I consider it a testament to my devotion to keep things lighthearted that whenever I lack for a topic I don’t reflexively write about my mother.
She’s 79, relies on me for food, finance, primary care and suffers from increasing dementia that, despite what the doctors contend, I’m convinced is catchy.
Her crazy is making me crazy.
For instance, today I’m resisting writing about the necessity of sitting in on her check-up yesterday and all the skin-crawling intimacies that exposed.
I could write about how every time the doctor suggested life-prolonging interventions I showed admirable restraint by not requesting immoral reversals.
Or I could write about how I miss the vibrant and witty woman who used to entertain her granddaughters with dramatic readings from the girly diaries from when she was 12.
And write about that all I one day may.
But first a word from our sponsors!
My trigger used to be hot pepper cheese. That happened after she called me and said she was desperate for me to bring her hot pepper cheese, which I promptly did, only to find scattered on her refrigerator shelves six pounds of hot pepper cheese.
So now I fly into a twitchy rage anytime I hear “hot pepper cheese,” something the host of recent Memorial Day party learned too late.
That was a year ago.
Today, I have more triggers than the gun shelves down at the Army & Navy store.
She recently called me at 10:30 p.m. -- a time when the only phones that ring should be the ones answered by 911 emergency dispatchers -- and said she desperately needed some Tyson Honey-Baked Extra Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders.
Setting aside that she was confusing wants with needs, the brand specificity left me rattled.
She lives an hour away. I guess in her mind the solution to this crisis was for me to change from my jammies into something more appropriate -- my Superman costume? -- and fly to the grocery store and then to her place while she pre-heated the oven.
But even if I was capable of traveling faster than a speeding bullet, it takes me about an hour standing before the frozen food displays to find Tyson Honey-Baked Extra Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders.
Hell, it takes me an hour to write Tyson Honey-Baked Extra Crispy Breaded Chicken Tenders on the grocery list.
The specificity of her needs is making me insane. I don't know what I'd do if it wasn't for my nightly glass of Wild Turkey 101 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
I understand heirloom brand loyalty to things like Chevrolets, but frozen chicken?
She never calls and says she’s running low on toilet paper. It’s always, “Oh, I need you to bring me some Charmin Ultra Strong MegaRoll with the Roll Fit Guarantee!”
I guess I should be happy she doesn’t include the Spanish translations printed on the clear packaging so our Hispanic friends will comprende they’re buying TP and not some exotic white sandpaper.
It doesn’t help that when I get there and open the closet I find she has enough Charmin Ultra Strong MegaRoll with the Roll Fit Guarantee to service the crew of a U.S. Navy destroyer during a six-month tour of the South Pacific.
I know a good segment of this readership is right now saying, c’mon, she did all that for you when you were a baby. You’re just returning the favor.
The exchange isn’t at all fair.
We care for children with the hope that they will eventually prosper, exchange loving sentiments with us and will one day finally just leave us the hell alone.
Our species will terminate if one day the trajectory of child-raising reverses and instead of children growing less dependent on us, they do the opposite and with each passing year become more so.
Because we all dread the day when out of necessity we are all forced to do more with Charmin Ultra Strong MegaRoll with the Roll Fit Guarantee than just purchase the stuff.