Freudian Slips: The Empty Cupboard

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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.

September 26, 2006

The Empty Cupboard

Ronnie and Reba Hubbard lived in a cupboard and had their children taken away. Like an accident waiting to happen, the family courts ripped Reba’s children one by one from her arms. The Hubbards continued to thirst for a child of their own so much so that their lives became single purposed. Blessed or not, their union created life over and over and from it children did grow to thirst. The children might have grown up to have more sense and sensibility than their parents did but adoption took care of that. Adoption supplied surrogate parents forcing each child to grow up not knowing their biological parents. The defrocked parents harbored extraordinary hurt and anger and what flesh and blood human wouldn’t?
Never in a million babies would I question their resentment of the government but I unanimously supported each of the court decisions terminating custody. Every good intention in the world cannot mask incompetence. Love only takes you so far. Their failure to satisfactorily pass parental training classes exposed their glaring deficiencies under a Hubble telescope for judge and jury. Their lack of judgment and uneducable nature provided the potential for grave consequences detrimental to a child’s welfare. Anticipatory care of a living breathing human being with vulnerable needs was not part of their constitution. Quite frankly the Hubbards didn’t always dress the porcelain figurines in their baby doll collection. Not a foolproof formula, Hubbard family planning amounted to subtraction by addition.
The woman of four vaginal childbirths groveled. “Joe, why can’t they let us keep just one baby? Just one, that’s all we want? Just one.”
Reba’s juvenile pairing of words were covered by a baby’s blanket of denial. It was a loaded question on a slippery slope atop heartbreak hill. Her plea tugged on my heavy pumping heart and she caught me stumbling out of the gate.
I preambled, “……Ugh, I know you both disagree with the court decisions but by God for the sake of argument and anguish, you know the answer to that question. By God, we have been through this so many times.”
I gauged their reaction. Forced to confront their still unrecognized dream, their shoulders mightily slumped. Ronnie rattled off a few curse words while teary-eyed Reba turned away from me. They hugged one another in a united front against the system. From their perspective, I represented the system that egregiously wronged them. I, the enemy at the gates of their empty cupboard.
Years passed. The screw turned.
In a natural outgrowth, this childless couple turned to babysitting other people’s children. It may boggle a mind the kind of parent who would entrust their children with Hubbard supervision but it happened. I once got an eyewitness report of the Hubbard’s idea of babysitting. They were haphazardly pulling a weeble-wobble child in a little red wagon on a busy road facing the teeth of oncoming traffic. Early intervention became necessary all over again. It took equal parts counseling and divine intervention to convince them that being responsible for other people’s children was not a substitute to fill the parenting void in their life.
Years passed. The screw turned.
One day I made an unannounced visit to their small apartment. Unscheduled drop-ins allowed me opportunity to look for warning signs of trouble like the evidence of baby toys in their home. There were no traces of human life. The instant I felt relief, I peered down at a small furry animal in a wire cage. In a natural outgrowth, this childless couple turned to caring for a pet. While I cannot attest to the care given to that caged animal, it looked like the critter wanted out.
Reba interjected, “We named her after our first born, Georgina. Say hello to Georgina.”
A slide show of their lives played in high definition resolution and the gravity of the moment sank in. A social worker without words is not a good social worker.
Before I could respond, Ronnie Hubbard asked a seemingly straightforward question from his empty cupboard. “What do you think about our guinea pig?”
I seldom waste breath stating the obvious but literally and physically in the purest sense of the word…this was a guinea pig.



Anonymous Marcus said...

Joey,Joey,Joey.....I get all wrap up in the story and actually laugh my as off at the conclusion. Stop it you bastard

11:46 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I am afraid that this is a continuing story.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sad story, all to common Di

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:15 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

well put.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Stefan said...

Good Job! :)

6:45 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

thanks for reading.

8:21 AM  

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