Issue #204 – “Mom” – May 14th, 2012

-I’m a bad son. For the seventh year in a row, I didn’t see my mom on Mother’s Day. Granted, she lives 3,000 miles away in New York, but good sons really only have three responsibilities to their moms: 1) Don’t curse in front of her (she’s seen my stand-up act, so that’s out), 2) Provide reasonable hope that grandchildren are forthcoming (um, no), and 3) Show up on Mother’s Day. But while I haven’t exactly been a model son in those respects, I hope I’ve at least been an entertaining one – when I call too late and wake her up, it could be for any number of reasons: I have exciting career news, I’m really drunk, or I just forgot about the time difference. But no matter where life has taken me, I’m fortunate to have had an incredible relationship with my mom: I keep her on her toes and she keeps my feet on the ground. In fact, she’d be the first to reject the notion that I’m a bad son. She’d say that I’m a good son – with enormous potential for improvement.

-Over the years, I have given my mom ample fodder to brag about me to her friends, and for that I know she’s grateful. What I don’t think she gets is that I don’t care about what her friends’ kids are doing. She calls me up like, “So-and-so’s daughter got into Cornell. So-and-so’s son got a promotion.” Mom, I don’t give a shit about so-and-so and her offspring. Bragging is a one-way street. I do something awesome, you tell your friends, and that’s it. Any incoming brags are automatically filtered to my internal junk mail.

-My mom used to be a teacher, and her loyalties never waned. When I was growing up and got into trouble in school, Mom would always side with my teacher. That pissed me off to no end. I was an incorrigible brat, and Mom suspected that defending me would only encourage my incorrigibleness. Or is it incorrigibility? I wouldn’t know because I was probably in detention instead of English that day. Thanks, Mom.

-What I admire most about my mom is her even keel. My dad, my sister, and I are all varying degrees of curmudgeonly – prone to bitch and moan when things aren’t exactly as we want them. My mom, on the other hand, oozes with patience. In heated moments she lies in wait, calmly assesses the situation, and then takes care of business without expecting any recognition in return. She’s like the fucking SEAL Team 6 of parents.

-Lately I’ve been talking to my mom about her plans for when she eventually retires. I would love to travel to Europe with her, but she doesn’t think it’ll work because she likes to see museums and historical trees and shit, whereas I (in her words) “just want to drink.” I don’t think that assessment is fair. I’m more than happy to sightsee as long as I know what I’m getting into ahead of time. And it’s not like I’ll go out partying in Paris and leave her at the hotel. I’m gonna need a wingman if she wants some half-French grandchildren.

-One of the oldest tropes in the book is that men marry their mothers. I can see how that could be accurate – guys’ first and most prominent female influence is their mom, and so it’s only natural they marry a woman just like her. I mean, if my future wife doesn’t have an even keel like my mom, we’ll be divorced by our honeymoon. My mom is tender, sophisticated, witty, well read, and gregarious. Which, come to think of it, are all things I look for in a woman. I guess if I do marry my mother (so to speak), it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Though I’m telling you the first time my kid gets into trouble at school, I’m definitely taking his side – as long as he swears never to tell his grandmother what happened.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-A girl should not be allowed to refer to someone as her “best friend” unless they’ve known each other at least 10% of their lives. If you’re thirty, someone you met less than three years ago is not your best friend; that’s just some chick from your yoga class.

-For people like me who’ve never had a pet, I can understand the urge to give your kids a weird name. That’s the first time we really get to name a living thing and some people go overboard. I like to think that if I ever have kids I’ll be prudent in the naming process. But if I was gonna go outside the box, I think I’d just choose Saturday. Yes – Saturday Karo. It’s got a nice to ring to it. Plus, everyone loves Saturday. It’s the best day of the week. No one has ever said, “I can’t stand Saturday.” Therefore, there’s no way little Saturday Karo won’t be well adjusted and beloved by his peers.

-If a girl says she just started seeing someone, but he lives in another city that’s a plane ride away, that relationship is doomed. It’s one thing to be in a stable relationship, have one person move away, and then try to make it work long distance. It’s another thing when you start off long distance in the first place. Of course it’s “going great so far” – dating is easy when you’re just flying in for sex three days a month.

-I was at a bachelor party last year and was teasing the groom about committing to a life of never getting head again. To which he responded defiantly, “That’s bullshit, Karo. Before I left for Vegas, Lucy gave me the best blow job of my life.” What a moron. That’s the oldest trick in the book! Every girl gives her fiance the best blow job of his life before he goes to his bachelor party. That’s a tradition passed down by women for thousands of years. But that BJ should come with a warning – “past performance is not indicative of future results” – like some sort of oral sex mutual fund.

-For a while, I was convinced my friend Jen was working for the CIA. She told people she was a “consultant” for the “government” but no one knew what her actual job was. She was always traveling to far-flung places for work. And whenever I called her cell phone there were weird clicks in the background like we were being taped. Finally I just asked her point blank: do you work for the CIA? And she said no. But that’s what someone in the CIA would say! Though if she’s lying I totally just Valerie Plamed her.

-And, finally, I’ve always been fascinated by how my mom’s brain operates. As the matriarch of the family, she is subject to an enormous amount of input: the whims of her husband and two children, the demands of her career, and the responsibility of running a household. As a result, her memory is somewhat inconsistent. She forgets the names of friends I’ve mentioned thousands of times, yet she remembers the obscure details about a business plan I worked on twelve years ago in college. She’ll tell you there’s a method to the madness, but I suspect otherwise. Nevertheless, as I’ve reached and passed the age at which my mom gave birth to me, I’ve gained newfound respect for her never-ending wisdom and support. So I just want to say: Happy (belated) Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. I miss you. And I’m sorry I curse so much. Fuck me.