“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me.
That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

While he wondered what all the fuss was about, DooDaddy nevertheless donned his eclipse glasses and gazed skyward. It’s this willingness to participate and experience new things that keeps him young(ish). Although today he told me he feels like he’s 100 years old.

We were at the doctor’s office. Again. Another week. Another UTI.

Then there’s shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen legs, or as DooDaddy explains it, “My ankles have two donuts around them, and I actually fell asleep during exercise class the other day.”

Of course there’s no shortage of well-meaning advice from fellow geezers telling him to drink cranberry juice and get more exercise. Our beloved Dr. Johnson says the cranberry juice myth has been debunked and that exercise is overrated. Especially when you have pins in your hip, a titanium femur and a wonky shoulder, not to mention Frankenstein shoes because one leg is now shorter than the other. And no, you can’t have a B-12 shot just for shucks.

DooDaddy told me this morning he had terrible nightmares last night. It seems he’d lost his bib clip and couldn’t find it anywhere. Then a traveling group of performers appeared in the house in the middle of the night uninvited. And just when he had turned the heat up for them, they disappeared. He said they were very ordinary looking, not glamorous at all, sort of on their way out, on the other side of fame and fortune … I’m wondering if his dream is self-referential.

Post-eclipse moonstruck madness. Feverish flights of fancy.

Next a steely-haired old crone all dressed in black appeared at his bedside staring intently at my portrait.

“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” DooDaddy wanted to know.

He said he was afraid she was going to say that I was her long-lost daughter, and she’d come for me. But then, poof, she was gone. Scary stuff. And why my portrait and not my sister Keeling’s or brother Randy’s? There’s no shortage of portraits in our father’s apartment.

It’s no wonder the Doo is short of breath and worn out, since he’s up all night with creepy dreams. You’d think at least that traveling troupe of actors could have been beautiful people, talented and drop-dead gorgeous, instead of dull and down-at-the-heels.

“Oh later on in my dream, I ran into Pat McClure in the hall,” added DooDaddy. “She was wearing that white suit she always wears.”

Good to know.

So I dropped him back off at The Home after a circuitous round trip to Powell, where Dr. Johnson’s office is located. Every time we go, DooDaddy asks him when he’s moving his practice back to Knoxville. The answer is always the same. He’s not.

Getting into the car is a struggle. Especially without bumping your head. Wrestling with the sun visor is a challenge. Feels like you’re wearing cement booties when you swing your cramped legs out onto the pavement. Heavy office doors, even when you press the handicapped button, always close too quickly before you can hobble through. Doormats catch on the tennis-balled feet of your walker. It’s all too much of a muchness these days. Better to stay in your cozy apartment, sink into your cushy custom recliner, elevate your puffy feet and drift into the Land of Nod. If only to look for your bib clip.

The Doo awaits the Solar Eclipse