Dagwood's Intervention

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    Dan Senior Member

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    Excerpts From Dagwood Bumstead's Intervention.
    BY JOHN MOE
    - - - -

    Blondie, wife: I do love you. I can't help that. But your relationship with food is killing you. It's killing us. At first it seemed like an eccentricity. Charming, almost. Almost. But the sandwiches, those obscene, grotesque sandwiches you consume ... Why do you need them so desperately? Why do you eat them so late at night? Why? What are those goddamn sandwiches giving you that your family can't seem to?! I'm sorry to scream—there's just—a lot of things are releasing right now.

    Herb Woodley, neighbor: Listen, Dag, everyone here has a theory on what's wrong with you. Hell, we don't all agree on what THE thing is; we just know it's something. Like for me, it seems like kleptomania. How many of my tools do you actually have by this point? Our garages are next to each other; I know my tools are in there. I spend at least a hundred bucks a month at Home Depot buying new tools because you simply never give mine back. Why? Why do you never give me back my tools? What are you trying to prove?

    Blondie, wife: The only thing I hate—HATE—more than the eating is the sleeping. I've been reading some things online and I think you have undiagnosed clinical depression. Listen, just because you're asleep, it doesn't mean that life stops. You can take your naps on the couch, you can sleep in a hammock, you can oversleep before rushing off to work. But I have news for you, Dagwood: the world is still here. And you have to face it just like everyone else. So maybe you should just wake the fuck up, Dagwood Bumstead.

    Mr. Beasley, mail carrier: You're violent. Bumping into me all the time. I just want to deliver the stupid mail. You're a violent, violent man. Is it some sort of primal thing, Mr. B? Do you think I'm trying to invade your home? What are you, a dog? Some kind of beast?! I've had three concussions in the last two years thanks to you. I keep losing my keys and my shoes now. I never did that before. The other day I had an emotional breakdown at the 7-Eleven. Common for someone with head trauma, they tell me. Why do you hate me, ... Dog ... man? You need to go to a hospital!

    Blondie, wife: I'm selling the catering business, just so you know. I mean, how screwed up was that? Talk about enabling. You have a problem with food? Here, let me bring you more of it. And let me sabotage my own business by having you eat the inventory. How about a little gasoline for that fire? The cycle ends today. Don't—NO!—don't touch those scones, Dagwood. They're for the goddamn food bank. Christ.

    Julius Dithers, employer: There's a right way to run a business and a wrong way. I've been running mine the wrong way. For years. Decades, really. I know that now. You come into work, you fall asleep, I yell at you, you wake up, I fire you. Now that part is OK; that's what anyone would do. But then I always let you stick around somehow. My therapist says its simple codependence. I need you to screw up so I can fire you and feel powerful. Then I always hire you back so I can feel heroic. I'm not doing you any favors. This cycle has got to stop.

    Alexander Bumstead, son: That's right, Dad. It's a shaved head. Look at it! Look at me! I've been trying to look exactly like you my whole life. The little tufts of hair sprouting out the sides. I thought maybe if I looked like you, you would accept me and I would get to be in the strip a little more often. But it didn't work and then I was just a teenage freak who looked like Dagwood Bumstead. What kind of character is that? Well, no more. I'm joining the Army. I ship out for Camp Swampy tomorrow.

    Cookie Bumstead, daughter: You named me after food. I don't think I need to say anything else.

    Blondie, wife: I was a flapper. Did you all know that? I barely remember it myself anymore but I still have some of the old strips. Way back in the '20s. Ah, the jazz, the parties, the bathtub gin. Those were some times. I was in love with life. And now look at me, struggling to keep a family together while propping up a manic-depressive husband with an eating disorder. Does anyone want to see my album of old strips?

    Julius Dithers, employer: You're fired, also. Forgot to mention that. I mean it this time.

    Elmo, paperboy: My parents say I need to stop being friends with you. They say you haven't done anything wrong but that I'm just the paperboy. I shouldn't be hanging out at your house or talking to you all the time. That's not part of my job. They said you're not my friend.

    Alexander Bumstead, son: See, that's another thing. You're always talking to the paperboy, listening to him, having this kind of special bond. I'm your son but I get none of that! Is it because he's a kid and you want to deal with someone simpler? Well, I'm not simple, Dad! Not! Simple! (collapses in tears)

    Blondie, wife: We're all tired, Dagwood. Tired of who you are and what you do to us. We love you but you need to change. Because this has been going on for decades. And we don't want it to stay this way for decades or centuries to come.

    Julius Dithers, employer: And you better be in the office Monday morning or there's gonna be heck to pay!
     

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