19 June 2006

Don't scare me like that

If you asked whether my mom and I were close, that would be a tough question. I love my mom but I will never be one of those people who say "My mom is my best friend! I tell her everything."

My answer would have to be that a carefully edited version of me is close to my mom. My three sisters and I all feel the same. I can't count the number of things my sisters have told me that begin with the caveat "Don't tell this to mom."

Here's the problem: my mother has such a carefully cultivated and stubborn naivete that she seems fragile and easily shocked, even after 80 years of life. She truly has the cultural sensibilities of a fundamentalist church lady, except without the dogmatic religious part.

Here's a perfect example: she doesn't like many movies. There is always too much sex, too much violence, too much of something. When "On Golden Pond" came out, I recommended it to her. Old people. Boats. Family drama. What could be wrong with that?

Too much swearing. My mother didn't like On Golden Pond because of Henry Fonda's salty use of language.


Another example: back when humorous bumperstickers were very popular, we were sitting around at a family event and tossing out our favorites. Mom piped up "I like that one that says 'Save a tree - eat a beaver.'"

Everyone sat there in stunned silence. No one dared meet each other's eyes because we knew we wouldn't be able to stop laughing if we started.

"What?" she said. "I think it's cute."

She did not get it then, and probably never will, because we ain't gonna explain it to her. Not our job.

So while I think I have had a fairly standard life, there are things I hide from Mom, even as I perch here in middle age. It just isn't worth it to turn over all those rocks and show her what wiggles beneath. It's not that I have a lot to hide. But because of mom's determined disapproval of popular culture, I would have a lot of explaining to do and I just don't have the energy.

The other day mom said "So your sister P. said she saw your naked picture on the Internet."

"GAH????" I thought. "P. knows about Red Stapler???" I knew that my sis Janet visits my blog, but she is under strict instructions not to spread the word about my blog to the rest of the fam.

"She said she saw it at that other place you have besides your food blog," mom said.

I was in full panic mode. Then I remembered. Flickr.

I breathed. Then got mad.

"It's not naked! Why is she telling you there are naked pictures of me on the internet? It's just my head and shoulders."

"Oh, she said you must have a towel on or something but you couldn't see it."

I didn't have the heart to tell her that nope, I was walking around naked taking pictures of myself. No towel in sight. That's the kind of weirdo I am.


super des said...

don't break that kind of news to your mom.

Elizabeth said...

Speaking of snackish, I am oddly curious about what other people eat, so are you planning to keep posting to it?

Your bumper sticker story reminded me of my story about my mother-in-law asking us what a "pole smoker" was.

SUEB0B said...

I just haven't felt inspired to post to Snackish lately, since my diet has consisted of frozen pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches with steamed veg on the side.

I do love food. I just need someone to cook for to inspire me. Want to come over?

Janet Evening said...

I'll bet you get a robe for solstice this year...

Holly Capote said...

You're a funny, funny woman. Did I read that you're a professional writer? If so, where do you write other than your blogs?

SUEB0B said...

Oh Holly, it is too, too sad. I write 40 hours a week for a large insurance company. Dry as toast. I also do freelance newspaper work.

Holly Capote said...

Suebob, that is so sad. Your wit must be wasted in insurance. And when you're off to work, your wit must have to wear a strait jacket and one of those Hannibal Lector masks and perhaps even you plop an apple into your wit's mouth, ala a roasted pig, so it will be still. And must you coax it with candy too, a promise of bon-bons upon returning home, so it won't say, "Urmmmghrrarrrr," all day?

Can you ever quip when you freelance? Or are you only able to coax words into the semantic equivalent of flaming-hoop-jumping in cyberspace? If so, I sigh for thee.

Start writing for mags. Maybe Bust? Bitch? Adbusters? Your style would be a good fit for theirs.

And you write well enough and more to write a book.

You really write wryly well.

Really, wrly, really.

Really, wrly, really, wrly, really, wrly, really!

You're sexily self-deprecating and you take chances. You surprise me. So, consider plunging more into hard copy publishing.

'Nuff said.

wordgirl said...

My parents go to movies and cound the number of times they hear the "F-word" (as they refer to it). It totally blots out their ability to absorb or enjoy the movie.

Laura said...

OMG!! the beaver story is priceless!!

You are an amazing writer. Yep-- very wasted on insurance!

cm said...

i want to leave comments on linketeria but am baffled by the "identity" thing. yesterday i signed in, somehow, withOUT creating a blogger account, but today i can't sign in. i can't even fake a new name on it. why would i want a blogger account? help?

jennster said...

LMFAO- oh man... can't.stop.laughing.

gandhi rules said...

hmm I'm sensing some sexual tension between you and holly....

Holly Capote said...

Sexual tension? Ahh, I wish, but I'm on deadline, which means I don't have a life, much less a love life. I just know talent when I read it.

Izzy said...

Oh man....this had me stifling serious giggles. You really ought to publish it somewhere.

Henry Fonda's salty use of language


Izzy said...

Hah! See? I wrote that you should get that published BEFORE I read all the other comments. There is an actual consensus that you rock and should get paid for it!

SUEB0B said...

Thank you everyone. My ego is restored and frightened. Now I have to go out and get a REAL writing gig? I've always known I wanted to be a writer...It just took me this long to get around to doing it.

CM - I wish I could help you on the identity thing. I guess you have to set up a blogger acct without a blog...I always thought anyone could comment but I guess I was wrong.

Holly Capote said...

Suebob, you should be afraid. Writing is hard, but you have the chops. I started writing without any formal training. Some think the 2 best writing schools are the University of Iowa and Stanford. One of my editors said that she can tell when a writer has graduated from these programs: that their graduates bear the brand traits. She also said that she likes naive writers, like me. Ingenues take chances (and make mistakes) that a more erudite writer might be too wise to make. And editors are willing to work with talented, ignorant writers. I know you have talent. I can't descry your measure of training. My point is that degrees don't matter. Editors don't give a shit if you have a piece of paper. They care about what you can do on a piece of paper.

You also have gumption. One of the first times I posted here, I challenged you. You met that challenge with grace. You'll need that grit and composure, because if enough people read what you write, you will provoke. You will disappoint. You will infuriate. And they'll come gunnin' for you, cowgirl.

Suzanne said...

Oh man. That beaver story. Now that is some funny stuff. Many thanks. The laugh was needed.

Suzanne said...

I just realized that your mom and my grandma would get along splendidly, although my granny does somehow find the word "cunt" acceptible to use. Even at Thanksgiving dinner.

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