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Jean Candiotte

Creative Director

12

26

New Story, "Sick Wit" - Draft 1. Plus "Animal Attraction and Other Dangerous Activities" - Draft 4B

Hi All - My Dad is very sick and is in the hospital.  The experience inspired this story:

Sick Wit -- Draft 1

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In many families, people debate and discuss their way through problems.  This is not the case in mine.  We run as far away from confronting them as possible.  In my family, we communicate by telling jokes. 

Having an issue with someone?  Don’t think about it; tell a riddle instead.  Mad at a sibling?  Why discuss it? Better to just impersonate them behind their back.  Family member having meltdown in public?  Divert attention, and tell a cute story about something… anything. 

Deflect from the situation at hand.  It’s a lot easier than actually dealing with it, and much more fun.

So, we tell jokes. The short ones are easy to remember.  Puns are good, because they make you stop and think for a second.  Goofy ones are always welcome.  And Jewish humor is a favorite.

My Dad will repeat the same joke over and over again… and over again. We all know the punchline.  There’s no surprise to it. However, there’s a familiarity in the repetition of the joke; we get to see Dad being Dad.  “What do you call a deer with no eyes?” he will ask over and over.  I’m not sure whether it’s to engage with him or to get him to stop repeating himself that makes me say back, “No idea.”

Over the years, I’ve found that in addition to its pain-avoidant properties, this joke telling has had glue-like bonding tendencies.  And recently, I’ve come to appreciate another property of joke telling, its medicinal qualities.

Dad has had Parkinson’s Disease for 16 years, and over time, like any progressive disease, it’s gotten worse and worse. And now -- Dad’s in the hospital. He went in with one condition, and has developed other complications while he’s been there.

It’s tough to see him laying in bed, day after day.  The reality of Parkinson’s Disease is that you tell your body to do one thing, and it refuses.  Or it does the opposite.  It’s like a horrible little child. It wants to nap all day, talk in gibberish, and drool all over your shirt.

My Dad’s been in the hosp for over three weeks at this point. And as the Parkinsons advances, the horrible child takes over.  The doctors keep it back as much as possible with the meds. But some days, if the medicines are not in control, the horrible child is winning.

I visit Dad often.  He’s always sleeping, despite the constant noise and buzz going on in the hospital room and hallway;  he can’t keep his eyes open. He sleeps all day, and not waking or eating.  I’m doing everything I can think of, to get him to open his eyes and wake up. Calling out to him, playing music for him. 

So what do I do next? I sit next to his bed and tell him jokes.

“Dad, what do you call a deer with no eyes?...."  "What do you get if you cross an elephant and a rhinoceros?”

No response.  Dad continues to lay there, with his eyes closed, not hearing me.  Then, just like him, I start repeating the jokes, this time giving him the punchlines to see whether they will jog his memory, or elicit any response:

“What do you call a deer with no eyes?  No idea.” 

“What do you get if you cross and elephant and a rhinoceros?  Eleph-ino!”

“Why aren’t there any Wal-Marts in Afghanistan?  They all became Targets!!”

Again, nothing. 

Then, after a while, I see his lips move.  I hear a small voice say something like:  “I’d just keep the tips.” 

I can’t make out what he’s saying. “What, Dad?” I ask.  “I’d just keep the tips,” I definitely hear him say again.

At first, I have no idea what he is saying. Is he having a Parkinsons episode?  What’s he murmuring about?  

Then I recall a joke from many years back.  I stand up and yell to him, “If I was a moil I’d perform circumcisions for free!!”

Now there’s silence all around me.  The hum of the room falls quiet. The nurses and aides have all stopped what they were doing, and stare at me. From the edge of the curtain shielding the patient in the next bed, I see pairs of surprised eyes glaring out.

And from his bed, with his eyes still closed, I hear Dad repeat the punchline, “And I’d just keep the tips.” 

I can see he is very proud of himself.  The corners of his mouth are slowly heading upward in a thin, shaky smile.  

There was a lot of healing in Dad’s room today. Tomorrow I’m going to focus on more hospital-appropriate humor. 

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Animal Attraction and Other Dangerous Activities -- Draft 4B

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It started out like any other encounter:  the humans pay, we dolphins perform.  I knew this little girl had chosen me.  Through the crowd, I could hear her saying, “Look! That one is smiling at me!”  

Smiling?... Hah!  My mouth is just bent that way. Please don’t read into it.  But I mean -- have you ever seen a picture where I’m NOT smiling? Think about it.

Then suddenly -- she’s right in front, and she’s reaching for my blowhole. I know she wants to touch it. Bad.

Oooh….. if I could get her underwater, to my cave.  We’d be all alone. She could see how strong I am when I’m not in this stupid little….  

Wait – hello?  What am I thinking?  I’m stuck here at work.  My carefree bachelorhood days are done.

So there we were.  Things were about to get out of hand. But what do you expect when you put 2 hot-blooded mammals together? Some shit is bound to go down.

I concentrate and give her my best. She’s leading me on, so I take the bait.  …More precisely, I eat the bait.  Squid, shrimp.  Small crustaceans.  That’s my jam.

Then suddenly -- no, no, no!!!!!! – she’s lifting the white plate!!  Yummy fish, where are you going???  

Instinctively, I jump up and reach for the plate.  Oh, and, yes -- her hand, too. Ooops.

What the hell happened??  She knew the fucking rules.  And her big people???  They knew the rules too!

Rules are there for a reason.  Without rules… we might as well be just a bunch of scumbag swordfish.  Swimmin’ around, no morals, no code. She’s just a little girl, she can’t be trusted to get it right on her own. Why’d her big people leave her?  They should have been there too, instead of shooting that kinky video they posted on the internet.

I bet they’ll never let her see me again.  

The sting of tears hits my saltwater eyes.  I dive under and shake free of the memories.

I think of the little girl.  And then I think more about small crustaceans.

I hear noise, and swim up.  I remind myself, “Today’s a new day.” From down front, I see another little kid coming at me with his big people.  They've got a white plate.  Mackerel, herring. Small crustaceans. Just the way I like it.

They don’t know my past.  They look right at me, and I feel innocent again.  Plus I can smell the crustaceans. 

I smile.  (…I mean I have no other choice, do I?)

The one holding the plate is a boy. He smiles back.  I hone in on the plate and sidle up right in front of him.  I start munching.

But this time I keep one eye fixed on the boy and his big people.  I hope they’re not gonna be dicks like the last bunch.

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Here is Draft 3 –

ANIMAL ATTRACTION AND OTHER DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES 

By Jean Candiotte

It was another hot, sticky day.  It started out like any other encounter.  Through the crowd, I could hear her saying, “That one is smiling at me!”  

Smiling?... Hah!  My mouth is just bent that way. Please don’t read into it.  But I mean -- have you ever seen a picture where I’m NOT smiling? Think about it.

Then suddenly -- she’s right in front, and she’s reaching for my blowhole. I know she wants to touch it. Bad.

Oooh….. if I could get her underwater, to my cave.  We’d be all alone. She could see how strong I am when I’m not in this stupid little….  

Wait – hello?  What am I thinking?  I’m stuck here at work.  My carefree bachelorhood days are done.

So there we were.  Things were about to get out of hand. But what do you expect when you put 2 hot-blooded mammals together? Some shit is bound to go down.

I concentrate and give her my best. She’s leading me on, so I take the bait.  …More precisely, I eat the bait.  Squid, shrimp.  Small crustaceans.  That’s my jam.

Then suddenly -- no, no, no!!!!!! – she’s lifting the white plate!!  Yummy fish, where are you going???  

Instinctively, I jump up and reach for the plate.  Oh, and, yes -- her hand, too. Ooops.

What the hell happened??  She knew the fucking rules.  And her big people???  They knew the rules too!

Rules are there for a reason.  Without rules… we might as well be just a bunch of scumbag swordfish.  Swimmin’ around, no morals, no code. She’s just a little girl, she can’t be trusted to get it right on her own. Why’d her big people leave her?  They should have been there too, instead of shooting that kinky video they posted on the internet.

I bet they’ll never let her see me again.  

The sting of tears hits my saltwater eyes.  I dive under and shake free of the memories.

I think of the little girl.  And then I think more about small crustaceans.

I hear noise, and swim up.  I remind myself, “Today’s a new day.” From down front, I see another little kid coming at me with his big people.  They've got a white plate.  Mackerel, herring. Small crustaceans. Just the way I like it.

They don’t know my past.  They look right at me, and I feel innocent again.  Plus I can smell the crustaceans. 

I smile.  (…I mean I have no other choice, do I?)

The one holding the plate is a boy. He smiles back.  I hone in on the plate and sidle up right in front of him.  I start munching.

But this time I keep one eye fixed on the boy and his big people.  I hope they’re not gonna be dicks like the last bunch.

 

  ----------------

Here is Draft 2.  Still tweaking.

ANIMAL ATTRACTION AND OTHER DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES 

By Jean Candiotte

It started out like any other encounter.  I was leaping up, giving her my best moves.

I heard her saying, “Oh, look, that one is smiling at me!”  

Smiling? Hah!  My freakin’ mouth is just bent that way.  Please don’t read too much into it, ladies. I wouldn’t get too deep about it.  But have you ever seen a picture where I’m NOT smiling?  Think about it.

Anyway, then suddenly she’s reaching for my blowhole.  I know she wants to touch it.  Bad.

Oooh….. if I could just get her down around 15 meters underwater.  To my cave, where we’d be all alone.  My cousin did that once with a girl.  It didn’t end too well.  But I could show her how strong I am when I’m not stuck in this stupid little….  Wait – hello?  What am I thinking?  I’m stuck here at work.  For like – For EVER.  The days of my carefree bachelorhood are done for now.

So there we were, me and this girl.  And things were about to get out of hand.  But what do you freakin’ expect when you put 2 hot-blooded mammals together?  Some shit is bound to go down.

I’ve got something she wants.  And she knows it.  She tells her big people she wants to take me home.  I wish she would take me home.  Away from this mess, these crowds.  I bet she’s got a nice big cave.

But… I’m still at work.  So I concentrate on giving her my best.  And I’m munching.  Squid, shrimp, small crustaceans.  That’s my jam.  She’s leading me on.  So I take the bait.  More precisely, I eat the bait.

Then suddenly -- no, no, no, no!!!!!! – she’s lifting the white plate!!  Yummy fish, where are you going???  

So – I reach for the white plate.  Oh, and, yes.  Her hand, too.  Ooops.  What the hell happened??  She knew the fucking rules.  What the hell were her big people doing?  They knew the rules too!

Rules are there for a reason.  Without rules… we might as well be just a bunch of scumbag swordfish.  Swimmin’ around, no morals, no code.  She’s just a little girl, she can’t be trusted to get it right on her own.  Why did they leave her alone with me?  They should have been chaperoning, instead of shooting that kinky video they put on the internet.

I bet they’ll never let her see me again.  I feel the sting of tears come into my saltwater eyes.  I duck down under the water to shake myself free of the memories.

I think of the little girl.  And then I think more about small crustaceans.

I hear noise coming from above, so I swim up and emerge.  I remind myself, “today’s a new day.”  From down front, I can see another little kid coming at me with his big people.  They've got a white plate.  Mackerel, herring, cod.  And small crustaceans.  Just the way I like it.

This one doesn’t know my secret, my past.  This one looks right at me.  I feel innocent again.  I smile.  (I mean I really have no other choice, do I?)

They get closer and I realize the small one with the plate is a boy.  He smiles back.

I hone in on his white plate as I sidle up to the bar right in front of him.  I start munching.  But this time I keep one eye fixed on the little boy and his big people.  I hope they’re not gonna be dicks like the last bunch.

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Here is my Story, Draft 1.  

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ANIMAL ATTRACTION AND OTHER DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES 

By Jean Candiotte

Jesus Christ, it was a hot sticky day.  The kind that makes you want to lounge around by the pool, go for a bite and a swim.  But no, I had to work, of course.

I show up and there’s the rest of the crew.  Loud, stinky.  Always pushing and shoving.  They make it hard to concentrate and be chilled.  Which is how I like to play it.

And then the crowd comes in -- another big, obnoxious bunch to entertain.

I always try to look cool.  First impressions are everything.  And it seems to work for me, “Oh don’t I look so cute… My skin is so soft… Can I kiss you?... Look at him, he’s smiling at me… Blah, blah, blah.”  I know these chicks mean well, it just gets really tired after a while.

Today though, I am the shizzle.  I am dancing, and I am in rare form.  Then I look up.  There she is again.  The same one I’ve seen before.  She was here earlier today, and now she’s back again?  I guess she just can’t stay away.

It started out like any other encounter.  I am leaping up, giving her my best moves.

I hear her saying, “Oh, look, that one is smiling at me!”  Smiling hah!  My freakin’ mouth is just bent that way.  Please don’t read too much into it, ladies. I wouldn’t get too deep about it.  But have you ever seen a picture where I’m NOT smiling?  Think about it.

Anyway, then suddenly she’s reaching for my blowhole.  I know she wants to touch it.  Bad.

Oooh….. if I could just get her down around 15 meters underwater.  To my cave, where we’d be all alone.  My cousin did that once with a girl.  It didn’t end too well.  But I could show her how strong I am when I’m not stuck in this stupid little….  Wait – hello?  What am I thinking?  I’m stuck here at work.  For like – For EVER.  The days of my carefree bachelorhood are done for now.

So there we were, me and this girl.  And things were about to get out of hand.  But what do you freakin’ expect when you put 2 hot-blooded mammals together?  Some shit is bound to go down.

I’ve got something she wants.  And she knows it.  She tells her big people she wants to take me home.  I wish she would take me home.  Away from this mess, these crowds.  I bet she’s got a nice big cave.

But… I’m still at work.  So I concentrate on giving her my best.  And I’m munching.  Squid, shrimp, small crustaceans.  That’s my jam.  She’s leading me on.  So I take the bait.  More precisely, I eat the bait.

Then suddenly -- no, no, no, no!!!!!! – she’s lifting the white plate!!  Yummy fish, where are you going???  Why are you leaving????

So – I reach for the white plate.  Oh, and, yes.  Her hand, too.  Ooops.  What the hell happened??  She knew the fucking rules.  What the hell were her big people doing?  They knew the rules too!

Rules are there for a reason.  Without rules… we might as well be just a bunch of scumbag swordfish.  Swimmin’ around, no morals, no code.  She’s just a little girl, she can’t be trusted to get it right on her own.  Why did they leave her alone with me?  They should have been chaperoning, instead of shooting that kinky video they put on the internet.

I bet they’ll never let her see me again.  I feel the sting of tears come into my saltwater eyes.  I duck down under the water to shake myself free of the memories.

I think of the little girl.  And then I think more about small crustaceans.

I hear noise coming from above, so I swim up and emerge.  I remind myself, “today’s a new day.”  From down front, I can see another little kid coming at me with his big people.  They've got a white plate.  Mackerel, herring, cod.  And small crustaceans.  Just the way I like it.

This one doesn’t know my secret, my past.  This one looks right at me.  I feel innocent again.  I smile.  (I mean I really have no other choice, do I?)

They get closer and I realize the small one with the plate is a boy.  He smiles back.

I hone in on his white plate as I sidle up to the bar right in front of him.  I start munching.  But this time I keep one eye fixed on the little boy and his big people.  I hope they’re not gonna be dicks like the last bunch.

Alternate end:   As I start to munch, I think to myself, “I wonder what little boys taste like.”

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Previous post:

Here are 3 preliminary story ideas:

1.  "Who is Mary Imagine?"  -- Mary Imagine lives in NYC.  She's a self-defined trophy wife, gourmet cook, and lover/collector of live poultry and fowl.  If you look at her Facebook and MySpace pages, you'll see she's got friends from all around the world.  There's only one catch....  The US Census Bureau, her high school, and the city of New York have no official records of her existence. 

2.  "The Life and Times of Sandra KouKou" -- I drove past a sign the other day with the name "Sandra KouKou" on it, and thought it was an awesome-sounding name.

3.  I Was Bitten By a Dolphin -- a young girl was bitten by a dolphin this past week, and the actual story sounds like a real tragic moment.   However, I've worked with trainers and dolphins at a dolphin sanctuary.  They are lovely, gentle creatures.  Don't you think?   So, when you first heard the news story this past week -- didn't you wonder -- to be bitten by a dolphin, wouldn't you have to be a real dick ? This story is an account of what kind of person gets bitten by a dolphin. 

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