In no conceivable way can I say that my mother is the stereotypical nagging mother. However, mothers worldwide should condone my mother for developing a new form of nagging that will revolutionize modern familial desire as we know it.
My mother—a bright, idealistic, second-generation Mexican-American woman with a deep familial loyalty and a desire for her children and grandchildren to better their lives by any means necessary—has achieved nirvana in nagging.
She has mastered the art of nagging me without saying a damn word.
I no longer live at home, and I barely see my mother and father—I only make the trip back to Adrian for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the off-chance that someone I care about dies. However, even though forty miles of space and an hour of time separate my mother and me, I can never get her out of my head.
I cannot talk to an attractive girl in a bar without thinking of what my mother would think of her; in fact, I can’t even order a drink at a bar without hearing my mother’s voice in my head, asking why I would order something like that and calling me an alcoholic. I can’t go to the grocery store without hearing my mother’s voice in my head, asking why I have to spend the extra sixty-two cents on the organic eggs instead of the regular eggs, which she calls “just as good.”
How my mother came to achieve this level of maternal perfection, I will never know—nor do I care to know. Whatever caused my mother to obtain an excruciating level of motherly smothering must have been painful, unholy, and partially demonic.
The best example I have of my mother’s staggering internal nagging began when I was sixteen: at the time, my mother was working as the Personal Assistant for the Prosecuting Attorney of Lenawee County. On a daily basis, my mother interacted with lawyers and saw all of the nice things that lawyers would buy and all of nice things that lawyers buy for their mothers. She would come home from work and remind me of such:
“You know, Irv [the prosecutor] bought his mom a Cadillac for Mother’s Day.”
How is a sixteen-year-old supposed to compete with that?
“Yeah? Well, I bet Irv didn’t write his mom a really nice poem for Mother’s Day!”
* * *
I was getting my hair cut the other day.
My stylist and I were talking about random things: What I’m planning on doing after graduation; what to do in Ann Arbor on the weekends; and how college students have to always to have themes for their parties. And she was laughing hysterically the entire time.
I was afraid she was going to snip off my ear because she was laughing so hard.
Finally, she managed to stop laughing long enough to say, “You’re really funny! You should go into stand-up comedy.”
I replied with the following:
“I can’t go into stand-up comedy because I don’t write anything down. I don’t keep track of the shit I say. Something just pisses me off or makes me self-conscious and I rant about it until something funny comes out of my mouth and people laugh.
“The only way that I can make it in comedy is if I were to take my mother on stage with me, have her stand at the side of the stage and start asking me why I don’t want to go to law school, and I’ll eventually get so neurotic about it that I’ll just go off and people will think it’s funny.”
At that point, I realized that my mother need not be present, because—due to her tremendous, goddess-like skill—her voice is forever on loop in my head.
I’ll be at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase next week.