I became upset and started ranting that he could have hurt a child. It was at this point that he regaled me with a story about how he was careening in a fetal position at 10 m.p.h. around a local lake. Through his blurred vision he spied a small blond girl in his path. She had on a lavender dress; her pigtails were bobbing up and down as she pranced alongside her mother. Fast and furious, my father barreled towards her. Unable to stop, he picked her up just seconds before both bodies were about to collide. He told me that they rode together for a while and when he was able to slow down he placed her on the grass.
"What did her mother say?" I asked.
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He responded, "Not my problem."
When it gets too cold to roller blade, he skis. Well, sort of. Strapping on his helmet and a pair of skis that he obtained from another Vietnam vet who he claims "owed me a favor," he takes to the mountains of upstate New York.
Wielding his Disabled American Veterans' pass that he got for, well, getting shot, he skis free at some resorts and gets discounts at others. Claiming that he braves "the scariest mountains that are sheets of ice," he doesn't use poles and simply places his body in a cannonball position and takes off.
Naturally, I once asked, "What if you hit someone?"
This caused him to smirk and recount how he hit what he described as a young, chubby girl, referring to her as "sweetheart." Apparently Sweetheart didn't understand my father's command of "Left!" which he claims is ski lingo for "I'm passing on your left at a very high speed. I see you. Don't move."
Sweetheart either panicked or misunderstood and skied left into my father's path. Their skis became intertwined, and my father landed unscathed with a giant thud. Sweetheart wasn't so lucky, as my father had fallen on top of her. To add insult to injury, Sweetheart was down her front teeth, half-conscious and covered with snow. My father pointed out that he was thoughtful to stay with Sweetheart until the ski patrol sped over. He added that they had seen everything and exonerated him from blame, saying that she had had fair warning. When I asked if he knew what happened to Sweetheart, he said, "Not my problem."
So far, the closest I've come to a relationship is a short fling with a quirky comedy writer who hid a flask in his sock and hung purple plastic grapes from his ceiling, referring to it as "the grotto," and another with a man I met on Jdate whom I called my "virtual boyfriend." On text message, he'd wax romantic sending me electronic prose that read, "Hello, my gorgeous." In person he laughed like Beavis and Butthead and shared with me his past conquests, among them an overweight girl who, in his words, "I did when I was wasted."
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So whom am I going to bring home to my father? Not his problem.