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My Father's Horniness
March 22, 2013 9:57 AM   Subscribe

"He could barely muster a “hello” when I came in, and here he was waxing poetically to this 20-something stranger. As she walked away, he was smiling like a teenager behind the wheel of his first car. My normal reaction would have been to defend the poor nurse’s right to work in a harassment-free environment, but on this day, I was just too shocked by the eleventh hour show of virility. Here was a man, a bona-fide food addict, who had lost his will to eat. He couldn’t walk, and up until then, had stopped talking. He was wearing a diaper for Pete’s sake. But here he was, horny as hell and ready to party. It was his only vital sign still thriving. It was indomitable; impervious to the suite of diseases ravaging his body." Actor Dax Shepard recounts his father's last days before dying from cancer.
posted by CrazyLemonade (48 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
I read this earlier today. Such a beautiful and well-told story.
posted by kate blank at 10:02 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


WHAT'S WITH ALL THE FUCKING ONIONS AROUND HERE
posted by tylerfulltilt at 10:05 AM on March 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


FYI for the unaware, Shepard is married to Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars fame.
posted by dry white toast at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2013


I use to think of him as his character in Idiocracy, especially since the movies he's made aren't that good. But anyone who's seen him in Parenthood knows he's got talent and can play both drama and comedy pretty well. I get what Kristen Bell sees in him, and that picture at the end, with the the three of them, his dad's hand on her belly feeling the grandson he'll never see:
At one point, and unbeknownst to both of us, my wife walked into the room. She had flown in from LA without any warning. It was a surprise. It was an amazing, incredible, perfectly timed surprise. She lifted her shirt up and he put his hand on her swollen stomach. He left it there for the better part of an hour. He was smiling from ear to ear, sitting contently, unable to put together a sentence, but still capable of connecting to the new family member we were creating. He wasn’t going to make it to the birth, but that didn’t get in the way of him meeting the new baby. It was an emotional and triumphant moment. One I will never forget. If I live to be a thousand, I will still be in debt to my wife for giving him that one last thrill.
Oof...
posted by zombieflanders at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Oof...

Yeah, except that Yahoo! packaged that up as a celebrity baby bump photo story, which is crass and awful.
posted by kate blank at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, goodness. I've teared up over here.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2013


Really great, thank you.
posted by Kwine at 10:14 AM on March 22, 2013


That was a powerful good read. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2013


Yeah, except that Yahoo! packaged that up as a celebrity baby bump photo story, which is crass and awful.

Yeah, I saw that too...what an insensible way to bring attention to a beautiful story.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:16 AM on March 22, 2013


This is a beautiful story, well told. I connected with a lot of things he said watching my mom pass away very quickly from similar tumors, and I did get to be there at the finish line and for some strange reason it was incredibly therapeutic to be there for the last breath. It was a relief after months of stress and worry and I got to know it was very calm and she wasn't in pain at the end and it made a deeper impact on me than any funeral or reception did in the days that followed.

the movies he's made aren't that good

I can't articulate why I love last year's Hit and Run so much, it's not that great of a comedy/action thing and Tom Arnold is terrible in my opinion, but everything else about that movie is fan-fucking-tastic and the perfect popcorn movie I could watch 10 times in a week for the rest of the year.
posted by mathowie at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


wow I was doing fine until that picture. onion ninjas I tell you!
posted by KathrynT at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was a relief after months of stress and worry and I got to know it was very calm and she wasn't in pain at the end and it made a deeper impact on me than any funeral or reception did in the days that followed.

This a million billion times. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who has felt exactly this.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


WHAT'S WITH ALL THE FUCKING ONIONS AROUND HERE

Hey, this is a Kristen Bell related thread. You mean:

WHO LET THESE BABY SLOTHS IN HERE?
posted by yoink at 10:30 AM on March 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


Shit this was good writing.
posted by blucevalo at 10:36 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]



It was a relief after months of stress and worry and I got to know it was very calm and she wasn't in pain at the end and it made a deeper impact on me than any funeral or reception did in the days that followed.


I've felt self-conscious ever since for displaying what must have seemed like insensitive cheerfulness after my mother died. But this is it. It was just such a relief that she was no longer suffering.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:36 AM on March 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Mei's lost sandal, I know exactly what you mean. My grandmother passed away peacefully and painlessly in her own home, having narrowly escaped a death in the hospital full of tubes, wires, indignity, and pain. The way I put it to my mother is "I am very sad that she is dead, but I am so, so glad that she is no longer dying."
posted by KathrynT at 10:44 AM on March 22, 2013 [29 favorites]


Everybody has that, that point where you're more relieved they've finally dead and no longer suffering, than sad at their loss.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no idea who this actor or his wife are, but they are good humans. Good story.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:56 AM on March 22, 2013


Dax Shepard is my hero.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2013


His dad is too.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2013


My sister works at nursing home and yeah, let me tell you, those old guys are horny. And grabby. As her sister, it's a little scary.
posted by maryr at 11:01 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't hate the player, hate the game.
posted by Damienmce at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2013


okay
posted by Ghost Mode at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


that point where you're more relieved they've finally dead and no longer suffering, than sad at their loss.

When my father died, the relief that he was free from over a year of suffering, and we were too.

I missed him, and I still do, but sometimes you have your mourning before the death, and right after you don't have a need for more.
posted by zippy at 11:37 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The only thing I've ever seen Dax Shepard in was Hit and Run, which is a surprisingly fun/entertaining movie. It also made me go, "Okay, I get what you see in him, Kristen. I approve!"

I am pleased to see that he is a good writer as well. I'm impressed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dax Shepard is great in Idiocracy.


"I like money."
posted by stenseng at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a big fan of both Dax and Kristen Bell. It's interesting that he refers to her as his wife, because I was under the impression they were engaged, but were waiting for gay marriage to be legal in CA before tying the knot. (It may well be that he still chooses to refer to her as his wife, which is totally his prerogative).
I agree with jenfullmoon that Hit and Run is surprisingly good. I believe Dax wrote and directed that flick.

Also, seconding the comment(s) about his role in Parenthood. I think he is capable of some terrific comedic and dramatic acting. The first time I remember noticing his skill was in Zathura.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2013


That was surprisingly lovely. I will have to check out Hit and Run.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2013


I don't know who that actor is nor do I know who his wife is, but he can write very touchingly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:34 PM on March 22, 2013


My Dad acted in a similar manner during his health decline.... He'd always been one to ogle waitresses whenever we took him out to dine, but at least he usually kept his lascivious comments confined to the table after the server was out of earshot. He was in an extended-care facility at age 85 with only 15% heart function and barely able to feed himself, yet he'd still complain loudly when a male nurse attended to him ("Who the hell wants that? What about that pretty Philippine girl from last night? Where'd she go?") It broke my heart (and my siblings', too) that Dad was obviously not long for this world, but we still were able to get a chuckle out of him holding true to character until the very end.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:42 PM on March 22, 2013


What a great "not going gentle into that good night" anecdote about his Dad's virility right til the end.

This was a powerful and touching read. He had a tough time with his Dad when younger, so it was good that he was able to mend that bridge and establish such a deep bond. He shared this story with such warmth, gentleness and humor. He demonstrated how helping a love one make this last great journey can be one of the most intimate and richest human experiences, albeit heartbreaking at the same time.

I'm glad his Dad had a chance to sorta meet his baby, a nice full circle of the human experience at its best. That picture is wonderful Thanks for posting this, CrazyLemonade.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:18 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The way he repeatedly described how long a moment lasted really added to the feeling of treasuring every minute.
posted by orme at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2013


This is a beautiful story, well told. I connected with a lot of things he said watching my mom pass away very quickly from similar tumors, and I did get to be there at the finish line and for some strange reason it was incredibly therapeutic to be there for the last breath. It was a relief after months of stress and worry and I got to know it was very calm and she wasn't in pain at the end and it made a deeper impact on me than any funeral or reception did in the days that followed.

I was there at the last breath as well, though not with that experience. There was no pain at the very end because my mother had been through so much that there was very little of her left. It's not the last moments, but the months that lead up to it that are so indescribably tough.

I'm glad I was there until the end. I wouldn't give that up for anything in the world, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
posted by justgary at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't articulate why I love last year's Hit and Run so much, it's not that great of a comedy/action thing and Tom Arnold is terrible in my opinion, but everything else about that movie is fan-fucking-tastic and the perfect popcorn movie I could watch 10 times in a week for the rest of the year.

I love everything about that movie. I was expecting it to be terrible, but as Mr. [Clever Name] and I are both fans of Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, and their overwhelmingly cute coupledom, we had to see it. It turned out to be so much better than I expected. And I personally loved Tom Arnold in that role. Especially since so many "Marshal" shows in the past couple years show them as hardcore badasses.

The best part about that movie, though, was afterwards finding the back story. Dax wrote and directed it. The two main cars featured in it are his cars AND all the people in it are their friends. They basically called up a bunch of friends and said "let's make a movie!". And it turned out to be beautiful and heartfelt and silly all at the same time. Finding out it was a labor of love didn't surprise me at all.

This Dax character, I think people underestimate him a bit (probably from the shitty movies he's been in, to be fair).
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:26 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is very impressive writing, as there are a few examples of this sort of piece out there (as unfortunately, life has a habit of putting people in these sorts of positions).

This one stands out.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:39 PM on March 22, 2013


A friend, just months before cancer finally got her, told me "Either you're chasing something, or something is chasing you. That's how you know you're still alive."
posted by 445supermag at 3:24 PM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wasn’t going to comment, as plenty of people above have had the same experience of the photo catching their breath. I went on with the workday, not intending to revisit it. But.

I just keep coming back to the picture, and specifically the figure of his father. There’s such a weary nobility in his pose, of dignity and relief, of both giving and receiving a blessing.

I lost my dad last year, so this resonates deeply with me. He got to meet his granddaughter, luckily, and I have a treasured photo of her at 6 months on his lap, both of them grinning like the dickens. Video of him reading to her too. I doubt she’ll have any real memories of him, but it helps. I'm going to go dig that up and watch it tonight, and make sure it's backed up somewhere. Thanks, CrazyLemonade, for the posting.
posted by sapere aude at 4:09 PM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm going through a similar experience with my mom.

I read this last night and it hit me really hard.

he's also been consistently very solid on Parenthood. also my dog is named Crosby so we thought it was neat that his character had that name too (the dog came right before the show started I think).
posted by ninjew at 5:03 PM on March 22, 2013


I lost my Dad to cancer a few months back, and... fuck. I had to stop reading.

Incredibly well-written, sad without being the least bit sentimental. I'll have to come back to this at some point.
posted by Broseph at 6:03 PM on March 22, 2013


On first viewing, I thought to myself "Well, this will be just chock effing full of first world problems."

I've never been happier to be as wrong as I am right now. That was a well written, touching piece from the point of view of a guy relatively my own age coming to terms with both creating one life while concurrently watching one end.

Tipping my hat to you, Dax. Thanks.
posted by Sphinx at 6:48 PM on March 22, 2013


Moving account in general - but, sorry, it sounds as if the father had some hidden crass and sexist side that manifested in crass and sexist behaviour (that nurses tolerated because they get this kind of crap from crass and sexist old guys) when his inhibitions were diminished by illness/medication.

I feel qualified to comment because I may well be going down that path soon; I sincerely hope that I won't behave like that; nor if I do, have some disgusting degeneration of personality celebrated as a positive aspect of my feistiness.
posted by raygirvan at 8:07 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Raygirvan, there was nothing hidden about this side of him. His boys had been seeing this behaviour their whole lives. Dax was just happy to see it because it meant his father was still very much there.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:40 PM on March 22, 2013


but, sorry, it sounds as if the father had some hidden crass and sexist side that manifested in crass and sexist behaviour

When I was 17 I took the course to be a CNA in a convalescence hospital. It was medium sized, about 500 patients, ranging from able-bodied to comatose. I worked about a 100 hours or so of on the job training. I was one of 2 guys taking the class, all the rest were girls from my highschool and the same age as me.

They had their asses grabbed, boobs grabbed, the old guys would whip it out and jerk off when they came in the room etc. It wasn't uncommon, you'd see an old guy jerking it at least once a day. At 17 it was equal parts hilarious and horrifying.

They don't tell you that bit about getting old. One of my greatest fears is I will be an old and decrepit guy lying in one of those beds pleasuring myself between the bouts of screaming in agony.

Thing is, if it ever does come to that, I probably won't even be aware of what it is that I am doing. They didn't, one day they would smile at you and tell you how you looked like one of their kids or grandchildren, they would tell you stories about meeting their wives or what their kids do for a living. The next day you'd come in and there'd be a penis winking at you. Fun stuff.

TL;DR don't work in a convalescence hospital when you're 17 and old guys are horny, just like young guys.
posted by M Edward at 8:49 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really enjoyed that story. It was so life affirming. Thanks for posting it.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 9:02 PM on March 22, 2013


@:ThatCanadianGirl: Dax was just happy to see it because it meant his father was still very much there.

I guess so. If it pleases him to see that his father is still a git, and has become even more so because he's dying. No accounting for taste. For me, seeing accentuation of unpleasant personality traits has been one of the painful and depressing aspects of seeing relatives dying.
posted by raygirvan at 9:08 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not just the old guys. As a high schooler, I had a few summer jobs as an orderly in a nursing home and I was flatly propositioned regularly by many of the female residents. These bedridden women may have been trapped in failing bodies but their libidos were as strong as ever, if not stronger. Also, as the mental facilities fail, passions that have been simmering for decades find their way out: a man with Alzheimer's was convinced that I had slept with his wife (dead for over a decade); a woman who was also afflicted accused me of preferring her sister sexually (a sister I never met).
posted by Trace McJoy at 4:12 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the hidden benefits of cancer is that it can erode grudges the way WD-40 dissolves rust. It just finds it’s way into all the nooks and crannies and starts loosening. Before long, the once formidable chip on my shoulder had melded into something the size of a nicotine patch. Apologies were exchanged. Tears were had. Hugs were frequent and lingering.

I saw this with my dad and his father. It's beautiful, and heart-breaking. All that time with silent, simmering anger, and a couple dozen heartfelt words make it dissolve away.
posted by DigDoug at 6:01 AM on March 23, 2013


Posts like these terrify me. Time to go outside I guess. Heart disease and cancer are coming to get ya.
posted by UncensoredGuy at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2013


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