Monday, February 01, 2010

It Doesn't Take a Brain Surgeon

Whenever something's easy you always hear someone say "well it doesn't take a brain surgeon" implying that brain surgeons are the smartest people around. In my family, we never use this phrase and this is because of Dr. John, a real brain surgeon who just seems to not get it about a lot of things. Brains apparently, he gets. Now if only he'd use his own.

We've known Dr. John since the early 90s when my mom found him in an AOL chat room. Remember those? My grandfather was gravely ill and my mother had to stay home and take care of him for two years. She became bored and restless so I showed her how to use AOL and then she spent most of her time on it, relieving her loneliness by talking to strangers who called themselves things like "LovDctr45" and "WellHng13." I don't know what Dr. John's screen name was. I kind of don't want to know honestly. I don't even know what kind of chat room they were in. All I know is that they started talking and then it moved on to the phone and then Dr. John was coming down from Orlando to see us on most weekends. It sounds sordid, like they were having some sort of affair. It wasn't like that at all. It began with my mother asking innocent medical questions about my grandfather, who was languishing away after a heart attack and a stroke and appeared to have brain damage or dementia or something odd going on in his brain. Then, Dr. John said he'd come down for the weekend and take a look at him. Dr. John and my dad bonded that weekend over Dr. John's red Porsche convertible and Dr. John, who had no family of his own and had been through a scathing divorce from a vicious, anorexic with severe borderline personality disorder, just fit in with our whole crew.

His ex-wife having taken their opulent mansion, Dr. John resorted to living in his office. He slept on his examining tables and ate cup o soups microwaved in his employees' break rooms, while watching his waiting room TV. He changed and showered at his gym across the street. On good days, he got a hot meal at the hospital cafeteria. It wasn't that he couldn't afford a new place. It just seemed like too much trouble and he didn't like living alone. Living in his office was simpler, he thought.

But Dr. John wanted a family. His much younger (of course) ex, had been too unstable and unhealthy to have children and this is a very good thing. Dr. John told us a lot about his own upbringing too. He had a cruel mother. His father died in WWII and he was raised by an angry stepfather who beat him. He left home in high school to play pro-baseball, played a season and decided that it was too risky of a career, so he went to medical school. Tinkering with brains, he felt, was a more noble and worthy use of his time than trying to hit a ball with a fat stick. He never spoke to his mother or stepfather again. He was like an orphan.

Most of the people who find their way to us have similarly bad or non-existent families. I think people who are troubled like our close family, but also the fact that our family is strange enough to both have family values but also to not be stuffy and uptight like something from a 1950s sitcom. My parents don't judge (although there have been times when they should have) and anything goes. Everyone's invited to Sunday dinner. Dr. John really, really needed to feel like he had a family and we became his surrogate.

He came every weekend to see us and we all loved him. He's soft spoken and gentle, although he has arms and legs like Popeye. He has pale blue eyes, a freckled nose and his white hair was once strawberry blond. He's not a bad looking guy at all. And he's rich, so he could have his pick of lovely women.

This is where things get bad.

Dr. John, while a brilliant brain surgeon, is apparently severely disabled when it comes to choosing women. He likes whores.

This being South Florida, there are many varieties and sub-genres of whores. I could do a lengthy post about all the different kinds of whores we have down here. Some of them are "klassy" others are less so. Many are uneducated young girls from other countries trying to screw their way into the American dream. Others come from small towns in this country, seeking a kind of glamour they've seen on cable TV.

Dr. John didn't go for the classier kind. He liked them straight out of the trailer park, as young and scrawny as possible and vicious. Maybe it has something to do with his mother, but Dr. John liked bitches. And stupid bitches if you want me to be totally honest about it. He'd pay big time for them.

He took them on lavish shopping sprees. No one could ever say that Dr. John was stingy. He brought my sister and I decadent gifts as well, but we always felt embarrassed and shy about it. We didn't want anything from him. We just liked him as a person. He became like an uncle to us. His girlfriends felt differently though.

Sometimes he brought women with him when he came for the weekend. For a while there they were always different, lanky teenagers who wore low cut, spandex dresses and had buck teeth and tramp stamps. One of them I remember, ate nothing except tomato soup from a can. Each time he brought a girl down to visit, he'd take her over to the mall and spend hours there letting her run through his credit cards like she'd won some sort of shopping spree on a game show. Then, we'd never see the girls again, which was good because we hated all of them.

In 1999, Dr. John got a steady and she was a little different from the others. Slightly older but just as stupid, skinny and bitchy, Georgia Helton had been Dr. John's rebound relationship during and after his divorce. It had been six years since they'd seen each other and now Georgia had a five year old daughter named Maizee, which she swore might be Dr. John's. After all, Maizee and Dr. John both had hay fever. He had to be her father and if he was her father, then he was going to pay for her pageant dresses and other expenses like tanning, hair pieces, coaches and false teeth.

My family took a Christmas trip to Orlando in December of 99. I lived in Atlanta at the time and came down for the holidays to go. My sister was a senior in high school. We met up with Dr. John and Georgia for a Christmas dinner at a very high end restaurant with a lovely prix fixe holiday menu.

I remember thinking that Georgie Helton looked like a socialite. She had a blonde page boy with bangs and wore Chanel suits, which was a big difference from the usual skanks he hung out with. Ok, I thought, maybe she's not so bad. But then, as we started in on our shrimp cocktail, she removed from her Louis Vuitton purse, a Nestle crunch, peeled off the wrapper, pushed her first course aside and began nibbling, chipmunk style, on the candy bar.

"What are you doing?" my mother asked.

Georgie Helton giggled like a 7th grader and Dr. John laughed this awful, fake laugh.

"She doesn't eat food," he said then laughed again, "Isn't that hilarious? Georgia just eats candy!"


Once she had taken about six mouse bites from the chocolate, she announced that she was going to the bathroom to brush her teeth.

"I've whitened them so many times that they're see through now and I don't want to stain them," she explained.

My sister mouthed to me from across the table: "SHE HAS CLEAR TEETH!"

But that was just the start of Georgia Helton's weirdness.

*I must continue this later because I have to go to work now.*


JoeinVegas said...

Oh, proof that intelligence and money don't bring smarts. You really do know a lot of different people.

dissed said...

God, you know how to leave us hanging. CLEAR TEETH. **can't wait**

Anonymous said...

OMG! Why I have always been careful not to bleach my teeth too much. I always thought it was possible to make them clear, but never 100% sure. Now I know.

June Gardens, whose teeth seem to be opaque said...

I really would have gone for a Snickers, and not a Nestles, if that's all I was gonna eat. You know? Something with a little staying power.

Jean_Phx said...

Hurry, Hurry!

Missicat said...

You are leaving us hanging to go to WORK?? Where are your PRIORITIES??? :-)

Anonymous said...

Whoa. I need to make a dental appointment now. And never, never think about clear teeth ever again.

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