Sunday, January 16, 2011

"For fun, we played on traintracks and chewed creosote like it was bubble gum, and I'm still alive."

My mother always gives good advice. It may not be the most politically correct way to phrase it, but she's usually correct. She tells good stories, too. Some of them so good that I can't post them here. But, when she's not pretending to listen to me with the occasional pointless, small, unnotable vents and rants (luckily, I know she's not listening because I hear the bling-blinging of Bejeweled on her Nintendo DSI), below is one of many garden-variety phone conversations. We don't get bored. I don't anyway. Maybe slightly offended because I'm a tree-hugger. But anyway, she's got valid points.

ma: "Y'know, I was watching something on tv while ago. We didn't have any of these chemicals floating around our bodies 50 years ago. None of them. It's terryifying. I'm serious. From plastics, from everything."
me: "I know. We're all turning into hot-house orchids. I know. I can attest to it."
ma: "Did you know that people are actually not vaccinating their kids these days? I'm not kidding. That's terrifying. For everyone. That is not good. Okay, I'm here to tell you, tree-hugging hippie people: You want polio? I'm serious. It ain't funny. They don't even know what it's like."
me: "Wait, gimme a second. I'm still busy being offended. I hug trees. Physically and literally."
ma: "I'm serious. Polio, rubella, whooping cough -- it's not funny. They're in for a world of trouble if they don't immunize their kids. I'm serious. It'll go epidemic. And, we didn't have autism and A.D.D. when I was little. Your kid didn't have A.D.D. It was just B.A.D."
me: "Hey, that's my line. That's the second time you've stolen that, second that I know of."
ma: "Well, I'm serious. This world is full of man-made, toxic chemicals. Honestly. It's scary."
me: "What's on QVC right now?"
ma: "Diamondelles."
me: "I just needed my RDA of irony. But you're right. It's the chemicals. I can't get around new carpet without getting a sore throat."
ma: "Oh, there's chemicals all in your clothes. Did you know that? In your clothes, yep."
me: "Thank you. I'll be curling up into a tight ball in my closet now. Naked, I suppose. Let's go back to illnesses when you were a kid. Measles, mumps ... "
ma: "I tried to get mumps from one of my friends once so I could stay home from school. Did I tell you that?"
me: "Yeah, you chewed her gum or something?"
ma: "I ate a LifeSaver she'd had in her mouth. So I wouldn't have to go to school. Nothin'."
me: "Let's hope. I can't even use an ATM without getting a cold if I'm not careful."
ma: "You know how they could tell if you had mumps back then?"
me: "No."
ma: "If you couldn't eat a pickle."
me: "What."
ma: "That's right. If you couldn't eat a pickle."
me: " ... what does that even mean? 'If you couldn't eat a pickle.' You can't just say something like that without an explanation."
ma: "Yep. If you couldn't eat a pickle, you had mumps."
me: "You mean if you couldn't chew and swallow a pickle -- "
ma: "I mean, if you couldn't eat a pickle without your mouth hurting, you had the mumps."
me: "You mean if your mouth exploded in pain when you tried to eat a pickle --"
ma: "Yes. If you could eat a pickle, you had to go to school."
me: "..."
ma: "Yep."
me: "You're just making all this up."
ma: "I'm not. It's true."
me: "Maybe pickles were toxic back then. And school."

Except for the part where I get called a tree-hugger, this is how we entertain ourselves on Friday night. It's not only addictive, it's infectious.

I love my ma. And hugging trees.