My dad has a hilarious ability to swing from over-protective parenting to laissez faire, no big deal parenting, almost on a dime. The same guy who told me to "Never try that" after watching an Ace Ventura commercial where he catches a bullet with his teeth is also the same guy who happily took me to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in the theater and sat through it with me.
His approach to emergency medical care left something to be desired though. Every injury was treated with the gentleness of a Civil War era hospital with no anesthesia. Scraped knees from bikes were treated with rubbing alcohol jammed directly on to the wound while you desperately tried to squirm away.
This is all preface to the craziest care he ever administered, but also one of the best memories I have of seeing a movie with him.
My mom was out of town, taking my brother and his friend to an event in Chicago, leaving me with my dad. I remember nothing of that weekend until the day we were supposed to pick them up from the train station. That day, I was outside playing with friends in my neighbor's backyard. While crouched by a wood shed, I felt something crawl on my arm, near my shoulder. I instinctively slapped it and felt whatever it was stop moving. Then, a slow burn started in the area and it really started to hurt. I brushed my shirt sleeve a little more and a huge bumble bee fell out. I started crying from the pain and immediately darted home in terror about the bee sting on my arm.
My dad sat me on the couch, took out his lighter, grabbed a pin from my mom's side table, sterilized the pin with the lighter and went in to remove the stinger. I remember staring at him in slight horror as this was happening, thinking "Wh-What are you going to do with that pin?" He popped the stinger out of my arm, then grabbed a band aid and the phone.
I distinctly remember him calling the doctor's office and basically asking "How can I tell if she's allergic?" It's humorous in retrospect, but to be completely fair to my dad I had never been stung by a bee before, so we had no idea if I was allergic or not. He nodded a few times and asked, "How's your breathing?" Being a slight hypochondriac, I took a few melodramatic breaths to make sure I was ok and replied, "Fine." He talked to the doctor a little more and hung up. To ensure absolute safety, I had to elevate my arm on some pillows and sit there with an ice pack for a while. Again, being a little dramatic and a hypochondriac as a kid, each breath I drew was held slightly and carefully checked to ensure that I would be able to do it again in a moment.
I sat on the couch with my arm elevated, breathing overly slowly, and staring straight forward for a while. I don't know where the decision came in to take me to the movies, but it was on the way to the train station, and clearly I needed some cheering up.
The movie of choice was Babe. Little girl+talking farm animals+singing mice=no more bee sting woes. Sure enough, I was totally happy by the end of the movie. I loved every minute of it. The little pig, the puppies, the duck, James Cromwell saying, "That'll do pig." It all washed over me and made me feel like the bee sting had never happened.
We picked up my mom, brother and his friend from the station and drove home.
Of course, I got the movie and watched it a million times over. And despite my love for Babe and the adorable sight of piglets every spring at Kensington Metro Park (also see the Hugh Jackman post for further proof), it has not stopped my mad love for bacon.
Man, I love bacon. And my dad.