I’m just saying. The nights get pretty long when you’re my age, and ever since the kids went away I’ve had a lot of time to myself. I can’t sleep, sometimes, just thinking about life, death, what-have-you. Especially I think about all the sex I won’t ever have again. My lifetime nearly over, all the passion drained out, a pruny old shell with nothing to look forward to but a cold hole in the ground. That’s when I think of George Clooney.
I remember seeing him on ER, oh, way long time ago now. I didn’t like the show—seemed like people were too busy necking to do any doctoring—but I liked George Clooney. I remember thinking he’d be good to a woman. He wouldn’t let her drive herself home on a rainy night, or make her go out for tacos, which she doesn’t even like, when she’s pregnant and just wants to stay home and barf. He wouldn’t do that. He doesn’t even look like he likes tacos! If we have a lot in common, what’s wrong with spending some time together and maybe having a little sex? Is that really so strange?
The folks at the Make-A-Wish Foundation sure thought so. The lady there told me I needed to have some kind of disease to get a wish granted! I told her I’d lived through two world wars and raised four children on a lineman’s pension; she said she was glad to hear it—glad!—but even if “hard knocks” did qualify me for their program, this wasn’t the sort of wish they’d grant. I asked if she might be running some deals on old people in the future. She said she didn’t think so, that “just being old” didn’t get me much. I told her no kidding. Then she said maybe I should see a doctor about my strange behavior. I asked her if maybe all that money she spent sending kids to shitty Disneyland wouldn’t be better spent curing some cancer. She couldn’t think of an answer to that one!
When Patricia came over to go through coupons, I told her about George Clooney. “That boy is half your age!” she said. I was sure he was older than that, so she said, “Fine; half, plus a grandchild.” But I told her Mr. Clooney is an old soul, like Bob Hope or Humphrey Bogart, except good-looking. She told me I’d finally gone funny, and now she’d have to hire a car to take her to Giant every Friday for her groceries. I told her I must be crazy, carting her lazy self around like I do, and why doesn’t that no-good husband of hers drive her to pick up his damn Lipitor (because he’s a drunk, is why!), but I could see she missed the whole point. There was nothing else for it: I had to put this out on the Inter-Net.
I already gave up the idea of calling Mr. Clooney on the phone, since I would probably be locked up before he even got the message. (No skin off my nose, since there are too many Clooneys in the book, anyway.) But I was afraid it might look like pornography, so I wanted to be real clear: I’m not one of these nude weirdos with their “Web cams.” If Mr. Clooney dropped by, I would expect nothing more than conversation and good company. I’d make my coffeecake, the one I’ll never give my daughter-in-law the recipe for, and a nice pot of tea—he looks like a Darjeeling man. We would sip our tea in the afternoon sun, laughing, as if we’d done it every evening for the last 50 years, and maybe I’d say something that made him remember a girl he once knew, their love, their passion, and he’d see that in me, oh yes, and his eyes, crinkled with smiles, would turn serious, and then he’d look at me hard and pick me up and lay me on the veranda and if Patricia called to tell me about her husband’s umpteenth liver surgery I would not pick up that phone because she should have left him years ago but there’s just no telling some people.
I’ll tell you who won’t interrupt our conversation: my son, the lousy pharmacist. I’ll be cold dead on the floor, having choked on one of his vitamins, when he finally calls, all itching to tell me about his latest shipment of men’s sex drugs—and I plan to go out that way, because you have to be tough with kids. I’m sure Mr. Clooney wouldn’t need any of those sex drugs, because he’s the real thing. Not like my late husband, Mr. It’ll Only Take a Second How About Pork Chops Tomorrow Did You Find My Other Green Sock? God rest him. That’s where marriage has it all wrong, the loving each other despite the farts and bad jokes and twisty little hairs for the rest of your life until one of you dies. It’s so much more special to have Mr. Clooney come over and spend time until, as Neil Diamond says, it’s time for him to go.
Well, that’s about it. I hope I don’t sound like one of those dirty magazine ads. I think the right kind of man, the kind of man Mr. Clooney is, will understand completely. I should mention my birthday’s coming up, and the only thing I need is Mr. Clooney coming for a good, long visit, after which I could just tear the tape off my windows and let the bird flu take me, because there’d be no living left. But it’s OK if it doesn’t happen. I’ll live, probably, and there’s always changing light bulbs if I want a little excitement. Cheating death on a rickety stool while the cat waits for me to fall so he can feast on my bones. Such fun. In the dark.
Eunice Louise Cooper
P.S. If Mr. Clooney is interested, he should write me a note beforehand; it’ll give me a chance to vacuum and freshen up, maybe find those shiny underpants Chester bought me the year before he passed … damn things still have the tag on.