Monthly Archives: February 2012

same (face) book, different page


ok, this is an off-the-cuff post.

normally i would be at yoga right now namaste-ing this current angst away, but i’m not because as i was about to leave, my stomach suddenly got sour and i had to use the bathroom. the rest is personal.

one pepogest capsule later (i love that stuff) i’m feeling a bit better, but not enough to do six sun salutes nonstop. i’d likely be doing another kind salute if i went. some bug is going around school, so it’s just as well.

i’m pontificating today about perspectives. and how we all have them. and how mine is different than yours and yours is different from his and his different from hers and hers is different than yours… i hope you know where this is going.

if not, here goes: you are in your head and there’s usually room for just one of you. it is nigh impossible for you to be in my head. i can barely be in my own head sometimes. it would be inane, on a phantasmagorical level to suggest that even my appreciation of breeze, a flower, a sound or a song is the same as yours.

so what do we do? we remember: i am me, and you are you and despite coo-coo-ca-joo and all that we aren’t always all together. in more ways than one (one being that i’m not always all together: i have bad days and good days and bad minutes and good minutes), we are not all together because we are our own bunches of DNA and chemicals and hormones and memories with legs and eyes and all the rest. plus, The Beatles were stoned when they wrote that, so i don’t give it much credence.

so in this mass me-dia age of e-Bathos, e-Sympathy and e-Angst we have a wonderful engine: facebook, to add yet another layer of confusion and misunderstandings and the occasional lack of perspective.

o facebook! that facebook of our times! it has become something like a locker room, a school bathroom, a bar bathroom, a utility closet, a waiting room, a front hall, a back hall, a just around the corner and i’ll be there in a sec place … even if you’re with another person on that facebook place, you’re not in the same place. ya dig?

where is this going? well, nowhere i suppose if you don’t understand what i’m saying. bear with me.

regarding facebook, users have an unstated cosmically wrong so-called mutual (800 million mutual) understanding that posits thus: “we all know what you mean.” when in reality i suggest this: “no, we don’t all know what you mean. in fact, some of us have no clue what you mean.” a posting from me could mean something vastly different to someone else.

say i post “i love ice cream!” on my wall. that’s pretty innocuous, right? ha. one of my fb friends sees this and it makes her sad. she used to love ice cream, but she wrote a poem about her love of ice cream in high school that her teacher said was rubbish and horrid and that ice cream is what killed her teacher’s lover when he slipped on a melting ice cream cone on the sidewalk of a busy street under a construction scaffolding canopy that couldn’t stop a steinway grand piano from smashing on him when a mover had a heart attack and lost his grip on the rope and pulley that was holding it up. he had a heart attack because he hadn’t taken his medication for the past few days because he was so overwhelmed that his daughter didn’t get into Julliard and she was writing more sad, poetic stuff that her teacher didn’t like.

woo-woo… how’d i do that? well, it all did itself. that was fun, wasn’t it? i had a F Scott moment there. thanks, FSF! must be the pepogest. 

c’mon… back to Right Now… that’s right, here we go: so the friend who wrote the supposed bad poetry instantly sees the “i love ice cream” post and says something offensive to the innocent ice cream lover. and everything goes pear-shaped. feelings are hurt, people are considered insensitive, other people get involved and the ice cream eater gets depressed and eats a whole gallon (eight pints) of chunky monkey, which requires some pepogest.

i’m writing about this because in my own experiences with facebook, i’ve had the following situation: it was my birthday. a mutual friend posted on my wall, “happy birthday, hope you’re having a great day! i miss you, i’m so busy with school, we need to go out!” or something equally benign and sincere.

a mutual friend posted as a comment to that friend’s stand-alone, unsolicited happy birthday greeting, “oh xfriend name would go here but it won’t ’cause this is realx you’ll be done in no time! you’re almost there. i’m so proud of you … i’ve still got another 2 years to go! hang in there, blah blah blah.”  (blah blah blah mine)

this mutual excited-for-our-friend’s-almost-being-done-with-school fb friend, whom i actually know in “real life” (remember that?) and whom i suspect strongly meant no disrespect to me whatsoever, did NOT say “hey molly, i’m gonna make a follow-up comment to a mutual friend who posted a birthday greeting on your wall but i won’t say happy birthday to you or even acknowledge that it’s your wall, i’ll just be like a random insect and splat myself on your 45 mph windshield,” because she didn’t need to. i know this person and she is . . .  wait for it . . . unique. she is herself. and that’s allowed. she is a good person with a heart of blood, connective tissues, muscle and arteries (i’m not gonna say “gold” because it’s not gold – now don’t go thinking i mean something bad because it’s not gold — no one has a heart of gold, get over y’selves). she is also terrifically distracted, completely overwhelmed and i needn’t say more, but i will, she’s wholly in her own head.

so what did i do? i acknowledged her in-her-own-headness and because i possess an active id and had my birthday ego on, i took the high road: i blocked her ability to post or comment or anything on my wall for about 3 months. nyah.  i didn’t want to deal with the randomness. that’s my choice. i know that my saying something about how my feelings were hurt woulda absolutely gone in one ear and out the other. this is not to suggest that she would ignore me, it’s to suggest that she’d simply not be there with me; she doesn’t have the bandwidth. that’s cool; that’s what the privacy settings are all about.

another blessedly wonderful friend and i have a phrase about behaviors like that — facebook behaviors that comment on a remark with content that has nothing whatsoever to do with the original point as “i like candy.” she knows who she is and she makes me laugh, and sing, and cry and hyperventilate at the randomness of life. i hope she’s reading. we’ve been known to write “i like candy” on our own walls per comments that have nothing to do with the original thread. are we perfect? heck no. but are we paying attention? yep. i believe our use of “i like candy” is our common acknowledgement that other people are just doing their thang.

i think, or i like to think that we all know this about life — that not everyone’s on the same page and yet it can irk us when it happens. why? because those people aren’t in our heads and for me, i have the gall, honesty and complete arrogance to say that it bugs me. it’s about being seen and heard: a deeply primitive core need we all have. God save the person who doesn’t hear or see another person (code: me). it’s that lack of perspective: the act of reading the same book, but being on a different page that we all experience.

rather than being angry that someone doesn’t get our joke, or see our pain, or live in our shoes we could do a whole lot better by celebrating our uniqueness and allowing that person the wonderful gift of not having our cares in their world. does it make that person a bad friend? an evil force? unsympathetic? uncaring?

heck no. it makes us and that person human. what’s more? four gold stars and smiley face stickers for us for giving everyone, ourselves included, the few steps back to be OK with the perspective that we lack perspective. that’s better than nothing.

just sayin.’

you know the phrase, “put me out of my misery”? i’ve adapted it to “put me out of their misery.” it works too and it’s not selfish, it’s simply choosing yourself.

thank you.

Yosemite Sammin’ over Fragal Ratzen Switsrigribin Science


I have attempted to give up swearing and sarcasm, two of my most favorite and go-to incongruent messaging techniques, for the season of Lent.  Over the years, I have developed an affinity for my favorite antagonist, Looney Tunes’ famous, red-haired, rootin-tootinest, six-gun shootin’est, Hessian with Aggressionist Yosemite Sam and his amazing ability not to swear but get it all out anyway.

I pay homage to Sam’s dialect tonight . . .

On January 12, Thing 2 was assigned (along with all his classmates) the frutstikriken science packet for tomorrow night’s (February 28) science and math expo at school.

He turned in his packet, which announced his project: “Effect of a Slope on an Object” the title of which I find utterly untenable. Being a writer, I absolutely resent the passive voice. Why can’t it be blistrikriken called “How a Slope Effects Objects” or “Things that Roll Down a Slope” or “Here’s What Happens to a Marble on Mini Playground Slide”?

Passive voice notwithstanding, the last yours truly heard about this kwazteriken project was January 13th.

On the walk to school this morning in the mid-winter sunlight and beneath the barren Snow White-scary trees, I witnessed other children ambling along with their massive tri-fold cardboard science presentations.  Some couldn’t see around the edges of their projects, some presentations were perched atop younger siblings’ strollers and others still were shuttled by their devoted mothers.

We didn’t verstigrobitzhave one.

“Looks like everyone has something to bring in to school today; lots of kids in your grade, too and older kids too…” (I knew what it was, but I REFUSED, frammit, to utter the drastifregitz words “Science Project.”)

“Uh, yeah. I decided not to do one. I don’t have to; so I chose not to,” Thing 2 confidently declared.

Crickets.  Do not grind teeth. Do not grind teeth.

Then Thing 3 (who is 8) said, in his best Commissioner Gordon voice, “Hey, Dono, it looks like you don’t have a science project.  The Expo is tomorrow, where’s your work?” Nothing gets past Thing 3.  I mean, nothing.  The kid is sharp as a laser-guided, diamond-studded titanium tack.  He built the Lego set of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water” for seven hours nonstop on Boxing Day, I thought we were going to have to hook him up to an IV for sustenance.

Again, Thing 2 said, “It’s cool; I don’t need to bring one in.”

Crickets from me, who has taken on the name, “Mominator” today.

The most recently I’ve heard about this project was about 45 seconds ago after I stomped my feet up the stairs in utter arghnitshaquin disgust about the entire grazifrakin situation.

Why? Because all of a sudden, Thing 2 grew a brastinagitz conscience.  “My teacher’s gonna be mad uh-uh-uh at me… I mean, *sniffle snarf* she is already. I … uh uh uh … I uh uh uh, she’s *gaspy sniffle* alreadddddydisAPPOINtedddddd.”

Well shatifrakin cry me a dritsagribin river.

He’s down there now, in the playroom doing his project.  The Spouse is helping him.  I refused.  What I couldn’t believe is that I caught just a little guff for helping Thing 1 when he needed assistance with a project a few years ago and I quickly growled, “I helped him because all he tristawrakin needed was fritzerbrickin assistance in coloring the pictures he drew that would go along with the quistanitzin content he created and assembled for his project.  He was almost fisterikrigen finished.  And he’d been strizerwrikin working on it for at least a week…”

I was left to myself.

It’s twikstribrikin quiet in here.

Thank you.

Law of Diminishing Returns


Everyone who has a goal exerts an effort toward achieving that goal.  Typical of overachievers (or hardheads), they press on even more.  As a culture, we are told that with greater effort, tenacity and perseverance results will come abundantly.  “Work is its own greatest reward.”

The Law of Diminishing Returns states otherwise.  The law states that with increased and sustained effort toward a goal, the return will actually decline.  We see this in athletics: overtraining can result in strained ligaments, torn muscles, increased irritability, disrupted sleep and joint pain.  Run too hard too often and too long and you’re not gonna be running much at all very soon. 

Consider my beloved yoga. I recently read that too much yoga-inspired meditating can slow the metabolism and counteract any muscle building the work can impart.  Obviously taking a pose beyond what our bodies can withstand can cause injury and clearly issues with inversions (headstands, backbends and similar poses) can royally mess up the spine.  Would you rather unwind or unravel?

The Law of Diminishing Returns reigns in personal relationships and dynamics: stalkers go to prison.  

All too often, all that pushing, working, believing, and wishing will be the undoing of the effort. Tenacity sometimes can kick your own ass.

Take Thing 2 (11) for example. This evening, he wanted to go outside after dinner to play and we said no because it was too cold, too dark and very windy outside. As I type, I can hear the winds, they are gusting at about 35 mph.  Our neighborhood has a lot of old trees with brittle branches and that is that.  We have learned over the years to head him off at the pass: to offer the reasons and conditions for our decision before he has a chance to whine, “But whhhhy?” I said no.  Not two minutes later, he asks again, but in this way, “So you don’t want me to go out after dinner?” And we both said no.

Thing 2: “I’m asking DAD. So DAD, you don’t want me to go out after dinner?”

Dad:  [I love this]: “What did your mother say?”

Thing 2: “I’m asking you. Can-I-go-out-side-af-ter-din-ner?”

Dad: “Again, I ask you, what did your mother say? She said ‘no,’ right?”

Thing 2: “Yes, but I want to know what you say, Dad.”

Dad: “If your mother says ‘no’ then I say ‘no’ and that’s it.”

. . . . . . . . . . Kiss of death:

Thing 2: “Guuuuh … huff.  But I waaaaant toooooooo…”

Dad: “You’re about to lose playing outside tomorrow.  Now sit down and eat.

That is a prime example of the Law of Diminishing Returns.

For all of us, Thing 2 included, our id (the wah-wah baby in us) is the voice that says go ahead, keep trying harder, ask again, ask louder, get what you want, go faster, push again.  We like that voice because we want to be rewarded with bigger, better, stronger, faster, richer, smarter — because why? Because we know best.  We know that our goal is the best goal.  Oh, and because when you get what you want, you’ll be a different, a stand-out; you’ll be NOTICED.

Bobby Brady tried it when he wanted to be taller: he used the backyard swing set to stretch himself so he’d grow a couple inches to impress a girl.  It didn’t work.

So if we have the id, what about the other voice? The super ego, the rational one, the one that says, “give it time and it will work out.”  “Don’t overdo, you might get overdone.”  In most first-world nations we push that annoying, nasaly, Felix Unger voice off the nearest cliff.  Surely our super ego or even our intuition can’t be right.  Intuition? That’s so … Fiji and woo-woo.  In our world of watching a movie on our phones while waiting in line at a store or paying a premium to block access to WiFi at hotels and resorts, acting with our intuitive intelligence doesn’t always fly.  If there’s no app for that, we don’t want it. Go Go GO!


Quite often tenacity works and it’s great: you study hard and you get a good grade.  You work long hours and your boss gives you a raise.  You watch what you eat, exercise with care and you lose weight and gain energy.  You show kindness and patience to a new friend and you are rewarded with a solid relationship.  It’s good.

How can our tenacity kick our asses? Well, when we push the boundaries sometimes. Duh. No, I mean if we involve other people, tenacity can backfire. For example: What about the partner, the child, the friend who continually implores an addict to change his or her behavior?  It’s at moments like this when tenacity has become our enemy. 

Consider the popular phrase, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It dovetails beautifully for someone who loves someone else so much that he or she loses his or her self in their beloved’s problems: the partner nags, pushes, reads, researches, hides, distracts, connives, plans, schemes, dreams and wishes, tries again and never gives up thinking or hoping that things will change.  And guess what?  The addict does almost exactly the same thing, but just in the opposite direction: hides, schemes, lies, steals, distracts and dreams that things will stay the same but that the other person will change. 


I was in a strained and significant relationship where I wanted to thank someone for something.  I didn’t want to let that person think that I didn’t appreciate their efforts despite any challenges in the relationship. I was in a good place emotionally and so I started to write a letter of gratitude and appreciation and unfortunately, it morphed into a place where I apologized for any strain I had placed on things but my apology wasn’t perfect.  I couldn’t look away from the bright and shiny trophy that I felt we both deserved if we owned our parts in the challenges.  It was at this point that things went a little pear-shaped but they reformed before the end of the letter.  The letter was never sent because I realized that it wasn’t pure and isolated.  Despite the fact that I’d printed the letter, folded it, put it in an envelope, addressed it, sealed it and put a stamp on it and walked it to my outgoing mailbox, I realized several hours later that I wasn’t ready to send it.  Even with all of my best intentions, and all those letter-closing actions I knew I had created a back-handed compliment and I had twisted and contorted my way around the communication to sincerely thank the person but also suggest, “by the way, you’re welcome for my putting up with all your manipulative crap…” which wasn’t altogether fair.

So I told my therapist about that attempt.  She said it was a noble idea but she was glad I pulled the letter out of the mailbox.  She knows I’m a word freak and that I shroud my emotions under my intellect, it’s a protective mechanism.  She gave me homework.  She said, “Instead of sending that letter of gratitude to your person, I want you to come up with an appreciation of yourself.  I want you to thank yourself.”

I said, “You want me to thank myself?! Well THANK YOU!” and I sprang up from my seat on the couch, grabbed her box of tissues and beaned her with it.  Gave her a shiner.  Then she called security and had me arrested. 

No, actually we didn’t do that.  I sat on the couch and festered.  I didn’t like this assignment because after mostly being on the couch for a few years, I knew that where we she was taking me was not Dairy Queen.  It was going to be a mahogany-paneled library in my mind where great thinkers thought in leather chairs and considered great things.  I had to do some work.  “Ok, I’ll thank myself.  This is not as easy as it sounds, y’know.” And you know what she said? She said, “I know. Good.”

So naturally, it had to be something major. I was lost.  After a couple days of head-scratching, I went to the most sagacious place I knew: Facebook. I posted my status, “If you were going to thank yourself for something, what would it be?” and I got some answers that were good, but not right for me.  They were lovely reasons, but they were extrinsic.  I needed to go deep, down the sidelines and turn to receive a great pass and take it in for a home run.  (I don’t watch much hockey.)

After the Facbook consult, I continued on.  I didn’t forget about the assignment and I stayed on task, driven to distraction and the only word I could come up with, for myself when I considered all of my life and the story I had created in it was “TENACITY.”  I laughed at the irony of how I’d finally arrived at it.  I never gave up.

So all chest-puffy and feathers fluffed I marched in to my therapist’s office about a week later and plopped on the couch. 

“I know why I’d thank myself.  I figured it out.  It took me a while, but I did it and it makes perfect sense and it’s the most appropriate and good reason: I thank myself for my tenacity.  For never giving up.  For always swinging and putting in the good effort and for always believing things could happen and get better and that good times were just around the corner.  I love that about myself.  And that tenacity has made me a good mom and a good friend and a good person.”

My therapist has this cute mouth that reminds me of a turtle: right at the center of the upper lip she has a delicate dip and she has a sincere smile.  Her smile did not belie her plan:  she had me.  And up went an eyebrow and down went the pen on to her notepad and as clear as the sky on a crisp fall day, she said, “Great. Tenacity is a noble quality and it has been good to your children and your friends and your family and the PTA and community, but has it really been good to YOU?”

My head tilted, my eyes locked and drilled, my neck unrolled and I said,  “Urruh?” I felt I looked like my (incredibly gorgeous and talented) dog when he’s watching a squirrel on our front stoop through our storm door and he Can’t! Reach! The! Squirrel!  “Urruh? Of course tenacity has been good to me.  Pish posh.  I’m there!  I did it.  I thanked myself! Tenacity is good; you agreed. Right? I mean, since when is optimism and perseverance a bad thing? Since when is commitment and never throwing in the towel . . .  and never quitting . . . and believing a . . . better day is  . . . just around . . . the . . . cor—  ner. . . a bad . . . idea?  Oh  . . . . . . . . . . shit.” 

And from across the coffee table, my therapist scribbled, scribbled, scritched, scratched, nodded, nodded, “mm-hmm”-d and nodded …  “And so when has tenacity been unkind to you?” she asked from her notepad.

“It’s been unkind to me and a foolish idea when the goal is out of my control.  It’s a bad idea when it’s clearly not gonna happen.  It’s a bad idea when the other factors don’t align; when the other person is out to lunch, when the other players are on a different field, playing a different sport, or are on the . . .   worse: playing for the opposite team.”


That is when tenacity is bad. That is when the law of diminishing returns becomes your best friend: when you realize that what you’ve been doing, pushing, believing, pursuing, idealizing, praying for and dreaming about is simply never going to happen. 

Does that mean your goal, your ideal is absurd? Not in a vacuum, no.  Say you have a situation that is truly wrong: a friend who is unfaithful to its spouse.  You disagree with the infidelity; you lecture, you listen, you engage, you debate, you defend and you hold your ground: that infidelity is wrong.  The thing here isn’t whether your goal of honorable behavior is bad or good (it’s good). The thing is that your tenacity, your moxie will be your undoing.  Your friend might not give a patoot if you are right or wrong; afterall, the id and its drives motivate that person and your id and probably super ego are what are motivating you to fight for truth and justice.  But it’s a waste of your time because it’s not your battle.

So while tenacity is great, sometimes giving up is better.  Hanging on to wishes, ideals, goals, hopes and dreams that you can never realize for someone or something else is effort, energy and time you will never get back.  And that, sports fans, is a bummer.

So be tenacious about yourself by paying attention to the Law of Diminishing Returns, for it comes down always at the right time and its judgment is flawless. Having my tenacity turned on its head is the most liberating thing that could have ever happened to me.

Thank you. 


ps – i wrote this in Word, that’s why my I’s are capitalized. a’hem.  :o}

the eccentric aunt


every large family has a beloved stand-out, a favorite. a person who laughs the loudest, wears the biggest hats, dons the most colorful clothes and knows all the famous show tunes. the larger the family, the greater the sharing of this individual, or rather the greater the sharing by this individual of his or her exhibitionism.

i’m irish and i’m guessing my parents would’ve had more kids if biology allowed but there are just the three kids in my immediate family (or as the shrinks call it, “my family of origin”). i’ve got at least 20 cousins. want a funky ancestry story? i’ve got one: my great grandfather’s (tony) first wife (sarah) died around 40 of typhus after returning from a trip to ireland. she left behind four daughters, one of whom was my grandmother (she lived ’til her almost 90s) and tony. after sarah died, tony sent word back to ireland and married delia, sarah’s niece, who then became my grandmother’s her stepmother. yes, you read right. this was the early 1900s: my great-grandfather married his late wife’s (my great-grandmother’s) niece and they went on to have at least six kids. so my mom’s uncle is also her 2nd cousin once removed? and his daughter, my cousin whom i consider to be like a sister to me is my aunt-cousin. it’s ok. you don’t have to care any more about that.

that story and all its trappings should satisfy the requirement for at least one eccentric aunt in the entire clan, right?

so given the ‘beloved stand-out’ definition from above, in all my family’s bloodlines, we indeed have the aunt, a woman who is the oldest and who is a grandmother, thus making her the reigning Grande Damme or more accurately in this case, the femme du festive, the eccentric woman all the cousins enjoy. “elder stateswoman” doesn’t apply because in this particular scheme, our person has never really been a conformist; you wouldn’t go to her to settle a disagreement. her  irish heritage dictates that we don’t settle disagreements, we deny them. just go to bed; it will all be ok in the morning.

judging by the numbers in my family and the fact that my great-step-grandmother-aunt had at least four more girls, one of whom had at least four daughters you’d think that the odds of that the stand-out eccentric aunt could be one of maybe six to eight living women . . .

and that the odds would be that i’d get to enjoy an eccentric aunt.

well, no. this eccentric aunt for the cousins is my mother, whom i love and whom my cousins and her step-uncle & aunt -cousins love and admire. there’s a difference: you can love someone without admiring them. when you love someone, you just do and you allow them to be who they are even if you wish it were different. one of my favorite current writers, nora ephron, wrote a story in the 10/11/10 New Yorker and in it, she had this wondrous clip about her own aging parents, flaws and all, “Still, it made me sad. You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people you wish they were or back into the people they used to be. But they’re never going to. And even though you know they’re never going to, you still hope they will.”

so i waver between admire and love. when you admire someone, you sorta really dig that person and you want to be like that person or at that you least get that person. my lot is no different from other women i know: they love their moms, but they don’t want to be just like their moms.
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as we’ve grown older my cousins have come to love and adore my mother’s unpredictable, larger-than-life, “Auntie Mame” ways and vagaries. give her a ukelele and she’s off to find a raccoon coat and a large feathered hat for the boat races. show her a piano and she’ll figure out how to play almost any Gershwin tune by ear. i, in return found myself gravitating to my aunt’s solid natures, their gentle humor, their reliable less-showy dispositions and the fact they always served a vegetable with dinner.

my mother has aged considerably in just the past few years and has several health concerns and this makes me sad. she hasn’t been up to the summer house in canada since 2010 and her travels with my dad are restricted by her medical requirements. just when i’m on the brink of appreciating her for the gifts she shares with my cousin-world and just when i’m ready to accept her for who she is and denounce my übercoolness, her health rapidly declines. it’s complicated; the whole damn scene is complicated, but this dynamic is especially complicated and it hurts.

an important family event is on the horizon in a few weeks and i’m hopeful my mom will be able to travel to it, but i’m also curdling up inside because knowing her, she may able to travel to it and then she’ll sing. like i said, it’s complicated. but it needn’t be and it’s up to me.

in households all over the world, when teenagers are sulking in their rooms, listening to loud obnoxious music, boasting questionable hairstyles and wearing clothes that announce their “up yours” sentiment, i too was in one where the styles were different, the attitude was unique and the music was imported, obnoxious, loud and sounded like cars crashing into wailing firetrucks or simply whaling ships crashing into the moon.

“omigawdwouldyouturnoffthatgodforsakencaterwauling?!” STOMP STOMP STOMP . . .  “itsoundslikesomeoneisinmortalpain!” BANG BANG BANG! “ohjeeezusjustturnitoff!” . . . “ican’ttakeit–it’shorriblenoise;thosepeoplearehurtingeachother!” . . . “please!fortheloveofpete… i’llcleanmyroom,i’llwalkthedog!”

that’s right. “i’ll clean my room, i’ll walk the dog!”

the loud, cacophonous, injurious, scream/singing “music” was always someathingaloudandinainitaliano and the performer: the famous operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso. if it wasn’t Caruso it was Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess or the unbearable (let’s remember, i’m the kid here) Judy Garland singing the soundtrack from “Meet Me In St. Louis.” and that chick had a daughter.

on any given saturday morning in my big victorian home with wooden walls, wooden floors, 8′ high windows and plaster ceilings (get it, acoustics) the radios were coordinated for an in-home, “this one goes to eleven,” volume-beyond-the-safe-point broadcast of “Mobil Oil Presents: Live from the Met,” the free weekly classical music concert. during these concerts, any self-respecting screeching, howling, vibrato-abusing tenors, sopranos, baritones or whatever were amplified and would take our windows, mirrors, picture frames, buffet cabinets, martini glasses and measuring cups to the verge of universal shattering. this went on for years.

i wonder if my parents wanted to inspire us to run away when we were in elementary school.

it was never The Rolling Stones or The Cars or geez, The Four Tops or The Spinners or Neil Diamond. top-40 tunes or music performed by people who were still alive was seldom heard outside us kids’ bedroom doors. i used to listen to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” or The Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night” on my Raggedy Anne record player until the grooves cut through the vinyl. it dawns on me now that hearing all my parents’ incredibly annoying music at extra-strength decibels turned me into a song-repeater / abuser. if i like a song, i latch on, baby until it is flat, panting, begging for a drink and translated into 40 languages: “you’re done being played when I say you’re done!” i also suspect it’s why i have been known to routinely dismiss a catchy song based solely on the lyrics. Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” might be great to dance to, but wtf is going on as far as those lyrics are concerned?

so my mom is the eccentric auntie. if she makes it to this important event i sincerely hope she will summon the strength to belt out her favorite, “It Had to Be You” from her little wheelchair. i pledge i will not run and hide under a table with my hands covering my ears. but if she gets a ukelele, you’ll find me in the coat-check closet ransacking it for any raccoon coat i can find. and then i’ll bring it to her.

thank you.