Posted 2004-07-12 10:38:04 by
My grandfather passed away Sunday morning, so I'm going back to Florida for his funeral, less than a week from the previous visit. My employers will love this, but that's not what I'm here to write about.
To be perfectly frank, I was never that close to him. We exchanged maybe five words during my last visit (though I heard second-hand that my presence was comforting to him, which I'm glad for). The only real conversation I can ever remember having with him was during my previous visit, in 2001 or so, when I asked him what he had worked on during his career at Grumman. Lots of interesting stuff, as it turned out, but that's not what I'm here to write about either.
It was also during the previous visit that I discovered that, and this is what I'm here to write about, he was a really damn funny person. I think the reason I hadn't known before was that noone ever laughed when he would, e.g., stay outside and ring the doorbell instead of walking into the house with the rest of us. I don't think I ever tried to understand this behavior; it was just one of the mysteries of life that I'd known since childhood. But when I noticed a relative laughing at one of his nonsensical comments, it was like learning a new word, and suddenly that word was popping out at me wherever I went.
My favorite was probably when,in the context of talking about going to an eye doctor, someone asked him what was wrong with his eyes, and he kind of made a kind of a pointing-in-two-different-directions motion with his index fingers. To indicate lazy eyes, you see. Huh. I hate to give you a you-had-to-be-there, but god damn it, I say you get one free when the guy who was funny is now dead.