Popeye and the Seizurous Kid

Ma says I was a sick little kid. 
Seizures caused my body to go limp. 
If you didn’t know any better, I looked as if I’d fallen asleep. 

“Oh, how cute,” some shopper once observed, as I suddenly flopped over the child seat of a grocery cart. Less cute were the times I’d start puking without warning. Along with that, my eyes would roll up and disappear into my head. While staring upside down at my brain, perhaps I tried expressing to it some variation of, “WTF?” 

Doctors were at a loss. 
I’d only say that my head hurt. 
“Migraines,” the doctors speculated. 
“When your boy grows up,” said one doctor, “ask him what was going on.” 

Forty-odd years later, Ma asked. 
I replied, “Do you remember when you were three years old?” 
She didn’t. 

But did I remembered the Popeye doll?
I did.

Ma bought the doll for me when I was in the hospital. I don’t remember being there. 

When you pulled the string-bound loop, Popeye said, among other things, “I’m Popeye the sailor man. Toot! Toot!” or, “I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eat me spinach.” 

Once, while a nurse took my blood pressure, I pulled the loop. The nurse mistook Popeye’s voice for my own. To be clear, this was the only time anyone had ever compared my voice to the once-famous cartoon character. 

BTW: Any three year old who sounds like Popeye probably should be hospitalized.

Q: 
What does Popeye sound like? 

A:
Perhaps something like a two hundred pound chain-smoking bullfrog. Nothing like Kermit the Frog.

The nurse not only mistook Popeye’s voice for my own, she misunderstood what he had said. Instead of, “I’ll save you,” she heard, “I love you.”

Perhaps she was a lonely woman, that nurse. 

But then, if memory serves (and with increasing frequency, it doesn’t), Popeye might’ve said, “I loves you, Olive.” I’ve yet to come across any evidence to support this. If, by chance, he did say what I seem to remember him saying, here’s hoping “Olive” was the nurse’s name.

Although it was my favorite childhood toy, that Popeye doll is long gone. Along with skin and hair, I seem to have a lifelong habit of shedding things and people. 

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