Fending for Oneself

My eighty-eight year old mom peered over at my dad, who was in his customary spot at one end of a cushy couch. “Stuart, what are you doing?”

“I’m fending.”

“You’re what?” Mom doesn’t hear well, so imagine her question with a slightly exasperated, querulous inflection.

“I’m FENDING. You told me I’m supposed to fend for myself because you’re not cooking dinner tonight, so I’m sitting here, minding my own business and fending.”

Stuey is ninety-one. His humor can be rarefied, but it’s dear when it makes an appearance. My curiosity was piqued, and OED had this to relate about the verb, to fend:

To make an effort, strive or try to do something; to make a shift; to take precautions AGAINST

Stuey was fending for himself by consuming a fair portion of the contents of a box of See’s candy.  Manning the turrets of nutritional desperation, which seems to affect his boyish figure not one bit.

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