Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How My Mother Ruined My Life (Part 3 Of 7,000,000,000)

If I have a twisted, awful sense of humour (I don't, but occasional, misinformed people THINK I do), then the blame lies solely at the feet of my mother. Please talk to her about it.

My mom is hysterical. She is quick to laugh, and when something strikes her as funny, she will giggle about it for years. I can still bring her to near tears just by MENTIONING the scene with the bracelet in Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin's "Big Business". No joke. Those of you who know her should try it. I think it makes her pee.

Lest anyone think the reason I love to publicly humiliate my family is that I am a cruel and unjust person, it is not. It is because I have been trained and conditioned my entire life to do so.

Remember how, when you were sixteen, your entire family was awful and they all looked funny and said stupid things? And you wanted nothing more than for them to fall off the edge of the planet so you could go live in a dorm like one of the cast of 'Facts of Life'? Most parents are bothered by this snotty attitude in their teenagers. My own mother saw it as a challenge.

I was in the line up at the Bank of Montreal one day (remember back when your McJob paid you by actual, physical paper cheque and you had to give it to an actual, physical human so they could put it in your account and you would then withdraw ten dollars in cash in order to pay your $4 to get into Nightmare on Elm Street? I miss those days.)

(No, I don't. I'm lazy. I like these days.)

(Except the part about the $4 movie. I miss THOSE days.)....

Anyway. The lineup.

There I was, all dressed up in my acid-washed, 20-inch waist Bluenotes, my perfectly fitted baggy Cotton Ginny sweatshirt (with matching scrunch socks, thank you), hair tortuously teased, hairsprayed bangs standing straight up from my skull (then flopping over in an effortless (HAH!) feather), hoping for all the world that the other people in the bank had noticed my flawless Cover Girl skin and smelled my Body Shop strawberry  perfume oil and wished they could be just like me; when in came my sister.

Mom had driven me to the bank, and my sister had come with her for some reason or another. Mom had been in a giddy mood all afternoon and I should have known that to leave her in the car was to invite disaster.

My sister came flying in through the doors of the bank, dressed in what she and mom had decided was the perfect foil to my anal-retentive, obsessively planned preppie outfit.

The bright pink plastic rain bonnet (freshly yanked out of the glove box JUST for this purpose) fitted her head perfectly, bow knotted at a jaunty angle under her chin.

The sunglasses fit her face to a T, shading not only her eyes, but both sides of her head (with those giant old-lady-sunglasses-side panels). The sun would not blind her ears today, no sir!

Her shirt was inside out.

She was dancing.

She was jingling about 300 cents in pennies in her hands, and shrieking at the top of her lungs,

"Mommy says if I ask nicely, you will put all my money in the bank!!!!!!!!! Will you? Will you? Will you? Will you? Will you?Will you Willyouwillyouwillyouwillyou????? If you want, I can go out and find some more under the car seat! Then you can buy that expensive acne cream!!!!"

I died. Every customer in the bank burst out into hysterical laughter, and the rotten 14-year old skipped (yes, REALLY skipped) out the door, cackling with glee, leaving me standing in the bank, wallowing in my humiliation, seething.

My mother paid her $5 to do it.

I did my banking and went back out to the car. Mom was hysterical, tears literally STREAMING down her face. She was laughing so hard she was no longer producing noise, just a strangled wheeze. It took her 10 minutes to be able to drive again. After a while, I couldn't help but join in. Come on. That's just funny. I would have loved to have seen the look on my face.

To this day, I have the rare, wonderful ability to laugh at myself. It's a great thing to be able to do. It means I can enjoy life, and see the lighter side of nearly every situation (including some for which there is no appropriate lighter side. I apologise a lot for those ones.). It's probably the greatest single thing my mother instilled in me.

So, my sweet children, the next time I force you to dance with me at a school dance, or tell an entire wedding party the story of you peeing on your auntie's new carpet, remember this:

Every time I make you blush, you are becoming a better person. I do it all for you.

And if you believe that, I have a rain bonnet I want to sell you...

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