Sunday, February 24, 2013

The curious day my dad didn't die

Patrick Pastula, 58, died Monday after a well-fought battle with a heart arrhythmia. Pat’s
doctor said, “We always knew that non-fatal heart murmur was going to be the end of him.” He
paused, and added, “I guess.”

He is survived by his wife and two daughters, but not the family dog, who Pat despised.

When asked how she felt about her husband’s death, recently widowed Jill Pastula responded,
“I feel like I just won a million dollars!” referring to the life insurance policy she recently cashed
in. When the Pastulas’ insurance agent and family friend Ron Scholl heard the news, he stated,
“I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

The day’s events began with a phone call, or it would have, had the Pastulas’ daughter Adrienne
answered the phone. Since she is living alone while her mother and father vacation in Florida,
she has been fearful of having to answer the question, “When will your parents be back?” and reveal her unprotected status. Pat and Jill were not scheduled to return to their home at 343 Hillsdale
Street until March 7. Adrienne works at the Hillsdale Community Hospital from 3:30pm to
11:30pm on a casual schedule, and usually returns home around midnight to sleep in the northeast corner of the house.

The early phone call at 7:00 AM would have been unusual if not for the profession of
telemarketing. Adrienne chocked it up to an overzealous telemarketer, but after the eighth ring,
the thought did cross her mind that it may be someone trying desperately to reach the family.
However, she decided against answering the call because “the bed was cozy.”

Adrienne was subsequently reawakened by a knocking at the door. Still believing telemarketers
were to blame for the morning annoyances, she decided it was a kid wanting to make $20
for ten minutes of snow shoveling work, something she is capable of doing herself due to her
abnormally large biceps.

However, the knocker would not leave unacknowledged. Adrienne peered out her window and
noticed a familiar looking vehicle in the driveway: a red Chevrolet belonging to family friend Dan
English, a counselor at Hillsdale High School.

To Adrienne, this was a dream come true in the worst way possible. For reasons not subject to logic,
Adrienne had always imagined hearing her dad’s death from Mr. English at an odd hour of the

Adrienne opened the door for Mr. English and noticed a series of tracks in the driveway due to
his anxious pacing. He answered the door with a worried look on his face and a cell phone held
to his ear. It is at this point, she reported, she knew something was amiss.

Mr. English asked Adrienne if she had heard from her parents recently, to which she responded
“No” in a more cheerful and non-grieving manner than he expected. Mr. English, who intended
to receive answers from her, now realizes he had unwittingly positioned himself to tell this
woman-child of as-yet-unknown-emotional-reactivity level the news of her father’s passing.

Adrienne, noticing Mr. English’s discomfort, formulated a frantic jumbled prayer only God could
decipher with the basic gist of “Please don’t let any of what Mr. English is about to say be true”
and told Mr. English with overcompensating cheeriness, “No, please, tell me, it’s fine.”

Mr. English paused and responded, “Adrienne, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but your father is
dead. I heard it from Mrs. VanOrman at [Hillsdale High] school who heard it from a ‘reliable
source’. Is there someone we can call to find out?”

Adrienne immediately dialed her mother’s cell phone, who answered on the fourth ring.

“Hello!” Jill answered brightly, perhaps too brightly for someone whose husband had just died,
Adrienne speculated.

Adrienne nonchalantly asked, ”How’s it going down in Florida?” instead of asking directly, “MR

Jill replied, “The sun is shining, I’m about to go out for a run; all in all a great day so far. Why,
what are you calling about?”

Adrienne then told her of the rumor circulating the halls of Hillsdale High School of her dad’s
death. This, coming as news to Jill, responded that Pat was in bed sleeping, but if someone in
Hillsdale said otherwise, perhaps he wasn’t actually sleeping.

Jill checked on her husband and verified his liveliness. This news caused Mr. English to clutch his
chest and subsequently die with relief.

When Pat was asked how he felt about the matter, he said, “I’m retired, not dead.”

Update: At this time, the ‘reliable source’ has not been identified, although it has been
speculated to be Hillsdale hooligan Jerry Rumler.

1 comment:

  1. Now it's funny-at the time it was anything but. Glad Pat is alive and well. Since Jill has no insurance money to spend-I guess we'll see them in Hillsdale. Donna