Growing Up With A Dad Suffering From Snapper Jones Syndrome
When it comes to medical issues, it's no secret that men are willing to put off a doctor visit until the last possible moment. Why get tested for cancer when you could wait and see what happens? That way, you either won't have it, or you'll only have to live two weeks knowing you did. Irish goodbye straight into the afterlife; Makes perfect sense to me.
I've always considered myself a medical purist, which in layman terms means I'm IQ deficient enough to believe exercising and drinking enough water guarantees you'll be bulletproof. I'm also stubborn enough to hold onto my strong belief that the medical field is just like any other profession: Filled with morons. Unless you're a genuinely brilliant human being, you're most likely repeating things you've been told but have never actually looked into yourself - Reference opioids.
Lately, though, I've been reflecting on my passive denial of my family's mental health condition. Not enough to actually go to seek medical attention; Not a fucking chance. Instead, I've decided to channel my inner Facebook doctor and create (I prefer "discover") my own mental condition: Snapper Jones Syndrome (SJS).
See, I'm a medical hipster of sorts, so irresponsibly creating a disease seemed like the way to go. I could claim depression, but I feel like everyone's on that wave now. And I'm not talking about the people with legit depression. I'm talking about the people who have mild anxiety about the future and the overall meaning of life. That used to be called the human condition, but now it's a green light for a Xanax prescription and a seat at the cool table. Whatever happened to developing emotional discipline? But I guess times do change - A spike in anxiety and depression are expected when dancing in front of tweets are a thing, but I digress.
My father was my first test subject for Snapper Jones Syndrome. His snap decisions have always been a key indicator that he was SJS positive. When I was a child, for example, my family took a trip to Key West. While cruising down south, my father missed an exit. No problem; We could easily get off the next exit as one would do with three children in the back. Possibly even get a little crazy and hit an illegal U-turn at one of those police turnarounds.
But father's inner Snapper Jones wouldn't allow it. We didn't stop for restroom breaks, and we sure as fuck weren't adding ten extra minutes to the trip because of a missed exit. He let out a roaring, "FUCK!" I looked into the mirror, saw his signature angry "Bill Cowher" face, and knew Snapper Jones was on his way out.
Instead of taking his loss, he decided to test out the 1994 Mercury Villager's suspension by driving it through the ditch in between the two highway roads. To its credit, that piece of shit made it.
Fast forward many years to when I returned home from college for Spring break. Father asked if I would help him pick up his new car. This came as quite a surprise since it had only been eight months since he bought his dream vehicle: a Mercedes Benz. Why in God's name would he need a white VW GTI?
As you might imagine, I was a bit bamboozled by this move. I chalked it up to a mid-life crisis, but I still had to ask why. His response: "Because Mercedes is for old men. It's like driving a boat." Fine - I could accept that. The old man was spry for his age. If he wanted a human-sized RC car, who was I to say no?
Fast forward another year when he made his next major snap decision. For years, he was trying to move him and my mother back to Florida, but they aren't exactly rich. I'm not saying we were poor, but McDonald's was a treat growing up. Sprint is our cell phone service. The carpet in their room is blue. When they weren't arguing about the abortion they never got, they were arguing about money. I suppose if I were a bigot, which I'm not, the 8th grade me might even jokingly call my dad a Jew. My parents are old-fashioned, hardworking, fiscally responsible human beings. History would show that they would obtain jobs there, then purchase a home and move down.
Sidenote: Am I the only one who thinks Jew isn't the worst derogatory term? There's a lot worse things to be called than fiscally responsible. Sure, if you're some sort of psychopath anti-semite, then it probably carries a little more weight. You know what I'm saying? Is my pure ignorance showing right now? Alright, maybe I am wron....OH LOOK! NICK CANNON!
For real though - It's time I drop the wor...HOLY SHIT, IS THAT LEBRON?
Back to the article: Despite father's cheap ways, his Snapper Jones Syndrome took control, causing him to acquire a loan by himself and purchase a home in Florida under only his name. Explaining that you traded in a Mercedes for what could be best described as a souped-up go-kart is possible. Managing to play off the purchase of a house to your wife? Well…
It all came full circle this past month. If you read my wanderlust travel guide or the article about my disdain towards squatted trucks, you know I spent a month or so at my parents' place in Florida while working from home. One of the neighbors there is a 50-something-year-old man who lives with his mother. I guess his medical diagnoses - if you believe in that kind of thing - is that he's an alcoholic.
Personally, I have no issue with a man drinking 5-6 bottles of wine every day and living with his mother. I'm 26, so I'm already halfway there. That being said, he was the one to break the news that my father was planning on quitting his job and moving to Florida; Kind of like a drunk Adam Schefter who specializes in reporting on my family.
You might be asking why the alcoholic neighbor in Florida was made aware of this rumor before me - my father's son. Rightfully so, but due to the combination of my generally laid-back attitude towards life and the odd family that I spawn from - this made perfect sense.
Besides, hearing about big family news from an alcoholic I've met twice was kind of exciting. Was it true, or was it all smoke and mirrors so he had a reason to come over and ask for another whiskey shot? Didn't matter to me either way. Your boy lacks a moral compass, and enabling an alcoholic at 10 AM on a Tuesday was worth getting him out of the house.
Like the detective on the Breonna Taylor case, I quickly forgot about the whole ordeal. Rather than follow up on the tip with a simple text, I wrote about inbred trucks. It took 2-3 weeks before I had a flashback and realized that I should probably get the low down on this story. I shot my father a text on July 5th.
For context: I live with my parents and see them everyday...
Ends up, the rumors were true. With his history of SJS, nothing he did came as a shock anymore. What did throw me off was when my mother left her job, out of the blue, and decided to move with him that same Saturday. This left me wondering: Is SJS hereditary, or is it transmissible? With both my parents showing symptoms, does that increase my chances of being a carrier? And now that my father took a $40,000 pay cut to work at a new job, does that make us…poor?
According to my behavior the last 3-4 days, I’m worried that I, too, have Snapper Jones Syndrome. This past Thursday, I drove to Michael’s - the arts and craft store - and bought a fucking scalpel. I’m not even totally sure what I’m going to do with it, but I was so confident I would use it that I decided to buy extra razors just in case. I mean, I can barely compose a legible sentence, let alone be trusted with a tool used to cut people open…
Things only progressed from there. Just last night, I, very seriously, asked my brother if he wanted to go skydiving with me...during COVID. This makes absolutely no sense for a person like myself. I’m terrified of heights. I’m too much of a bitch to get on a roller coaster, yet I think jumping out of a plane is more my lane?
Finally, today, with my parents gone from the house, I took a shit in their bathroom. Not because I had to; Strictly for the thrill of shitting in a toilet I hadn’t done so in previously. There’s something riveting about dropping a deuce on a mysterious poop throne.
You’ve never lived until you try to guess how much toilet paper you can use before clogging the toilet. With the pandemic keeping me from doing it at a friend of a friend's pregame, I was forced to chase that dragon in my own house. What did I find out? My parent’s toilet has terrible flushing capacity...and that we have a clogged drain...
So for now, I'm left to fend off this disease by myself. According to WebMD, I'm bipolar with a hint of cancer, but I know it's SJS. Still, there are so many questions to be asked: Is this hereditary, or is it transmissible? Was I set up for failure by being born in a state like Florida? Will I buy a dog with my parents out of the house? I don't know. Fuck...I gotta go drink some more water. Please pray for me.