nursing home. You’re sitting there minding your own business and all of a sudden they install a new roommate whom you don’t know from your mail carrier’s cousin.

The roommate was deep asleep. And appearing on the television that was mounted high on the wall on his side of the room was one of those daytime courtroom shows with a super annoying and arrogant judge. And it was blaring so goddam loud you could probably hear it all the way in Kansas.

My friend said this new roommate blasts these judge shows all day. And my friend can’t get himself out of bed so he was stuck. And try pushing the nurse call button when you’re in a nursing home and see how long it takes to get an answer. And if you do get an answer, try telling them that you need them to come turn off that maddening judge show before you go berserk and see how long it takes them to come.

So there was no way my friend could avoid prolonged exposure to judge shows. It was like being locked in the waiting room of a Jiffy Lube. I submit that this is torture. Okay, maybe it's not physical torture, like having your eyelids stretched back over the top of your head. But it is psychological torture. Or at least it would be for me if I was in my friend’s position. Because what is the point of torture? To break somebody down, right? And so I started thinking about what if I suddenly had some Joe-off-the-street roommate installed in my home and he insisted on blasting daytime judge shows all day. I’d crack pretty damn quick. After about 30 minutes I’d be confessing to all kinds of shit I didn’t do! “Yes I kidnapped the Lindbergh baby! I’ll tell you where Jimmy Hoffa is buried! Anything! Just TURN THAT SHIT OFF!!!!”

The whole terrible scene really shook me up big time. When my friend’s dinner tray arrived, I said good-bye. I quickly left before he could lift the lid and see what was on his plate. I’d seen enough torture for one day.

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