Practical Peggy plans the perfect party

Published 8:12 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

In a restless ongoing pursuit of the perfect party, I am planning my holiday soiree.

Preparations require deep thought.  You see, I have noticed that folks my age mainly

want to get together to discuss their latest ailments, making all parties end up the same—an airing of physical maladies.  Therein I will cut to the chase, immediately  getting everybody onto their favorite subject:  their bodies.

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Upon arrival I will hand out numbers.  Group #1—the knee replacement folks; #2—the titanium hipsters; #3—the cortisone-injected arthritics; #4—virtually every male guest (also known as the Prostate Pals); and #5—all the remaining weenies who are contemplating any of the above, but are, alas, too chicken to take the surgical plunge.

I will ask everyone to bring no-longer-used medical equipment to be shared with the group … walkers, shower stools, canes, support stockings, raised toilet seats, ace bandages, crutches, blood pressure cuffs, and trusses of all kinds.  Large items such as wheelchairs and electric scooters, albeit, will be left in car trunks to avoid cluttering up my front door entrance whereby creating what could be a blockage.  All of us, being familiar with blockages, will understand this reasoning.

As folks enter they will introduce and reintroduce themselves, always giving their full names followed by their birth dates … frequent visits to Mayo having cemented this procedure into our brains.  Forgetful old friends may be overwhelmed by meeting everyone for the first time, so I’ll provide name tags even though these could be problematic for the far vision folks … but, sheesh, I just can’t be all things to all people.

A woodsy aroma of pine cones will be wafting throughout the house, purposely conceived to counteract the miasmatic assault of the noxious Bengay used by my neuritis and neuralgia guests—which if undiluted could easily besiege our olfactories, rendering us senseless.  And who wants senseless at a gay, festive, holiday soiree?

Right off the bat I will ask each group to designate a spokesman who will later give a brief, but thorough TED talk on his/her group’s particular ailment.  Pencils and paper will be provided.  Visuals, including x-rays, are encouraged as well as any pertinent scars which may help to further embellish their presentations.  Displays of unrelated disfigurements, however, from breast implants, hysterectomies, appendectomies, carpel tunnel, tummy and bummy tucks will not be allowed, as well as the exhibiting of blemishes, pockmarks, Coumadin bruises, scratches and birthmarks.  Above all, braggarts who are itching to flagrantly flaunt fresh love bites will be asked to leave.

I am considering inviting my Rogaine friends, but fear they may lord their bushy new hairlines over the rest of us baldies.  In the same vein, anyone taking Viagra will be shunned for the boastful blatherskite that he is. Additionally, folks with bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis or fallen arches are on their own.  I don’t do feet.

There won’t be any winning maladies as every condition will be given equal respect.  I do frown upon mayonnaise-jar-displays of recently removed gall bladders and kidney stones, though, as I find them especially antithetical to my holiday décor. But, make no mistake, replaced hips and knees will be lauded for the true marvel that they are.  It makes me wonder why it is that all our joints seem to be failing at once?  Consider how much simpler (and cheaper) it would be if we simply traded components amongst ourselves without Mayo getting involved.  Moreover, why couldn’t the Weekly Shopper have a dedicated column for folks needing and willing to swap parts?

There will be a special table in the dining room for the exclusive exchange—or donation of—unused Depends and hearing aid batteries.  Anyone willing to share coupons will be remembered forevermore as philanthropic.  And, as a party bonus, I will distribute handouts listing information on local chiropractics, masseuses and quack doctors for the hypochondriacs who are in robust health, but feeling left out.

Haste must be made for soon the snow will be really piling up.  No one will come then for they’ll fear slipping on the ice.  Another consideration is that it must be an afternoon affair to accommodate the fuzzy-eyed cataract and no-night-vision friends who only venture out while the sun still shines.  Actually, it’s an unwritten city ordinance here that all gray hairs must be home by sunset before they turn cranky and ill-mannered.

As the party relaxes,the women will gather in small clusters to compare the grades, height and athletic prowess of their grandchildren.  Meanwhile the men will migrate into a mass clump which will immediately divide into two groups: the Prostate Pals and the Prostrate Pals.  I am giving serious consideration to offering lessons in correct pronunciation, but fear that for the latter group it is simply too late.  As I ponder this, husky bass voices will be boastfully shouting our PSA numbers like bids at an auction.

What’s with that, anyway?  Honestly, girls, did we ever EVER openly compare notes on our hysterectomies?  Especially at holiday parties?  Never.  Such intimacies will  never be acceptable Yuletide discourse.  But, no, no!  Not the Prostaters!  You’d think they were the only ones on Planet Earth whose plumbing ever crashed.

The clock will chime on the hour to announce prescription time.  Milk of Magnesia cocktails will be served with specially prepared low acidic, high fiber, low salt, low fat hors d’oeuvres professionally formulated in the Spam R&D kitchens.

Personally, I won’t fit into any group as I have no new parts.  I do have, nonetheless, some discarded old ones: two tonsils, one adenoid, one appendix and a pooped-out uterus which deserved a bronze star.  As long as some well-meaning physician doesn’t diagnose me as having acute butteritis—and in need of a butterectomy—I’m good.

At a crucial point—and because it’s my party—I plan to showcase the splendor of my family.  If I have to yell to be heard, I will broadcast that son Jeff’s Alaskan gold mining company is thriving; retired son Matt is creating a permanent new life on the southern tip of Mexico; and daughter Erin continues to heal the profoundly sick in her custom designed Minneapolis clinic.  Moreover, her Jeff—second time champion—will again compete in the big autumn Hawaiian Iron Man. His body knows neither fat nor fail.

Next I will detail the grands: Zach (23) returned from studying in China, graduated from the University of Texas and is now employed by Magic Leap, a super high tech stunner in Florida; Madeline (22) graduated with honors from Wellesley and is now in Manhattan working as an assistant to the creative director of the Martha Stewart Living Magazine; Gregg (21) studied economics in London and will soon graduate with honors from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania; and Max (20) plans to take a hiatus from Texas State to work in Fiji on the TV show “Survivor.”  Nobody’s sitting still.

Well, actually Glen is.  He likes his soft red leather recliner flanked on both sides by his tall stacks of books. Meanwhile I circle around him, fluttering from one project to another.  As we celebrate out incredible 60th Anniversary of Togetherness (OMG, such stick-to-it-ness!), we realize all over again that life here in the fluffy snowdrifts of Minnesota is wonderful.  How blessed we are.

It is our holiday wish, dear friends, that blessings will also be upon you!