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Protecting Our Independence

Dad was always the independent one.

When the rest of the world was buying Thunderbirds and Chevy's, he was buying an Edsel.

At every presidential election he keeps writing in the name of Dorothy Parker – his personal heroine. "It's time we had a woman president!" he always says.

"Dorothy Parker is dead," I would remind Dad.

"We're not doing that great with the living ones we elected," he reminds me.

He is proud of his major electronics purchase, an eight-track tape player that plays the only music in his collection, Neil Diamond's Jonathan Living Seagull.

Make your soul
And every heart will know
Of the tale

Make your tune
For none may sing it
Just as you do

He sings the verses over and over again. I have become obsessed with the tune. When it's over, I naturally get out of the car and scrape the windshield.

But he's my Dad, and I love him. Sure, he's my obsessive-compulsive, difficult to understand Pop, but hey, where would this world be without its obsessive compulsives?

That's why I could never suggest he leave his condo for one of those "assisted living centers." This is the kind of place where they don't mind when your Bloomingdale's tie has split pea soup all over it. The kind of place where you have to remember a key code before you can step in the lobby and be seen by strangers.

Dad just isn't ready for that. Hopefully, he never will be.

That's why I keep him busy with battery-operated independence that also serves as a cover-up for split pea soup. X10 makes a complete independent living system that includes a pendant he can wear around the neck, a console where he can push buttons to connect to 24-hour medical assistance, and a remote control that will not only get help, but turn off the lights when he wants to sleep in front of the TV.

Now, if they only make a device that will allow Dorothy Parker to get elected president, we'll all be happy.


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