It’s Christmas morning and I’m at my parents’ house surrounded by lovely wrapped gifts. There was a large gift bag filled with lots of boxes that all seemed equal in size.
“You gotta open these first – before Aunt Gin gets here!” says my mom as she cackles and crackles with laughter.
I pick up the first box from the bag… It’s incredibly light… What the hell could this possibly be?
“Tampons? REALLY? Oh you shouldn’t have.”
My mom continues to laugh hysterically as I open box after box after box of tampons.
“Merry Christmas!! I gotcha a whole YEAR’s supply of tampons!!!”
Nothing says holidays like having to unwrap a dozen boxes of your favorite feminine product.
It was senior year of high school and I was dating the captain of the wrestling team. He would swing by after practice, hop in the shower and then we’d hang out for a bit in the late evening.
One fine weekday evening, Adam came over the house to continue with the aforementioned routine and it being a chilly winter night, I decided to make us some hot chocolate.
As an aside, my mother had a habit of getting up regardless of what was happening in the house around 11:30pm for a midnight piss. It just so happened to be 11:42pm. Back to you, Bob.
I’ve got two mugs out, and the packets of hot chocolate powder & hot water have been poured in respectively. I pick up one of the mugs and lean against the kitchen counter while I begin to stir said cup of hot beverage.
I hear the bedroom door open.
I hear sloppy, sleepy, swishy footsteps.
The bathroom door opens. She sits down on the can and begins to talk…
“So I was thinking, this weekend we could go hit the outlets and – oh, that woman at work was terrible! I can’t get over what she said…”
My mother continues to talk to who she thinks is me in the shower. After a good two minutes of banter she realizes she’s not getting any response. A long pause occurs. “You’re not Stacey are you…”
Adam’s deep voice perks up casually from behind the shower curtain, “Uh, nope… It’s Adam.”
She starts laughing hysterically and to both mine and Adam’s dismay – finishes peeing!! Still frozen but continuing to stir the hot chocolate, I hear the bathroom door open again and see her walk down the hall to go back to bed like nothing ever happened.
I just can’t make this stuff up.
It’s Saturday morning. I call my mother back after she had called at 8:30am (this is a regular occurrence). She’s talking to me about work and then, in mid sentence, she begins to talk to my father.
“Don, look at Mahtha… I think those pants are too tight for her don’t you? You can see the outline of her snatch.”
My mother just said “snatch!!!!”
She also just referenced a familiar term… while watching Martha Stewart.
After a reactionary scream, my response to all of this was somewhat reserved and didactic, “Mom, that’s actually called Camel Toe.”
As usual, she repeats what I say to my father, “Donnnnn, Stacey says it’s called Camel Toe!! Hahahahahah!”
My poor father just grunts in the background with a small “whatever.” He’s a very strong man.
If you haven’t read the wonderful story of The Boob!!!, go and read that now. You say you haven’t got the time? Well, here’s a brief summary. My mom exclaimed with great… exclamation that I had sculpted a bust, aka, “DON!!! Look!!! It’s a BOOOOOOOOOB!” Her voice far louder than necessary and sounding like the love child of Fozzy and Miss piggy, I assure you that while I don’t get embarrassed easily, at that moment I’m certain I was a fine shade of rouge.
So the meat and potatoes of this story begins at the Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest public art museum in the country (fun fact). I had the wonderful opportunity to work there on the weekends in college and invited my parents up to see one of the shows. I took them through a few cultural exhibits first and my father and I began to notice that my mother lacked what one might call “Museum Etiquette.”
When one visits a museum, the art usually speaks louder than you, which is why we all whisper or at the very least, speak softly. This, however, is like asking my mother to speak in Portuguese while patting her head and rubbing her stomach. Telling a little kid to eat their vegetables when all they want is ice cream is also another safe analogy.
As we slowly saunter through the galleries, my father keeps whisper-yelling at my mother: “Marilee!! Quiet down! We’re in a museum – there’s no need to be that loud!” She of course replies with her ever-faithful response at 120 decibels, “Whaaaaat?! Oh shut up and stop yelling at me.” Again, think of her voice as the love child of Fozzy and Miss Piggy – yep, that’s it. You’ve got it in your head now…
I continue our tour through the museum and arrive at one of the more contemporary galleries. Low and behold – there was a sculpted bust.
“Loooooook!!! Staaaaaceeeeey, it’s just like your BOOOOOOOB!!!”
The volume of her statement made me instantly whisper-scold her: “Two inch voices mom!!! Jesus, we’re not at a sex-toy shop!”
She gave me a look like she’d rather be at the local Love Boutique than getting reprimanded at the museum.
Ahhh the joys of hearing others say words wrong. We all have our pet peeves (it’s VER-BEEEE-AGE damnit! Not “verbage!” There’s an “i” in there for a reason!), but my mother takes it to an entirely different level, perhaps even an upper echelon of mispronunciation.
And also, just so you’re aware, my mother’s accent is somewhere in between Boston and Brooklyn, yet she’s from Connecticut. She lived in Poughkeepsie for 4 years in the 70’s and then moved back to Connecticut. No one can figure out where the accent came from, or, if it was New York, how the hell did it manage to stay tenaciously at her side for 30 years?
Dictionary Definition: queue |kyoō|
noun. a list of data items, commands, etc., stored so as to be retrievable in a definite order, usually the order of insertion.
My Mom: “Kweeee! Click here to listen.
Used in a sentence: “I’m gonna put The Shield in my Blockbustah kwee.”
Dictionary Definition: brooch |brō ch; broō ch |
noun. An ornament fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch.
My Mom: “brewch” Click here to listen.
Used in a sentence: “Ohhhh, that’s a very nice brewch she’s wearin’.”
Dictionary Definition: trough |trôf|
noun. A long, narrow open container for animals to eat or drink out of : a water trough.
My Mom: “trowww” Click here to listen.
Used in a sentence: “Look at the hawwses! They’re drinkin’ out of the trowwww!”
Let this be the first of many statements I will make regarding my art education – I was a sculpture major, then a design major, then a sculpture major, and then finally graduated with a degree in painting. This is nether here nor there, but you have to understand, there were many things being created that made anyone’s typical baby-boomer parents uncomfortable.
One of the finer moments of my life as a sculpture major (temporarily, of course) was to take a ceramics class. We were taught both hand building and wheel throwing, and as luck would have it, I was terrible at making anything on the wheel. (For those of you who don’t know, that beautifully glazed mug you’re currently drinking out of your coffee out of may have
been “hand thrown.” A ceramic craftsmen lobbed a blob of clay onto a spinning circular platform and with the magic of water and wit, created your vessel. As you might imagine, it’s not as easy as it looks – but I digress.)
Due to my lack in wheel finesse, I became pretty good at creating odd structures with the hand building technique. (All this really means is that I flattened some clay out, chopped it up and slapped it together to make something delightful. Think of it like making a big three-dimensional cookie.) I enjoyed the female form and had decided to make a bust from the middle of the torso to the neck, with the tops of the shoulders reaching out. I also decided to be visually poetic and create a sort of light vs. dark, soft vs. rigid, good vs. evil sort of bust. Half of it was lovely and smooth, with a more realistic feel. The other side was made of shards of glass-looking pieces of clay. At the end of the process, the smooth and “soft” side was glazed a matte white, the shattered glass-like side glazed in a high gloss black. The opening of the neck was left open (perhaps for one day planting something equally as poetic) and it sat with strength and dignity on a pedestal in our classroom.
My parents came up to pick me up from school after I had built my busty creation, and I felt it would be a fabulous time to give them a tour through the halls and show them what I and other students had been up to. I show them around the different buildings and when we arrived in the ceramics studio, I didn’t have a chance in hell at gently guiding them through the area.
“DON!!! Look! It’s a BOOOOOOOOOOOOB!”
Now, I want you to think of many things in your head while you read that line above. Imagine a level of volume so unnecessary and a tone so high and garbled in pitch, you’re looking at the windows to be sure they haven’t shattered. Ethel Murman, Francine from American Dad, any scream by Kathy Bates, but perhaps the most accurate would be if Fozzy and Miss Piggy had a daughter, that’s what my mom sounds like.
Read that line one more time.
Hear it now?
Sigh… It appears as though my mother found my poetic creation.
I think at that very moment I chose to change my major to painting