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The Dangerous Thugs

Hubby does not remember the old movies he has seen. He does, however, find them easier to follow than the newer ones. The plots were simpler in days of yore. One main character. One plot. Rarely even a subplot. Today many of us find ourselves overwhelmed by the complexities of the newer story lines.


This evening, I thought it would be interesting to watch Sidney Poitier’s performance in In the Heat of the Night. A fairly simple story about a black policeman from Pennsylvania, who is an expert at solving murders. Temporarily visiting a southern city, he is arrested in error for the murder of a wealthy real estate developer. After a sizable number of prejudicial experiences, he is invited to join the team investigation to find the “bad guy.” He was then attacked by local hoodlums who hated the idea of a black man having authority and power on their turf.

I was right about one thing. It held Hubby’s attention until the end. When it finished, I switched to a football movie which had thirty minutes left until its end. I went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. I was sure he would seamlessly transition to the new subject and film. Exactly why would I have presumed that?

When I returned, Hubby said;

“We have to get out of here Let’s get ready!”


“The thugs are coming to get us. I want to go home.”

We are home. There are no thugs.

“We have to go to the cemetery. Where is the coffin?”

There is no coffin. No one has died. We are not going anywhere.

“Where are my boots? I need to get ready to go.”

Everything is fine… we are safe. We do not need to leave. You were watching a television show. It was not real. The Thugs were not real. It is over now. Everything is fine.

“Really? Oh, okay.”

I went back to my cooking. I swear less than 60 seconds passed before he started the whole conversation once again. He had no recollection of my previous response. I repeated it just the same. It also had no long-lasting results.

He is now asking for the matching jacket to his sweatpants. I know why. He still wants to get dressed in order to be prepared to get away from the thugs. It is important to be coordinated when in a crisis.

I have asked our substitute aide to engage him in conversation to distract him. It is not working. He cannot let go of the idea that he needs to escape.

At the same time that he is thinking of fleeing, he is singing along with Frank Sinatra “nice and easy does it every time….” How can he sing a few stanzas and then go back to searching for the definitive jacket for his emergency departure?

The aide was busy collecting dirty dishes when I redirected her to keep Hubby company. My chest was feeling constricted, this sensation began about the third or fourth time I had to recite the same response. When there is someone else to involve, it is very helpful indeed. My stress levels shoot up easily. Patience may be a virtue, but I must have been on my cellphone when G-d handed it out.

The aide would have preferred washing the dishes, but I was adamant. I needed her to help ME, to do as I needed, not as she wished. That IS what we pay them for!

Now I needed to explain Hubby’s behavior to the aide. It is not enough that we pay them. We also need to keep them “sweet.” I already know that when she worked for us last week, Hubby was so difficult throughout the night – that she really did not want to return. I am trying to make it as easy and pleasant for her as possible. Now I have two individuals for whom I am responsible. Clearly my own needs have been pushed to the bottom of the priorities list.

I am letting him sleep in his good sweater because he was in fighting mode, refusing to put on his sleeping attire. Fighting is not a good thing, especially at night. Tonight, it meant not pulling and tugging at him in order to change his clothes. The world will not end. I am sure of it. I have learned to prioritize what is important for him, even though I am unable to do it for myself. My ultimate goal is a good night of sleep for us all.

Hubby is in bed now, singing along with Sinatra. Softly, he is humming “In the wee small hours of the morning…” If there is not already a specific holy benediction for Frank Sinatra, I will suggest it the next time I encounter a man (or woman…) of the cloth!

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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at