I spoke to my parents last night. I thought it was going to be a routine chat. What was I thinking?
“Rob, we had an incident,” my Dad calmly started to explain. “My Zoll defibrillator went nuts.”
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. “What?”
Zoll Life Vest.
He detailed what had happened. “Monday, I took it off to wash. After putting it back on, I walked downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, the alarm went off. You can’t misunderstand it. What a f-cking noise! Holy s-it!”
He was laughing, so I realized there had been no problem. They had spoken to Zoll, and the woman operator said he probably had not dried himself enough after his shower. Likely a bit of moisture impacted an electrode.
“Your mother was in the kitchen on the phone with your uncle,” my Dad continued.
“Oh, God, not him!” I laughed. The literary giant. “Of all the times.”
“Yep. She comes running out to me, and while the alarm is blaring its electronic voice is also yelling, ‘Don’t touch him! Don’t touch him!’ I pushed the button and silenced it, so it knew I wasn’t unconscious and it didn’t defibrillate me.”
I sat here, 3,000 miles away in London, listening to this semi-farce.
“Your mother dropped the phone at the alarm, so your uncle heard the alarm and all the commotion. After she got back to the phone, he started screaming at her to put me on. ‘Is he okay?! What’s going on? You want me to call someone?!’ Then he starts complaining his breathing is bothering him.”
I held my head. “You’re a comedy, the three of you.”
The Zoll operator asked for an upload of my Dad’s heart data off the device, just to double-check his heart hadn’t “malfunctioned” in any way. He did so promptly. She called back and said his data was fine.
Speaking with her after the “all-clear” had been determined, he said he laughed, “That thing going off like that almost gave me a heart attack!”
As a fiction writer, no way should you ever say you’ve run out of material. If you have, you’ve stopped living. Life is an endless source. ;-)