Darrell Vickers – How I Spent a Fortune to Give My Family The Worst Christmas Ever

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I aspired to reach for the stars. To invoke the jealousy of those persnickety Gods we hear so much about. My uber-laudable mission was to procure a birthday gift for my wife of such incalculable magnificence that any trite concerns of time and tide would be completely obliterated by the light of its epic-tastic magnificence. Countless worthy avenues of unparalleled largesse were furiously explored and discounted. Stones of-an-unturned-nature were becoming rarer than award-winning documentaries on fish dentistry.


Multitudinous, mind-numbing months of maniacal dedication, pluck, awe-inspiring verve, not to mention laser-focused reasoning and a pretty spot-on Ouija Board had finally revealed to me my illusive and ultra-spiffy prey. A car! But not just any bucket of bolts with radial tires and AM/FM radio. No siree Robert! This car was a 1935 Ford Sedan. Judith’s family had owned one such film-noir roadster when she was but a wee lass and it had been forever her dream to relive those heady vehicular days of yore. Just like a hand-pulled pint of Bass Ale in a coal heated-pub, this gift was beyond perfect in every way; tailor-made to turn the aforementioned Gods as green as Kermit the Frog’s pig-ravaged nutsack. I was verily vibrating with schoolgirl fizziness, so anxious was I to share these transcendent tidings with my brutally brilliant daughter. As I puttered out to the train station to chauffeur her homeward, I could already hear her astonishment and unmitigated veneration at my wondrous fatherly news.

“No dad. There’s no way in hell you’re going to buy her a car,” was her initial muted response. She, like all the women I have known in my life, took enormous pains to explain to me the error of my ways. Off course, it was an impractical idea. What was I thinking? The maintenance! Finding parts! The safety factor involved in driving such an ancient sled around town. We already had three cars in the driveway. She (also like all other women in my life) was right. What a gigantic turd of an idea I had given birth to.

Drats! Back to Square One.

But luckily, all was not lost. The notion of a dream vacation in Florence over the Christmas holidays was proffered during the journey. What a perfectly capital benefaction, thinks I. Judith had wanted to accompany Darby to Europe for nigh on 10 years. Florence was in Europe! The family would get to while away the festive season together in one of the most magical cities on earth. Café Lattes and generous dollops of creamy gelato would be consumed at quaint and ancient establishments. We would cross the many stone bridges and frolic about the cobbled streets once travelled by the Midicis, Michael Angelo and Enzo Suarti. Imagine the incomparable Renaissance rush of finding yourself face-to-marble with David’s diminutive dangleage (I packed my extra-strong reading glasses especially). But hold onto your Alberto Fermanis, there was even more! A side trip to Pompeii and bivouacking for a couple of nights at a chichi hotel overlooking the Mediterranean were added to our already positively primo peregrinations. A pasta cooking class was set up for the girls (while I possibly visited the odd local record store). This was going to be the dreamiest vacation of a lifetime. I was such an amazing husband and father!


Hairy Flight, Hairy Birth, Hairy Legs

Our flight from L.A. to the land of togas and poisoning your relatives was so long, the stewardesses had five o’clock shadows on their legs. The children on board had to be home schooled. Two people died and were reincarnated as other passengers. A woman gave birth on the flight that wasn’t even pregnant when we took off. It was a long fucking flight.

Our first lussuoso sera in this ancient land of enchantment and intermittent phone service was spent in a substantially swank hotel. Vino supremo was consumed with alacrity. Life was good. I was positively giddy and my wife was at least half-full of gid. The very next dreamy day, we moved into our cute 2 bedroom apartment, just south of the River Arno (the Oltarno to the Schiacciata-scarfing natives). The one in Florence, Italy! A preliminary perambulation though the ancient city was a Firenzian feast for the eyes and soul. What a Christmas holiday this was going to be. So full of idyllicness and golly-goshy, it made you want to poop joy bubbles.


On Wednesday night, I seemed to have contracted a bothersome cold (darn those airlines!). By Thursday morning, I was so overcome by my infirmity; I just stared listlessly into the empty space in before me, like I’d been shot in the forehead with those bolt-firing guns they use to put horses out of their misery on racetracks. “Drats!” thinks I. “There goes all those tasty Tuscan tippling treats, until I get over this thing.” Alas, I did not get over “this thing”. By Christmas Day, everyone in my immediate family was as sick as a McDonald’s dumpster rat. We didn’t do much celebrating or feasting on J.C.’s supposed birthday. Instead of carols sung on high, we just listened to each other coughing up lung shrapnel in our separate rooms of illness and despair.

By Boxing Day, I was feeling a tad better. Of course I was. We’d just beckoned a local sawbones to the apartment to give us the once over. Even though I seemed to be recovering like a champ, he felt I should go to emergency and have an x-ray the following afternoon. As soon as he departed, my condition dropped like Matt Lauer’s career trajectory. I was definitely up for a healthy dose of that there radiation. Except…Boing!!! A muscle in my lower back snapped like that fiddle string at the end of Waking Ned Devine. Fortunately, it only really hurt when I coughed. Unfortunately, I was coughing up the fluff from my socks about ever five seconds.


Stairway to Heaven …er…Hell

Our apartment was up 4 challenging flights of stone stairs and I couldn’t even navigate my way to the bedroom without Judith and Darby practically carrying me  – which is where I stayed for the next 48 hours. When our dedicated doctor returned (for free!!!) to Casa Contagion, I had been reduced to a teeming bucket of sick.

The Florence Emergency Room … For Emergencies

His cheery diagnosis was to hie on down to Emergency or die. For the next five days, it was hard to tell if I’d picked the correct path forward. No sleep. Unable to eat. I had more needles stuck in me than Keith Richards at a bachelor party. Nothing made me feel better. Even with oxygen, breathing was no easy task. And I can disappointingly attest to the fact that all those stories of young, busty nurses performing wondrous acts of concupiscence under the bed sheets of their handsomer patients, after lights-out, are a product of gross exaggeration.

The Game

A delightful number of times a day, I was compelled to unceremoniously tear the tubes of life from my thirsty nares and scoot off to the bathroom. It was an arduous and fraught 12 foot journey that left me winded and light-headed. Upon my arrival, I had to proceed languorously enough to not collapse in a wheezing, micturating heap but jauntily enough to fastidiously ablute and get back to bed/sanctuary to re-snort me some major “O”.

But It Wasn’t All That Much Fun.

Genuine Italian Cat Scan – O Solo Meow

I partied down on New Year’s Eve by receiving a Cat Scan to ascertain whether I’d acquired a potentially fatal embolism in what was left of my barely functioning lungs. The technicians also cautioned me, before I was impelled into the massive magnetic machine’s buzzing maw, that the blue dye they needed to inject into me for the procedure could very possibly be fatal. Even watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin was better than that!

Coop and Griff Better than a Cat Scan!

New Year’s Day was the Mariana Trench of my existence. Lower than this I could not fall. Not only couldn’t I sleep, I couldn’t lie down because I’d instantly start coughing myself cross-eyed. The bathtubs of antibiotics I had flowing into my battered wrist vein were seeming to have no effect. I still couldn’t breathe (always a bad sign).  I was told, very coldly by the doctor on call, that my pneumonia had progressed. I quite credibly believed that, very soon, I was probably going to stop paying taxes.


Ancient Roman Piss Flagon

By this triumphant moment in time, I had been whisked away to Intensive Care. A magical place, full of mysterious beeping machines, where you are strictly forbidden to wander from your mattress of ultimate sorrow. I whittled away most of my physician-dictated spare time by downing diluvial amounts of agua and whizzing profusely into a plastic flagon. You have no privacy or dignity in ICU. You don’t in showbiz either, but in ICU it’s even worse.  You swiftly arrive at the piteous point where; if they came in and said “We have to jam a medicated Bob’s Big Boy statue up your ass,” you’d just roll over on your side.

Speaking of indignities nonpareils. I thrice had “My Long and Slender Friend” systematically scrubbed during my ICU stay. Twice by a pair of women and once by a guy and a gal. While the uomo/donna combination did a fairly thorough job of bathing my proud warrior, the women tag-teams just took a few cursory whacks at it like they were batting cobwebs off a mantelpiece and then doused it in scalding water.

Please ladies, try and have a little more respect for Mr. Happy. He has tried his very best to serve you well.

January 2nd

I received my first piece of positive news since I’d arrived 5 days earlier. “You’re improving,” the doctor smiled. And then she was gone. The medical staff weren’t big on long, detailed consultations at this hospital. I’ve had longer lap dances at the Spearmint Rhino.

I continued to get stronger over the next two days until one night; a gigantic nurse bounded in, threw all my worldly goods into my lap and marched me and my bed out of ICU. Only, the orderlies got lost and they ended wheeling me aimlessly around the freezing cold hospital like that back stage scene from Spinal Tap. I was finally deposited in a room with two other older guys (and that’s saying something) at midnight and had ventilator slapped on my face for the next 6 hours. A ventilator is a full-on face mask that drives oxygen up your nose like it’s been shot out of a jet engine. It’s supposed to open up your alveoli but its main function is to ensure you don’t experience even a nanosecond of comfort or shuteye.

Darth Ventilator – “Lucca, I’m-a You Fahddah”

For the next four days, I continued to not sleep like a champ. On the upside, we received café lattes and biscuits every morning for breakfast. When you’re in the land of perpetual misery and discomfort, you find pleasures, however infinitesimal, where you can. So, at about 7:30 each AM, we three “old dudes” sat there and devoured our coffee and cookies like we were receiving a world-class blowjob from Gunilla Hutton.

At last, the merciful word came down from on high. I would be released from my durance vile at 8AM on Tuesday. Which meant they got around to setting me free me at about 3:30PM on Wednesday.


Now, that the pestiferous dust has settled and I’m safely back in the loving arms of a country run by a fascist, bigoted, wife-beater loving, porn-star aficionado, I’ve had a good deal of time to seriously reflect on my life and what really matters. And if there is one rock solid, incontrovertible conclusion I have come to, it is this: I sooooo wish I’d bought that car! Or, gold-plated oysters floating in rare aromatic oils from the Far East. Or a football field full of life-sized India-rubber Toreadors. Anything but a 3 week trip to fucking Florence!!!

While I was Dying….

My Loving Family Devotedly intoned “He would want us to go on…”

The Almost Died Diet – Best Diet Ever


Darrell Vickers appears here whenever he damn well feels like it

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.co

DBAWIS_ButtonDarrell Vickers started out as one half of Toronto area band, Nobby Clegg.  CFNY fans may remember the cheery song “Me Dad” which still gets airplay.  From there, he valiantly ventured to L.A. and eventually became head writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  Since then, he’s created numerous sitcoms and animation shows in Canada and the U.S.  He still writes music and has an internet band called Death of the Author Brigade (members in Croatia, Canada and the U.S.)   Mr. Vickers also had a private music mailing-list where he features new and pre-loved music.  Anyone who would like to be added to his daily mailing list, just write him at Radiovickers1@gmail.com 

5 Responses to “Darrell Vickers – How I Spent a Fortune to Give My Family The Worst Christmas Ever”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Laughed my ass off, did I! Great turns of phrase, enjoyed it immensely.

  2. George A Says:

    Waiting to hear about your next best vacation.

  3. oh my, Mr Vickers!
    you definitely should have bought the car. 😉
    but you look mahvellous!

  4. Lovely, lively stuff

  5. Fodors is now selling that as the “Near Death Italian Vacation” package. The only difference is the hotel. They take you straight from the plane to the hospital.

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