Rambo called me from work the other day and when I asked how his day went, he said,
“It’s been a really shitty day.”
Immediately – I’m scared.
Shitty days in a super max prison are a whole different kind of shitty then most people’s shitty days.
I braced myself for what “shitty” meant.
He said, “I got exposed today at work.”
Exposed to me means that he got spit on or urine got thrown at him or feces got on him and it connected with his bare skin or a facial cavity.
Most of the men at the prison have things like Hepatitis C or AIDS or things like that. When a guard is exposed – it’s a big deal with consequences that can last a lifetime.
But that’s not what happened this time. Thank God.
Rambo meant that he got exposed – to gas. The vent system didn’t work properly and so after an inmate was gassed – the gas traveled to the cage where Rambo was and he couldn’t leave that post or get out.
The inmate wouldn’t listen to Rambo and actually said to the guards – “Let’s do this thing. You guys are going to have to come in and gas me and get me.”
So they did.
Idiot. He has asthma even. Can you imagine getting gassed with asthma? Idiot.
Anyway – for the rest of Rambo’s shift his head was in a trash can and his eyes burned and dripped tears and snot dripped and he was coughing and hacking and vomiting.
Shitty day indeed.
Rambo had a chiro appt after work and just by touching Rambo, the chiropractor got exposed a little and he was coughing and hacking. The gas stays on you. We can’t touch Rambo until he showers and the worst part is that when you get wet and shower – the gas reactivates all over again.
He coughed even 2 days later from the gas in his lungs.
It sucks donkey balls.
I felt bad for the guy.
The thing about Rambo is that it doesn’t even seem to get to him.
Let’s just put it out there that if I had been gassed at work…well I wouldn’t be able to do dishes, cook, clean, work, sleep, talk or move for about a week. I’d be out of commission. Forget being a mother and wife and career woman. I was gassed man – I can’t do anything BUT recover!!
Not Rambo. That same night after Rambo showered and went through all the pain and discomfort again from the reactivation, he went outside by the girls who were on the trampoline.
I heard screaming and giggling…more than the usual anyway. Like all kinds of commotion and excitement. So I went out to see what was going on.
Rambo was in the trampoline.
Bouncing around like an idiot. And I think he even surprised himself at how fun it was because he was laughing every time he flew in the air like he couldn’t even stop if he tried.
And the girls?
You couldn’t have stopped them from smiling or laughing no matter how hard you tried. Their Dad was jumping in a trampoline with them. Sometimes Watermelon was laughing so hard AT him that she couldn’t even jump.
Big ‘ol from the gut laughs – from all of them. And from me watching.
For them – this is normal. They have a Dad who does silly stuff like that and isn’t afraid.
For me – I watch with tears in my eyes and my breath caught in my throat. I know that for me – this was not normal. This did not and would not ever happen. I wouldn’t have believed it if it had. And I certainly wouldn’t have known what to do with the moment had it occurred.
That’s okay. It is what it is. It is different than what my girls have – and that’s what matters. They won’t wish for a father who does things like this – even after a downright shitty day at work. They won’t wish for a father who laughs with them and hangs out with them – and notices that they are alive.
Long before I ever had kids – I made promises to them. Even unborn yet – I told myself that if I had kids, they’d never feel some of the same pains that I did. I may suck a fat baby’s ass in a lot of areas in my life – but this particular area – I conquered.
I made good on a promise to my little girls before I even knew they were little girls.
If I could some day write that on my headstone….I just might. It is without a doubt – one of my greatest achievements. Even if it doesn’t come with a trophy for the shelf.