We had breakfast at a famous, no, an infamous Pittsburgh diner, KellyO's, somewhere in the North Hills, and we began our breakfast order with Lucy asking for a grilled cheese sandwich.
As it turned out, this "breakfast/lunch" grilled cheese sandwich was not the object of her affection. She, in fact, had little to no interest in the sandwich. It was the giant dill pickle on the side of the plate that she had longed for ever since she had watched an old video of herself two days ago at age 2 eating dill pickles.
Then her mother asked her to tell me what she had said about me a little earlier that day. Lucy said, "Poppa, I said that every time you come to our house, you bring us something from Dunkin' Donuts, and maybe that's why you're going bald."
As we were walking toward the car from the diner, Lucy asked me questions and when I answered, she said, "What?" "Huh?" "What?" When she was finally belted into her safety seat, she said, "Poppa, I think I need a hearing aid. I can't hear you." To which I replied, "You seem like you're hearing everything pretty good right now." Having been caught in her ruse, she sighed and said, "I really wanted disability." "Disability," I asked, "where did you hear that?" She just smiled like she always does right after she blows my mind with her unconventional vocabulary.
The two girls and I headed to the gas station for fuel and wiper fluid, and, because it was 20 below zero, I made them come into the little store with me. Her sister wanted bubble gum, but Lucy came running up to the counter with a large bag of those horrible orange, banana flavored peanut shaped candies that were popular when I was a kid, you know, the marshmellowish things that are somewhat inexplicable. This candy which was invented in the 1800s can only be described as nauseatingly sweet.
As soon as Lucy tasted it she said, "Poppa, I've never had this kind of candy before, and it's not so good. It is really hard and too sweet, and it really tastes bad." With that, she left a large open bag of candy circus peanuts in the middle of the back seat of my car.
When we got to her house, she asked me to play with her. It was a toy that she had seen at her older cousin's birthday party. It was supposed to be an alien monster, and it was titled "Alien Autopsy." The idea of this toy was to put mixes from various envelopes provided into specific body parts, add water, turn on the self-contained vibrating stomach/intestine mixer and produce brains, intestines, lungs fluids and the like, but it was all edible candy. Interestingly, enough, this previously unopened toy had only about half of the parts shown in the directions. There was no alien inside. So, we had to ad lib by using mixing cups to cover the otherwise exposed underbody parts.
After making and tasting numerous disgusting looking treats, Lucy turned to me and said, "Let's contact these people and tell them that we have decided to put them out of business for not giving me my alien. "That's a little harsh," I said. "What if you write them a letter to see what happens?" This was Lucy's Letter, "Dear Doctor Dreadful, I bought Alien Autopsy and there were no Alien parts inside the box." Then she signed it, "Lucy Tricia Jacobs." She made up a new middle name!
(Nick Jacobs, Windber, international director for SunStone Consulting, LLC is the author of the blog Healinghospitals.com.)