Today’s my mom’s birthday. She was born in ’46, so she’s pretty old I suppose. Her present was driving my dad back from a hospital in Chattanooga to their home in northern Alabama following some kind of robotic surgery. I guess that’s better than having a birthday on the 23rd when he was in surgery, but still–pretty shitty.
That got me to thinking about a blog post: “All About My Mother” but without the transvestitism. Or, better yet, “Things My Mom is Better Off Not Knowing.” That’s a little better.
1) When you told me my name would have been Melanie had I been a girl, I thought you were an idiot. Melanie? Named after a fruit or a euphemism for boobs? I totally would have been a hooker (but spelled Mellony).
2) You weren’t real popular among the neighborhood kids. It could’ve been your willingness to drag someone else’s kid out of a church service for a spanking. Or your willingness to spank a neighbor’s child in our front yard for pissing on your azaleas. Or your willingness to pull out the white plastic cutting board and spank your own son in the middle of a backyard football game. It’s hard to say. But one afternoon after watching “The Breakfast Club” on TBS right before I went to college, I walked across the street to the woods where I’d spent much of my childhood to look for the giant tree on which we’d all carved our names in 1984. And, I saw someone had carved–on the back side of the tree–“Mrs Muskrat is a bitch.” Don’t worry, though…I pulled out my pocket knife and scratched it out.
3) One time when you were screaming at me for being on the phone instead of doing my homework, I taped it. I played said tape to everyone on the back of the bus during the 11th grade field trip to Washington, DC. It got a lot of laughs. I still remember such great lines as, “You’re not gonna step foot out of this house–except to go to school and church” and “No! The only thing that’s queer is your attitude!” I’ll have to remember that one for future use.
4) When y’all moved my bedroom to the other side of the house, where my window was 7′ off the ground, so I wouldn’t sneak out at night, you underestimated how easy a pull-up is for a boy with a pull-up bar in his doorway who did 30 every morning. When I’d say, “I wonder who rolled so-and-so last night?” I really knew who had.
5) I came home one night in highschool and heard you screaming a bunch. I thought you and Dad were fighting for about 10 seconds until I figured out y’all weren’t fighting, and I went to the toilet to throw up.
6) After a couple months of college, all of us pledges were sitting in a meeting with our pledge trainer, Steve, and he singled me out and asked if I had strict parents. A friend who’d grown up with me gave an emphatic “Yes.” Steve said, “It shows. Dude always shows up on time, does a good job at post-party cleanups, and seems to be making his grades. As for the rest of you fuckups…” For about 5 seconds, I was actually glad you were a Nazi for the 18 years I was under y’all’s roof.
7) Before I knew about blogs, I used to send a couple emails every week to a friend from highschool at his university. He’d print them, bind them, and give them to me at Christmas and summer breaks, so that my college experience would be memorialized. Anticipating that I’d be sent to Iraq in 2003, I went through every page with a Sharpie and redacted anything I didn’t want you to read if I were killed, since I knew you’d be the one going through my things. I didn’t want you to feel like you’d failed.
In any event, thanks for always being there, even when I didn’t particularly want you to be at the time. In the words of a Vanderbilt football fan, “There’s always next year.”