Ups And Downs

Chapter 18, Blog 1

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang


“Invincible” told the real-life story of Vince Papali, who at the over-the-hill NFL age of 33, joined the Philadelphia Eagles as a walk-on during Dick Vermeil’s first season as head coach in 1976. After players twice his size hammered Vince until he was close to quitting, he made the key plays to help the Eagles beat their rivals, the New York Giants.

At the end, I cried. My empathy for Vince was too much. Ralphie cried, too.

“Now you get it?” I sputtered, choking with tears.

“Yeah, I git it,” said Ralphie. “I got it da first time I saw it.”

We sat there in the dark, illuminated by only the rolling credits. We were two grown men, sobbing like lost, little boys. For me, it wasn’t just the movie. The last six weeks were too much. My roller coaster of emotions careened out of control.

“So Lindy wants a divorce, huh?” asked Ralphie, wiping his tears.

SSSSCCCCRRRREEEECCCCHHH!!! Went the roller coaster.

“Say what?”

“A divorce,” Ralphie repeated.

… ha, you’re always the last to know, dude …

I stared straight ahead, but my mind ran in circles.

“Dedra, right?”

“Like puttin’ it on da ’Net,” Ralphie said.

I liked my mother-in-law. Dedra was many times more reasonable than her daughter. Often, Dedra would take my side – right or wrong – against Melinda. But this wasn’t one of those times.

“She can stay over there until the fat man takes a dump,” I said. “They’ll kill each other before it’s over.”

Ralphie pushed his hand up and down as if he were erasing a chalkboard. I didn’t appreciate the gesture.

“Stick it up your ass,” I said.

“Dat sounds like your slush fund of anger talkin’ now,” he said. “Why not jist own up to bein’ an ass and apologize for screwin’ around. Let Lindy come home. It’s da right thing to do.”

“Well, maybe ’cause I wasn’t screwin’ around?”

“Whutever,” said Ralphie. “Ya know women. They’re gonna believe da worst anyway, no matter what da truth is.”

“You think I was having sex with a high school junior?”

Ralphie paused, then sighed.

“Hope ya got more sense than dat. But look in da mirror. Ya bin actin’ pretty damned screwy, no pun intended. Whut ya think people are gonna say?”

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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