Friday, May 20, 2011

The Delia Martin Show

I think it's going to be a huge hit, in the mode of  How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons and Two-and-a-Half Men, all rolled into one huge dysfunctional lump.

I thought of it just now, after Anthony told me another little, precious, endearing vignette from his childhood.

When he was a young guy, maybe 17, his father had a "nervous breakdown," as it was so charmingly termed in those good ol' days.

Anthony now refers to his father's decline as "general malaise," which is how he described it to the emergency operator when he called for an ambulance because the other adult in the house, his mother, was too childlike to take any action.

Anthony's father had been hitting the bottle hard for some time, and the depressions and God-knows what else gradually ate away at him, until the fateful evening when he curled up on the kitchen floor in a foetal position and rocked away until Anthony thought something needed to be done.

Doris: "Ooohhh, Anthony. Why is your father doing that?"

Anthony: "Oh, I don't know mom. Let's brain-storm. Maybe because he's a hardened alcoholic of many years, as you clearly already know? Maybe because he's been suspended from his job due to his drinking? Or might it be due to the fact that he's almost completely disengaged from his family, work and status in life, and despite appearances at the moment, seems to have no emotions whatsoever? Hmmmm???"

Doris: "Ooohhh Anthony. Don't be like that."

Ambulance arrives, attendants look puzzled, finally announce they're hauling Anthony's dad to the local bin, and Doris finally takes a stand:

Doris: "Noooo!!!! Not to the Royal Kookytown Kooky-Bin!!! Take him to the General! What will the neighbors think?"

At which point, Anthony's father roused himself from his rocking, looked Doris in the eye and hissed out: "Fishmonger."

Which was at least a cut up from some of the other words he also called her.

Context: Anthony's dad came from a monied, well-established Kookytown family. He married Doris, who was quite the looker, right after she jumped off the turnip truck from The Labrador. She grew up in a teensy fishing village that had no real road in, just a path of sorts, and was the oldest of 11 brats. And after the delight of Doris' looks wore thin for Anthony's father, he took to smacking her around and calling her horrid things.

She never adapted to big city ways. You can take the girl out of The Labrador, but apparently, in Doris' case anyway, you can't take The Labrador out of the girl.

Anthony's father finally understood that, I believe. He came to habituate fine furniture and housewares stores, buying china for the dining room and signing his children up for refined activities like jazz dance.

Doris was embarrased, again, that the neighbors might actually see her husband buying Royal Doulton. She thought it extremely odd that a man would hang around the china department at Eaton's and she felt shame.

Anyway, Anthony's father went from china to booze to the bin.

Don't you think it would make a great show?

Today's episode: Anthony and Delia struggle with raging emotions and little-understood, dysfunctional urges. Cut away to little vignettes from Anthony's past, soft-dissolve back to the present.

Ah yes, everything is much clearer now.

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