Thursday, April 23, 2009

Advanced Mommyhood - Mortification 101

I'm convinced that there's some secret institution of higher learning where all mothers are taught that the one sure-fire way to prove their love for their children is to perfect their methods of embarrassing them.

When I moved to Los Angeles in the early 90's, my mother remembered a newspaper article she had read. She doggedly tracked it down, wrote to someone at the NY Times and got a copy of it sent to her. Then, she cut it out and sent it to me. Here's the article. Being a dutiful son, I read the article and then set it aside.

I didn't think much about it until the next time I phoned home. Mom wanted to know if I had gotten it so, I assured her I had read it and found it interesting. Mom wasn't having any of that and wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I said, "Uh.......".

Mom proceeded to explain it to me: "Steven Spielberg's mother owns a restaurant less than 10 blocks from your apartment! She talks to her customers! Get your butt down there and get a job with her son!"

"Does it work that way?", I asked, stalling for time. "All mothers love their sons", she said. "Tell her your mother sent you and you'll have an immediate connection."

I really didn't want to pursue this strategy and started flailing about for acceptable excuses. "Mom. If it was that easy, there'd be a line of guys showing up there just to get jobs with Spielberg. I'm not sure this is such a great idea." Mom, having an answer for everything, said, "Their mothers didn't read the article. Put some pants on and go have lunch!" (How did she know I wasn't dressed yet?)

Thinking I finally had an excuse she might buy, I said, "You know I don't like dairy restaurants, Mom". Falling back on the standard attack of mothers throughout the world, she said, "I was in labor with you for 16 hours. The least you can do is go eat a blintz to make it worth all the trouble."

After a few more minutes of this, I thought I had successfully changed the subject, but she delivered her coup de grace as we were saying goodbye. "You've got one week to go have lunch there and tell me all about it. If you don't, I'm calling her myself!"

I lived with that threat hanging over my head for the next three years every time I faced a bout of unemployment.

Note: I was trying to write the first of a new semi-regular feature I want to try out and it made me think of this incident. Which is why you're not getting my new semi-regular feature (that you didn't know you were waiting for yet). Well, that and procrastination.

(And I still don't want to eat a blintz.)

1 comment:

neurondoc said...

I hear you, Nathan...

I have one. And I am one.