Small Town News: A Christmas Eve To Remember


I have been feeling a little “down in the dumps” lately. To illustrate that I have not completely lost my sense of humor, to restore your faith in me as a “humor blogger”, and to reward those of you who have stuck with me, I will tell you one of my most favorite “ripped from the headlines” stories. It’s a knee-slapper. I promise. It has gotten me through one or two dark moments.

I do not always read our little local newspaper, but when I do I always go straight for the “police blotter”. Not much happens here in our little piece of the Earth, certainly not much that is worth a headline. I discovered long ago that the most interesting things that do happen here are reported in the “police blotter”.

Sometimes, when I am in desperate need of a hearty laugh — which I have been lately — I think back to a tidbit that was featured in the “police blotter” several years ago. The events transpired on the 24th of December in the year 2011. I remember this because that date represented a milestone for me; I had been alcohol-free for a whole year.

Oddly enough I was not in a celebratory mood that year. I was anxious and feeling more than a little sorry for myself. Yes, I had gotten through the year and my first holiday season without booze. That was a good thing. A very good thing. Still, I worried about whether or not I would, could, or even wanted to get through the rest of my life (or the rest of that day) without it.

While my resolve is still strong and I fret less about relapse, there will always be that little part of me that wonders if someday I will fall off the wagon. And lose everything. It keeps me on my toes, but it is not an altogether comfortable feeling.

I was having a conversation with a friend a few days after Christmas about how I was dealing with life without my security blanket, how uncomfortable I was feeling. I was maybe even having a little pity party for myself.

She responded by telling me that my life could be a whole lot worse, that I could, for example, be in that week’s “police blotter”; that I should count myself lucky, not just for making it through the year without alcohol, but also, and possibly more importantly, for not having been one of the “roast beef people”.

She assumed that I was familiar with the story. She knows that I go straight to the “police blotter” when the paper arrives. I guess I was busy, you know, with my pity party in full swing and all. I hadn’t read it. And, so, she read it to me.

It took her about ten minutes to read me the seven-line piece. She had to keep stopping. To laugh. To catch her breath. To blow her nose. It was, in short, a great story.

I wish I had kept it, but I didn’t. It went something like this, though:

On December 24, 2011 officers responded to a call of a disturbance in the parking lot of The Local Market. Upon arrival, the officers witnessed the female beating the male about the head with a package of roast beef. A strong smell of alcohol was detected on the female assailant. The officers ascertained that the couple was known to each other and had, in fact, arrived in the same vehicle, a late-model BMW. Counsel was given and it was determined that the male, the driver, had not been drinking. The parties were discharged with a warning. The whereabouts of the roast beef in question are unknown.

I loved that she related to me this cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking, when I needed it most. Further, she made mention that she was confident that even had I been drinking, I would never have been caught in the parking lot of The Local Market beating dear, old Fang about the head with a roast beef. Green cabbage, perhaps, but never a roast beef!

I have always wished that I had been there. How often in life does one get to witness a meat fight in the middle of a grocery store parking lot? Alas, I have to satisfy myself with the visual of the scene that plays itself out in my head.

While this story is laugh out loud funny as written, it has always left me with a few lingering questions. Questions that, over the years, I have felt compelled to answer in a speculative and creative fashion. Like the Swiss cheese that often accompanies a fine roast beef product, I think we can agree that the story has more than a few holes.

First of all, I have always wondered what kind of roast beef the guy was being hit upside the head with? Was it a package of cold cuts? Or a whole roast of beef? It is unclear. I think that it makes a difference. Being slapped with a package of sliced roast beef could hardly kill a fly, let alone do any serious damage to a grown man. A slab of beef, on the other hand, could make a dent, not only to his pride, but to his noggin.

My money is on the cold cuts. Why? Because I think, it being Christmas Eve, she sent him in to purchase a roast beef — a whole roast beef — and he came out with deli-sliced roast beef. Also, I have to wonder if the police might not have taken the whole thing a lot more seriously, charged her with assault, even, if her “weapon” had been a five-pound roast of beef.

I have to say that in this scenario, the one that I long ago decided made the most sense,  my sympathies lie with her. Who hasn’t sent their husband the store to buy, say, a head of lettuce only to have him return with a head of cabbage. Who hasn’t wanted to beat him over the head with said green cabbage? Who hasn’t been forced, as a result of his inability to discern the difference between lettuce and cabbage, to eat a BCT, rather than the delicious BLT that one’s heart was set on? Who hasn’t been in this or a similar situation.Be honest, now.

Even drunk, I drew the line at battering anyone — with anything. I was never a violent drunk, though. No. I was a happy until I fell down and then couldn’t remember a thing in the morning kind of drunk. I was even, at times, a maudlin drunk; never was I a violent drunk. Still, drunk or sober, we all have our lines in the sand. This woman drew hers over roast beef. I can understand.

I am happy to report that “The Great Green Cabbage Debacle” did not result in Fang and I engaging in fisticuffs. I would hope that some of you might sympathize with me if it had, though.

I have always been intrigued by the part of the narrative where we are given the information that the parties were “known to each other”. Of course they were known to each other. I am willing to bet that they were married to each other — for thirty years!

While I would like to think that a trip to The Local Market taking on an air of danger might be fun, I don’t know that I would want to be mindful of strangers, armed with roast beef (of any variety), lurking in the shadows, poised to pounce upon the next person that they deemed worthy of a good meat-filled bitch slapping. It wouldn’t keep me away, though.

On the contrary, the idea of possibly being in a position to witness (or, better yet, to be the victim) of such a crime might have me camped out there. For eternity.

And what do you make of the “late-model BMW” detail? I have always found its presence intriguing. Was this meant to indicate that money was not an issue? That the argument had  nothing to do with the cost of the roast beef? (Which is high, let me just tell you!) Are we supposed to assume that they were, perhaps, German? If so, is this something that Germans engage in regularly, food fights in parking lots? Is this something the reader is supposed to know?

It is a mystery, the BMW detail. It is, indeed, far more mysterious to me than the fact that the whereabouts of the roast beef, the weapon in question, “remain unknown”. I am assuming, unless the attack shredded the packaging, that they took it  home with them. I would have taken it home with me.

I have always hoped that their relationship survived this incident. If it did, I also hope that he was never sent in to the store for cold cut turkey and came out, instead, with a frozen bird. Being knocked around with a frozen turkey would definitely smart a little.

I owe them, whatever their current relationship status, a debt of gratitude. Their story, which I like to think of as “A Christmas Eve To Remember”, has long been one of those stories that I harken back to when I need a laugh, when one drink seems like a good idea, when I send my husband out for lettuce, and, most importantly, when I need a reminder about how incredibly fortunate I am that my life is peppered with people who not only love me, but always know exactly what story I need to hear at exactly the moment I need to hear it.

Do you live in a small town? Do you have a favorite small town story? If so, I would love to hear it!


















Let Me Grab My Robe!

letmegrabmyrobeIf anyone is looking for me around suppertime on any given Friday evening, I’ll be at the local Friendly’s. The reason for this has less (but certainly not nothing) to do with the fact that I can officially begin my weekend by ingesting some kind of crazy fabulous chocolate-peanut butter dessert concoction; more to do with the fact that, as I discovered on a recent excursion to this joint, the place seems to be “shoes-optional”.

One cannot enjoy a buffalo chicken salad (and, yes, a giant dessert) barefooted — that’s against the law here in New Jersey. There is, however, no law (written or, apparently, unwritten) against donning one’s bedroom slippers and heading out to enjoy a meal (and dessert!) at Friendly’s. Finally, a place where I can be comfortable.

Normally, frequenting a restaurant where pants are “button-optional” would be enough for me — especially one where ordering dessert is more of a given than it is a choice. Knowing that I don’t even have to change into shoes? Yeah. I’m all in, folks. All in!

When I first noticed a woman leaving the premises in her fuzzy mules, I will admit that I was somewhat taken aback. She had a gaggle of kids in tow, though, and I figured that she may have simply been overwhelmed by the mere act of wrangling them to concern herself with something as esoteric as proper footwear.

It was when I got inside and spied several other slipper-wearers that it occurred to me that this might be some sort of tradition or, at the very least, a trend down at the Friendly’s. Who knew?

Not me, that’s for sure. At some point I began to wonder if I had missed the memo that Fridays were “Pajama Days” at Friendly’s because, I swear, there was a woman who appeared to be wearing, in addition to her house shoes, a bathrobe. It may have been a sweater, but it surely could have passed for a robe.

I have, in my lifetime, witnessed the relaxation of the dress code here in America. It is no longer de rigeur to wear black to a funeral, for example. Shockingly — at least to me — one may also wear booty shorts and a midriff-baring shirt to a Broadway play without garnering any undue “tsking”. Feel the need to wear white before Memorial Day and after Labor Day? Go right ahead. No one will notice.

I see young people sporting pajama pants in all sorts of places. School, for example. I have long chalked this practice up to the rebellious nature of your average adolescent. Good for them. Whatever.

I know how I feel about “hooker casual” at a show. I’m against it. But sleepwear at the Friendly’s? This is a practice that I may be able to work into my routine. Those desserts, after all, can make a person mighty sleepy.

I Hope She Wasn’t Wearing a Skirt!

NaBloPoMo14DayNine After posting two recipes on two consecutive days, I received a message from a friend — a nonblogger who has never felt the pressure of NaBloPoMo — in which she accused me of “cheating”. As if recipes weren’t writing. I would argue that mine are.

Normally this accusation would be akin to “fightin’ words”, but she followed up with something along the lines of, “I suppose we’re all entitled to a bad day. I spent mine without panties.” I was intrigued. And hysterical.

Once you’re laughing your ass off and imagining the circumstances whereby your friend was rendered underwearless on a lovely Autumn Saturday, it’s difficult to sustain mild annoyance with her, never mind anger. She never revealed why, exactly, she spent the day without panties, I asked — of course I asked! She got sidetracked discussing other details of her day.

Outside of why she had gone “commando”, I wasn’t all that interested in what else she had been up to. Can you blame me? Would you have been? Because I never did find out, I have had to content myself with a few theories, some of which may or may not be drawn from my own experiences.

They were too small, circulation-constricting small, like, maybe, they belonged to someone else in her house. Someone like her young daughter, perhaps. Wait. She doesn’t have any daughters, so, no, that couldn’t be the reason. At least it couldn’t be HER reason for ditching that pair of ill-fitting Power Puff Girl briefs.

She took them off proactively to avoid the embarrassment that would be the likely result of a wardrobe malfunction. You know, because the elastic was torn around the waistband AND the leg — they were hanging on, in other words, by a wing and a prayer. Perhaps she feared they would unravel altogether and shoot down her pant leg. How would she explain such a thing to the table that she was waiting on? Oh, wait. She’s not a waitress. That must have happened to someone else I know.

She just plum forgot. This, knowing her, is the most likely explanation for her lack of drawers. It’s not that exciting, though. Unless, of course, she was wearing a skirt. Yeah. That makes for a MUCH better story. Trust me. That’s a humdinger of a tale.

A shout out to “Mrs. G” for inspiring this post. If more of my friends are as generous with their embarrassing stories as she was with hers, I may not have to publish any more recipes this month.

Honesty: It Is NOT Always the Best Policy.

honestypolicyThere may not be a bad time to experience that fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Warhol promised us. I would argue, however, that there may be a time when being the “Toast of the Town” may not be optimal; times when, for example, it would be highly inconvenient to be invited to spend a few minutes with Kathie Lee and Hoda. For me, that time would be now. Not now as in right this minute, although this wouldn’t be a good time, either, as it’s Sunday morning and what I’m wearing could best, and if you were inclined to kindness, be described as “a get-up”. Hey, it’s the first cold morning and I haven’t yet dug out my heavy robe!

It occurs to me that the heavy robe has a “get-up” quality to it, as well. Alas, the condition of my sleepwear is a story that will have to wait for another day. For now, we’ll just focus on the condition of my hair.

Now and for as long as I am sporting this bad haircut would be poor timing in terms of my achieving any level of fame, success, or notoriety. Now is dependent upon how quickly my hair grows out.  Now, in this context, could mean months. Or, possibly, years.

Like a beer run at 2 a.m., it all started out innocently enough, but ended, as these things often do, in tragedy and heartbreak. It’s all my fault, though. I take complete responsibility. Although I think it would be nice if the good folks over at Groupon and my stylist bore some of the blame for the situation that I currently find myself in. Nice, but not necessary.

The situation that I currently find myself in is, to be exact, this: I have two different haircuts and only the one head. From the back it looks like she was going for a “Fonz” look; for the front she drew her inspiration from either Victoria Beckham or Anna Wintour. My money is on “Posh Spice”, though, as I don’t think this young lady, if she had a gun to her head and her life was dependent upon identifying Anna Wintour, would be up to the task!

Sure, she was vapid enough to be a “Vogue” reader. She simply did not strike me as they type of person who would have the slightest interest in the history of that magazine.

What she was interested in was giving me something “funky” in the way of a new hairdo. I was not aware that this was her game plan until it was too late, until she was finished and said, “Oh, my God. This is great. Soooo funky!” If you want to send chills of terror through the spine of a 49-year-old woman AND you are a hairdresser who has just cut said 49-year-old woman’s hair, I highly recommend that you utter that sentence. It’s a real attention-grabber.

Why did I end up with the 20-year-old stylist? The one whose own hair was not only dyed a color that does not, to my knowledge, occur in nature, but also a young woman who appeared to have been out to all hours the night before my tragic hair experience? If her breath was any indication, she was not out volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

I was tempted to offer her a mint, to cover up the smell of the dozen, or so, vodka drinks that she had imbibed in the night before, but I feared that this behavior, well-meaning though it would have been, may have been construed as rude, rather than helpful. Certainly I did not want the young lady who was going to take scissors to my hair to dislike me.

Had I known what the end result was going to be, I may have offered her the damn mint. It would be difficult to imagine that there is a worse haircut out there than the one I ultimately received. But, who knows?

I have decided, upon reviewing the events of yesterday, that I ended up with the most inexperienced, the most hung over, the most sleep-deprived, salon worker in the building because I was honest. I did what the Groupon coupon told me to do — something I will NEVER do again — which was to identify myself as a Groupon holder. (The person who walked in behind me, the one who walked out looking like a normal person — you know, one haircut, one head — had done no such thing. She just made a regular appointment, showed up, and THEN presented HER coupon. You live and you learn, folks. You live and you learn.) Because I was honest, I got what I got.

Honesty can be a bit of a sticky wicket, though, can’t it? It is NOT always the best policy. Ask me if I was honest when she finished with my hair? I was not. Because what would have been worse than suffering a bad haircut would have been expressing my feelings about it to the 20-year-old hairdresser, who, her personal habiats notwithstanding, was a very sweet girl.

While my initial reaction was, in fact, “WTF?”, I made the conscious decision to hide it. I decided, instead, when she breathlessly and, yes, hopefully asked me my opinion, to lie. I wasn’t going to be the one to swing the heavy club — the one filled with sarcasm and, yes, shock. I feared that if I had employed honesty, I may have crushed her spirit, damaged her self-esteem.

Who wants to be responsible for that? Not me. Me? I’d rather live with a bad haircut — or, in this case, two bad haircuts.

Take Your Belongings With You!

paperbagwithwordsSimply by virtue of the fact that I am a restaurant worker, I have, on any number of occasions over the years, found myself in the unenviable position of being called  a thief. People leave all sorts of things in restaurants. I could open up my own optical shop with all of the eyeglasses folks have left behind. I’m surprised I’ve never found some forgetful parent’s sleeping toddler curled up in a booth at the end of a busy night. It’s shocking the valuable things people leave behind at restaurants — cash, jewelry, wallets, purses, and all sorts of computer-y things — in what I can only assume is their haste to make it home for the latest episode of “Dancing With the Stars”.

My all-time favorite boneheaded move occurred many years ago at a different place of employment. Still, I sincerely doubt that it will ever be matched. A Secret Service agent left his gun and his credentials at one of my tables. I’ve always been relieved that he wasn’t assigned to guard me! Ask me if he was happy that we called the police to report our findings? He was not. I’m sure there was no end to the hot water he found himself in following that lapse in judgment.

Having had that particular experience — and it was an experience — all of the other things folks have subsequently left behind pale in comparison. That’s why I didn’t get all worked up when I received a message from a coworker while I was enjoying a day off asking me to call the restaurant because management wanted to ask me a few questions regarding some guy’s missing iPad — an iPad that had, apparently, been left at one of my bar tables. He was so attached to it that it took him three days to notice it was missing and, of course, jump to the conclusion that the bartender swiped it. I was excited to discover that not only did he think me a thief, but that he also had the idea that I was a technologically ignorant one, too. The iPad he supposedly left at my table? It was an iPad 1.

Even I have a newer iPad than that.

Just in case his assault upon my character and my honest nature were not enough, he also managed to insult me further by stating that I was “old and tired”. That’s how he described me to one of my managers. (To be fair, I’m not the only Jackie at my job — to further confuse the issue,  on the night in question we were both working the bar. Still, I think he could have used descriptors other than “old” and “tired”.) Frankly, I thought I looked alright that night. Clearly, I was mistaken in my assessment of my own appearance. Alas, there’s only so much an old, tired woman can do to make herself presentable.

His attack on my appearance notwithstanding, I was not too pleased to discover that he told the manager that “she”, meaning me, “had to have taken it”. Really? In the three days that had elapsed since his antiquated gadget disappeared, had he no occasion to miss his beloved iPad 1? Was he stricken with a weekend case of Ebola virus from which he experienced a miraculous recovery? Was he reenacting a Civil War battle where anachronistic toys, including his flip phone and his Atari, were prohibited? Perhaps he was just holed up in his house all weekend using his Tandy computer to catch up on the latest Apple products. I think he’s about five years behind. I hope that’s how he used his leisure time.

I hope he had our phone number saved on his Rolodex. I hope he didn’t have to dial “411” or search his Yellow Pages to obtain it.

Maybe he set this weekend aside to organize his VHS tapes or to make mix tapes for his Walkman.

When he ventures out to upgrade his iPad 1, I’ll bet that he will be pleasantly surprised at the turn technology has taken since he last had a reason to upgrade his tablet. Or, perhaps he found it underneath the seat of his Yugo or beneath his Members Only jacket in his entryway where he carelessly tossed it.

Hopefully this information will make those of you whose behavior resembles that of Hansel and Gretel — leaving trails of belongings in your wake — to think twice before you race toward home to enjoy the season premier of “Duck Dynasty”. Double check your area. Take your belongings with you. And don’t assume, if something goes missing, that the waitress took it. Chances are, she didn’t.


My coworkers enjoy poking fun at me — I decided to beat them to it by commemorating this, the latest in what I like to think of as “Adventures in the Food Service Industry”, with an appropriate graphic. They got a kick out of it. I hope you do, too.






Projects That Demand Our Scientific Attention!


I saw this headline FART SMELLS HAVE HEALTH BENEFITS and thought, “Great. More money spent on ‘scientific’ research — research that helps no one.” And then I read the article. I was wrong about this research, in that it may actually serve a purpose — a purpose that could benefit humankind.

The article didn’t indicate how these scientists had arrived at the idea to study fart smells. (The ingestion of too much bean salad in the break room, perhaps?) To be fair, they didn’t call them fart smells, either. Instead, they referred to these smells as the byproducts of the hydrogen sulfide our bodies produce which are released during flatulence — but, we all know what that means. If a rose by any other name is still a rose it follows that a fart by any other name is still a fart.

HYDROGEN SULFIDE HAS HEALTH BENEFITS doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, though, as the headline they ultimately went with, does it? I’m assuming the “FART SMELLS” spin was the work of a team of very bright marketing professionals — or one average 9-year-old boy.

I was relieved to discover that their findings may indeed lead to breakthroughs in the way that we treat conditions that adversely affect millions of people — conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and senility, to name but a few. This news came as a relief to me — nothing irritates me more than seeing money being spent and talent being wasted on scientific studies that, ultimately, won’t do anyone a damn bit of good.

Yes. I’m talking about dinosaurs.

While it’s certainly fun to visit The Museum of Natural History and be met, upon your arrival, with the ginormous skeleton of a massive dinosaur and, further, to know that this creature actually walked the Earth some millions of years ago, but that’s about all it is — fun. It’s slightly more interesting to learn of the theories that abound regarding the extinction of the dinosaurs.

These theories are myriad and range from the outrageous (Aliens!) to the more plausible (Asteroids!). My money’s on the asteroid theory.

The Alien Theory, while certainly entertaining, makes little to no sense. It’s more than slightly problematic from a logistical perspective. First, one has to believe that aliens got here in the first place. Then, one has to assume that they came equipped with several very large spaceships in which, after rounding up untold numbers of these giant beasts and their smaller contemporaries, skedaddled back to their home planet. Even if you were to buy into this demented line of thinking, the ultimate question would be “Why?”

Frankly, I just don’t think that extraterrestrials, even IF millions of years ago they had the technology to travel here (and back!), would have wasted their time transporting the entire dinosaur population of Earth back to Planet MX-1283 or wherever it was they hailed from. I’m fairly certain that they would have just taken the few they needed for research and reproductive purposes. One would imagine that this is the method any self-respecting MX-1283ers would have employed.

That a massive asteroid plummeted to Earth and set off an ice age — an ice age that most dinosaurs could not survive — is a far more believable hypothesis, in that we know that there was an ice age and we also know, through the fossil record, that dinosaurs didn’t come out of it alive. I think this is all the research the world needs concerning dinosaurs.

Instead of wasting our time digging up their bones and putting their skeletons together for schoolchildren to gawk at in museums, how about we concentrate our scientific energies on how to avoid being victims ourselves of the asteroid that killed them in the first place? How about that?

To this end, I move that we gather the world’s second greatest science minds together and fund a little project I like to call “The Asteroid Blaster”. The best geeks should, of course, be hard at work developing a broom that doesn’t become separated from its handle while one is sweeping up the coffee grounds which, inevitably, wind up on the floor while being banged loose from the reusable K-cup filter. If, during the course of this important research they should discover why regular K-cups come with such an enormous price tag, well, goody for them!

The less renowned men and women of the scientific community can carry on with things like disease prevention, ecological sustainability, and how to build a bridge to Europe. Those of us who fear flying would be much obliged. After all, we, too, would like the opportunity to see Paris.

None of these science-y types should be allowed to even so much as think about digging up and putting back together anything that was once a dinosaur or is in any way dinosaur or fossil-related until all of this other very important work has been completed. So say I.

Let’s stop wasting valuable time — time that could be better spent in saving this planet and its inhabitants from being obliterated by a giant asteroid — on hypotheses that involve what color a triceratops might have been. Seriously, there’s a guy who has spent his life doing just that. He has dedicated himself AND, let me just add, made a living while doing so, essentially coloring in the lines for a living! And, there is every possibility that he’s gotten it all wrong. That’s fine. Really, it is. Why? Because it does NOT matter what color dinosaurs were.

Can you even imagine if, years ago, we’d put HIM on the broom thing? He seems to be just the kind of imaginative thinker the broom team needs. If we had, it is very possible that we — all of us — may very well be, instead of sitting around reading about it or, in my case, writing about it, doing something far more productive right now — something like sweeping the kitchen. I should add that there is no doubt in my mind that we would be doing so with a chartreuse-colored broom.

At the very least, if this guy doesn’t make it on to the broom team, I’m hoping for an Asteroid Blaster in a lovely shade of puce. These, my friends, are projects that demand our scientific attention. Can I get a second?

Thanks to Mindy Klapper Trotta at Better After 50 for sharing the original story that sparked this post.

Making Gandhi Proud

makinggandhiproudI was so happy when my daughter, the always delightful Fangette, graduated from high school last week. Finally. All the bullshit was over. Or, so I thought.

She’s home this summer. She’s working here and there at her movie theater job, but she’s home more than she’s not home. I know that come August 22nd when we deposit her and her belongings in Burlington, Vermont, I’ll miss her terribly. Right now, though? Not so much.

At the moment I’m putting up with lots of demands for egg salad sandwiches and runs to the mall. She cannot seem to ever find a beach towel (or a regular towel) when she needs one. And don’t even get me started on where her favorite sandals are. I hope that her roommates can keep better track of her stuff than I can. I hope that they have mastered boiling an egg. I wonder if there’s a place for these skills on the roommate matching forms?

Probably not. This is likely part of the reason that they go away to college at all. In addition to the academic component of a university education, I’m guessing that keeping track of her own shit and learning to make a sandwich will be among the things, along with organic chemistry, that she will learn to master while she’s away at college.

Knowing Fangette as I do, though, I’ll bet she surrounds herself with people who will do these things for her. She’s a person that just naturally gathers minions. For the last 18 years, I’ve been one of them. I cannot wait until August 22nd.

It feels like a release date — from prison or from the mental institution where I’ve been languishing for years. It really does.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to teach my daughter to do things for herself. I have. And I’ve been successful in some areas. She knows what she has in the bank to the penny. She can shower and dress herself. And she’s timely. She gets her schoolwork done. Tardiness of any kind irritates her. She gets that from me.

Unlike me, but much like her father, she cannot make an appointment — for car service, for the dermatologist — to save her life, although I’ve noticed that she has no trouble scheduling mani-pedis. Luckily she won’t have her car on campus next year. She has to find a dermatologist though — we’ve spent years and buckets of money keeping her acne at bay. I suppose that I could take some comfort in the fact that if she doesn’t attend to her skin, at least her nails will look nice. I’m sure she’s already Yelped the best nail salons in Burlington, VT.

She likes to carry on about becoming an independent woman. I’ve told her that doing her own laundry would be a step in the right direction. As would procuring her immunization records from the pediatrician.

I think she’s done one load of laundry from start to finish in her life. As for the immunization records, I know I’ll have to get them. They’re just as important to me as they are to her, given that they are a necessary component to my release date.

The other night on one of our many trips to the mall to secure this, that, and the other thing, we enjoyed dinner together. She told me that she was bothered by all of the injustice in the world, that she hoped to find a way — during or after college — to use her skills to make a difference in the world. That’s admirable.

I told her that she might want to start by making a difference in my world — picking up after herself, making her own pasta, buying her own strawberries. She rolled her eyes, which was her way of saying, “Mom, you don’t get it. I’m talking about saving the WORLD here!”

I got it. I really did. She’s always on me about being a better housekeeper, a more organized person. I took this opportunity to quote Gandhi. I told her that she should “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. She looked at me like I was crazy. She asked me if I thought that I wasn’t diminishing Gandhi by using his words to get her to do something as pedestrian as laundry.

I can’t be sure, not having known Gandhi myself, but I’ll bet he would be supportive of my efforts. I’m pretty sure he had teenagers. I’ll bet they rolled their eyes at him, too. I told her to go ahead and find me a picture of Gandhi in a dirty and/or wrinkled sari. I’m still awaiting that piece of evidence.

In an effort to be the change I wish to see in my world, I’m going to do a little cleaning and organizing today. After all, I want to make Gandhi proud. (Don’t we all?) I can’t start on it right away though. I have to get on the phone with the pediatrician’s office and the car dealership and straighten some things out for Fangette. Who knows how long that will take?

I can’t be sure, but I think I hear Gandhi “tsking” right now. I absolutely know he’s shaking his head. As for me, I just keep thinking “August 22nd, August 22nd, August 22nd!”

photo credit: Ghandi

This post also appeared on Scary Mommy where it was met with, let’s just call it, a cooler than expected reception. I still love Scary Mommy, though — if you like to read the kinds of things that I write (and, really, outside of a few Patty Perfect Soccer Moms that enjoy posting critical comments about how I’m a lazy mother who has, deservedly, raised a monster, who doesn’t?), I suggest you head on over there. It’s a hoot! (At least for those of who “get” humor.)

Scary Mommy