Freudian Slips: The Bear Necessities

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

November 03, 2004

The Bear Necessities

At work, a mother called me up out of the wild blue yonder. She asked for me by name and identified me as her new case manager for her son. I unrolled my printout of clients, which was long enough to wallpaper a studio apartment twice. I found her son's name blinking halfway down on page 6. Mom went on to explain that her son Renny was a shut-in. The mother complained that she has become a prisoner of her home and wanted me to schedule a field visit to see what we can do in terms of intervention. In my career as a social worker, I have seen some homes not fit for human consumption but I had to ask the next question.
"Why do you refer to yourself as a prisoner?"
"Renny can't be left alone and he hasn't left the house in over a decade." "Do you really mean he has never left the house?" "Well not never but only a handful of times has Renny left the house. We have to promise him he is going to McDonalds for all he can eat, but we sneak him to the doctors or wherever he has to go first." I knew McDonalds hadn't changed their menu to offer a buffet. They were golden arches for a reason. "I see." She now had my full attention. "Will you be home all morning?" "I'll be home all morning and all night every day 24/7. Yeah, that's what I'm telling you." "There is no need to setup an appointment." I said. "I'm dropping what I'm doing and I'm coming right over." For someone who described themselves as a prisoner she gave me great directions including a detour in the making that satellite GPS may have not even picked up yet. I entered the home, a tiny 1950's clapboard located in rural New Jersey. Mom moved over some dirty dishes and sat me down at the kitchen table. The house was eerily quiet. The smell of fried bacon filled the house. It smelled too good to be McDonalds for sure. I doled out my business card before borrowing electricity to boot up my laptop. The client file I assembled in the office was devoid of any current information. It was like a decade passed Renny by without services. She told me of her difficulties in the caretaking and behavior management of her son. "Okay, where is Renny?" I asked the million dollar question.
"He is sound asleep."
"Can we wake him so he can join us?"
"I don't think so." she shook her head like it was out of the question.
Being in someone's home for the first time is always strange. People have different customs and ways. I sat there puzzled for a second. "What do you mean?"
"Renny is asleep now."
"Look, I came down here on a moments notice to evaluate the situation. I don't want to leave here not meeting Renny."
"You wake him then. Renny sleeps all day and doesn't like to be awakened unless it is for a feeding. He just finished his first feeding of the day.
I looked again at the dirty dishes, not a morsel was left. "I still want to see him.
"I'm giving you fair warning. Renny can be a bear when he wakes up.
"Okay, where is he?"
"He's locked in his bedroom. My ears have heard some strange things as a social worker. An hour ago, she called herself a prisoner and I could swear she just referred to her son as locked up.
"Did you say locked?" I repeated for clarity.
"Yeah, let me show you the way in."
Beyond the kitchen table, a dark hallway loomed. It was obscured by a Dutch door fastened by a series of deadbolt locks that would make Get Smart feel safe. She removed all the locks, eased the Dutch door open, and this all lead to a closed bedroom door a few feet ahead. For the decency of human beings on the planet, I hope this is not what she meant when she categorized Renny as a shut-in? She swung the door open, which I got to say was suspenseful. Darkness prevailed.
"Renny likes it dark so the curtains are drawn." mom explained.
I asked, "How does he know when it is night or day?"
"Renny doesn't give a shit about that. Food is all that matters."
The bedroom was devoid of not only light bulbs but missing personal possessions, even a sense of individuality. I reserved judgment on that one for all 300 pounds of Renny lay asleep on a humongous bed with nothing on but undees. The bed frame was collapsed in the middle and it hosted a sunken center full of massive flesh. Exposed coil springs shot up like daggers around the perimeter. This home would take some getting used to.
"Renny" I nudged him on the shoulder. "Oh, Renny."
Mom helped out. "Renny, your social worker is here."
Her statement missed the mark. It was like telling a poltergeist a Ghostbuster arrived. I kind of looked at mom kind of odd. That is when I realized mom stood behind me when she shouted her instructions. Since I wasn't presented between two slices of bread, I kind of expected my reception would not win favor but I did not expect the worse either. Renny stirred for a moment, licked his chops, opened his eyes, and then reared up in bed with his hands clawing in the air. He reminded me of a grizzly bear preparing to attack. I didn't want to get into a tussle. Heck, the exposed bed coils alone would result in a workman's compensation claim.
"Grrrrrhhh." He growled. "Grrrhhh."
"What's he doing?" I asked backing up towards the door. Once I sized up the situation, I realized I had not even a single french fry to offer. I'll admit to being a little afraid at this point.
"That is his bear impersonation." Mom explained. "I told you he can be a bear when he wakes up but you didn't believe me."
Point taken and I escaped without incident. I don't care what my job description says. I could work another twenty years as a social worker without ever again making the mistake of strolling into a den to awaken a bear from hibernation.



Blogger PaxRomano said...

All new DDD employees should have to read this story.

8:56 AM  

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