Spring Cleaning with Sissy Spacek

This happens every April, I feel like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. All she had to say was, “I’m not leaving until I have a good time,” but then she killed everybody, so she kind of had to leave. Oh yeah, Spoiler Alert – too late – I suck, especially because that’s not even the part that I relate to. It’s the part where she’s mildly on the verge of a nervous breakdown and shuts all the doors and turns the fire hoses on full blast.

Then she was thinking, “What do mean you’re not helping with clean up?” Now that’s my idea of getting people to step up. If I dressed up in a bloody gown, looked all crazy-eyed and hosed down the slackers, I bet my boys would put their dirty laundry in the hamper every – fucking – day.

Speaking of hoses, I’m doing some internal Spring cleaning as well, in the form of a juice detox. I know, sounds awful, right? It starts with The Last Infusion, and if this is a Jesus reference, then my husband is Mary Magdalene, as in he’s doing the detox with me. He’ll probably crucify me before it’s over because he can’t drink alcohol, or eat fun food and we start on his birthday of all days. That’s the kind of woman he married: prove your love by cleaning that liver!

I contemplated posting until after the treatment because anything can happen in the next 72 hours to steal that thunder: stepping in dog diarrhea, being flattened by a falling crane, waiting for an overzealous Jehovah’s Witness to go away or worst of all, epic fail. But I pictured the Sissy Spacek asking me, “What are you waiting for,” and stopped procrastinating.

Lately, the possibility of failure is a dread worse than being the target of a feces-flinging monkey. Of course, people encourage me to think positive, but I reason that somebody has to fail just like somebody has to be a “flying poo” victim. It’s just the law of chance, or Murphy’s monkey, or my incessant volunteering – whatever. Like most bloggers, if shit happens – there’s something to write about. I’m not Tom Petty, but even the losers get lucky sometimes.

Regardless of the outcome, whether it’s the treatment, the detox, or even new Alien movie, I’ve decided I’m going to roast in the sun this summer. I don’t care if I get as dark as Wesley Snipes – I’m going to take Blade’s advice and “Say No to sunblock” because I hate shellacking myself with that funky stuff. I plan on toting the free umbrella some jewelry store gave me, even though it makes me look like Chinese Mary Poppins. Perhaps you deem that statement as racist because I’m not Chinese but excuse you, the umbrella is.

Ever since I read about heat therapy for cancer, I’ve been wanting to roast myself like a turkey. Then my son had a pet-sitting gig with a Bearded Dragon and when I saw her in her tank, baking under the lamps, I just wanted to shrink myself and join that crazy looking lizard on her hot rock. My son and my husband, the geniuses that they are, decided to dump 20 live crickets in the tank and watch the lizard get all Godzilla-like. Eventually, she pooped in the tank because that’s what happens when your buffet bounces around while you eat it.

Who’s gonna clean that up?

Bearded Sissy Spacek.

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A Pain in the Journal

My tongue hurts. When I stretch it out as far as it will go, that little connecting part on the bottom hurts like John Cena’s mom. I assume it’s blood poisoning because the only other time it hurt this much was when I was partying like it was 1999. It was bourbon, not tequimo – and it was 2015. Who’d thought George Orwell, David Bowie and Prince would be so off?

I wondered if I should tell my doctor. It was his idea that I keep a journal to record every pain, mutation, and morphing that occurs. At my check up, I was prepared to say, “my tongue kills me when I do this”, while I stuck my tongue out, but my youngest son has taken to talking like that normally and it annoys the shit out of me. It’s no surprise he got it off an “Annoying Orange” Youtube video because that’s what he does – watch highly irritable shenanigans and copies them until you’re ready to strangle fruit.

Thank goodness I have the juicer to take out my aggression on produce in a pro-active manner.

So instead, I mentioned to the doctor that my fingertips were going bald. Added to my depleting hair, eczema is one of those “expected” side effects. Not only is it painful, but my stupid iPhone won’t recognize my thumb’s touch ID anymore. I get a text and wind up cursing my phone out when all I have to do is punch in the four numbers that escaped my memory when I’m feeling like the Hulk.

The doc tells me to use cream – not lotion, for my eczema. For some reason, I am baffled by his recommendation. It’s because I assumed that cream comes in a tub – like cold cream – the stuff every child has tasted at one point because it looks – so – edible. I’m thinking, where the heck does one find hand cream?! Then I discovered that hand cream comes in regular tube dispensers and apparently, I already had some.

I know – where have I been, right?

Obviously, I don’t read the labels thoroughly. Although lately, I couldn’t even if I tried because that’s another casualty: vision. You’d think with the gallons of carrot juice I’ve been consuming, my vision would improve. BUT NOooooo. Blurred vision is yet another side effect and I’m not Nell Carter or anything but GIMME A BREAK. Like, why can’t I be riding the subway with my chemo-fanny pack and lo’ and behold, Keanu Reeves gets up and offers me his seat? Why can’t that kind of thing happen? Because in reality, nobody gives a seat to a person with a fanny pack – not even Keanu. It’s just unfathomable. Fanny packs are so….80’s.

Speaking of 80’s, I’ve been contemplating wearing a beret for the spring. Yes – a beret. And MC Hammer pants. With an Annie Lenox pixie cut. Of course, back in the day, a pixie cut meant “possible lesbian” and that’s where the pants come in to say, “definite crazy-ass.” Actually, I wouldn’t even know where to find MC Hammer pants, much less know what tops even go with them. Come to think of it, I remember thinking they looked like giant sagging diapers if you weren’t dancing like an Egyptian in them…yeah, I’ll just stick with the beret idea.

And this is probably why the doctor hasn’t asked to actually see this “Journal of Pain” even though he was adamant about me keeping one. Who can blame him – we’re all guilty of that at some point in our life: suggesting people do this or that and feeling dumbfounded that the person was clueless-er than you to take your advice seriously. It makes you realize that there are bigger losers than yourself out there and that makes you feel happy and guilty for feeling happy at the same time…but at least that means there’s a little room to abuse some sort of substance – y’know, just to even the playing ground.

In all honesty, writing a chronicle about pain was rather a relief. Perhaps that’s what the good doctor intended. Because if I ever forget how scary it was to be unable to fart, then surviving that scare becomes meaningless and the possibility of it happening again becomes inevitable. Pain is a formidable teacher. And that’s really hard to say with your tongue sticking out between your teeth.

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Infusion Number Eight

It’s looking like Chemo is yet another thing that drains brains. With the brain cells I have left, I don’t recall if the doctor ever said it would be a side effect, but lately, I’ve been doing some pretty fucked up shit. For instance, I could not calculate 73 cents to save my life. I poured the change into my hand, fished out two quarters, two dimes, and just stared at the nickels and pennies – stumped. I gave up and held out the lot to the cashier and asked her to do the math. She got kind of pissed her off – probably didn’t have a clue herself.

It reminded me of this time when I was about ten, a kid named Frankie Lupo asked aloud, “I have a quarter and I have a dime, how much more do I need to make fifty cents?” Now, if Frankie was six or seven, I’d kind of understand, but he was thirteen. What was even sadder, nobody from his group of morons could answer him correctly. By the way, that’s his real name – I should Google him but I won’t – watch he turned out to be Greenspan’s number cruncher or something.

So you see what I mean about the toxicity affecting my thoughts. I can’t even stay on one subject for a single paragraph.

Originally, this post was supposed to happen at the halfway point of therapy. That would’ve been infusion number six. Yes, two cycles ago. Truthfully, it kicked my ass. The seventh was even worse. I couldn’t write about it without being super stabby, so I took it out on my husband instead. And the kitchen cabinet door, which I broke off and made him fix because it was either cabinet doors or his head that I was ready to rip off.

There are three probable causes to this brain-drain-psychosis-mode: the Chemotherapy, the medication that’s supposed to quell this maddening nausea and/or/most likely it’s my Miami Uterus. I think of it like a timeshare that’s only been rented twice and losing its market value. I can’t seem to fire the maid and tell her to stop changing the wallpaper every month, so she just – keeps – doing – it. And she’s been terribly erratic about it, like showing up two weeks late then showing up on time, sometimes doing a light job, sometimes doing a full out Spring cleaning. What kills me is, the doc said that my Miami Uterus should be shutting down during therapy, but obviously, nobody gave Uterus Maid the memo. Clearly, she hates me.

At infusion number eight, I must be in the category of Swamp Thing. Every once in a while, I detect a whiff of something strange and realize it’s me. I read about a guy who detoxed after chemo and his wife complained that he smelled like a corpse! Seriously, I have to try that. Anything that promises drawing gross stuff out of my body in the grossest way is just the cat’s meow. It’s like The Exorcist, for crying out loud – who could resist?

Yes, I did write “the cat’s meow” – because that’s how toxic monsters think. Small animals, Uterus Maids and ripping husband’s head off (I’m sorry, honey). Maybe I should consider trying that “medical” marijuana, huh.

For the record, I am adopting every natural cancer fighting regimen anyone bothers to tell me about. Chomping on apricot kernels, terrorizing fresh beets and carrots through a juicer mafia-style, popping vitamins as if they were prescribed by Michael Jackson’s doctor. But I know the real cure lies in the support I’m getting. Without the crazy bunch of friends and family telling me to get my ass in gear, I can honestly say I can take the next four infusions.

And turn into The Fly.

The Fly (1986)

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Need Some Help Here

I was searching for inspirational dinner music when my 10 year old requested Eminem.

Eminem?

Where did we go wrong?

It’s my husband’s fault.

He’s too forgiving when it comes to policing the quality of ethnically fused products that we don’t know much about like Rap music, Chi-Mex food, Keanu Reeves and Jello shots made by an adult-baby on Halloween.

Not only will he take Jello shots, he’ll insist – insist – that I do one or five of them, too.

Clearly, I should judge his parental judgements. After all, we had a 10 year old Wolverine and an eight year old Deadpool to bring home.

Ergo, I need some help here.

When the same 10 year old who requested Eminem dinner music, asked that I define the word “ergo,” my reply was that it was the same as therefore.

My example went, “The idiot wouldn’t stop his daredevil stunts, ergo, he wound up in the emergency room.”

Then he asked, “Does that mean he’s dead?”

“What? No – it means,”therefore, he’s in the emergency room!”

“Yeah, but is Ergo dead?”

Literally, my jaw dropped. As in, my mouth fell open – not as in, “Literally, I don’t know how to use the word literally.”

It occurred to me that one day – one of these days – I will take this boy of mine to Glasgow, Scotland. I’ll bet you, my bottom dollar, that he – full blooded Glaswegians – and my husband – will be in full fledged conversation.

They’ll completely understand each other.

Drink each other under the table, too.

And my head will (not) literally be spinning because I’m not Linda Blair, feeling I’ve spent the night with AWADDs (Aliens With A.D.D.) talking Scotch bubbles.

Ergo, this girl is still working on her career.

For the record, I did concede and told my 10 year old that Ergo was, indeed, dead.

His answer was, “Good. He sounds a lot like Samu.”

Need Some Help

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7 Costume Ideas for the Apathetic Halloweenster

My kids don’t get it – I hate Halloween. The memories I have of it are mostly…terrifying. Like that terrifyingly boring movie “Purge,” Halloween, in my time, meant dressing up in a costume enough to qualify for free candy – without being a clear target. The thugs, of course, wore their usual attire, to take off with your loot after they drenched you in raw eggs and Nair.

Like bachelor parties in Miami, bad things happen when you go all out on Halloween. Either you wake up with vague memories of doing jello shots with some serial killer or you realize the hard way that booze and prosthetic glue do not mix well.

That’s why simple is best – but not boring. This is New York, after all. Cat ears and a tail? A witch hat? Puh-leeze. People wear weirder stuff than that on any given day. Don’t look like a city mom wannabe!

Halloween is the one time, I wish I were a guy. If I were a middle-age rotund guy, I’d dress up like a woman every year. Contour my Moobs into a push up bra, flare skirt with boxer shorts showing off my hairy legs. Pumps. Red lipstick – and a tramp stamp.

I’d make my wife walk with me – no, have lunch with me – at the Thai restaurant on the corner of Queens Boulevard. Window seat.

But I’m not a guy – so it’s back to the drawing board.

Before kids, I could fit into outfits. Comic book characters. Bad ass women with guns, sneers and a belly button that wasn’t stretched into a smiley face. Now? Every accessory only emphasizes how tired I look.

Wigs give my eyes tremendous bags. Make up makes me resemble my dad and any outfit that’s not black, makes me seem like an emergency room escapee.

I stick with natural hair, dressed in black – no masks or black lipstick. Think, beer interference.

Oh yeah, and no boobs either. Wish I had those, too. If I had huge hooters, I’d tape a line of cotton across it, like one of those cocaine movies I can’t remember because I’ve never done coke. And I was probably hammered when I watched it – who makes movies about coke heads, anyway? You can’t understand them. Heroine addicts are way more fun to watch.

But back to the apathetic Halloweenster – my fifth grader is slowly becoming one. Compared to my half-assed costume ideas, his takes the slacker costume of the year. For the Halloween party, he was supposed to be Nick Fury of the Avengers. Since he rubbed off his goatee, he was to respond, “What’s in your wallet,” to the question, “Who are you supposed to be?”

To make matters worse, he lost his patch and because he was wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt, people asked if he was supposed to be the singer from Journey.

Yeah, I don’t get that either.

On Halloween, the school paraded around the neighborhood in full Halloween spirit – and he was just too cool for it. While it’s okay to wear a Captain America helmet playing the drums, he couldn’t understand that it means nothing on it’s own. And no, a blue striped polo shirt nowhere near resembles the Captain’s uniform. “So I’ll go as nothing!” He said.

“I got it,” said Daddy, “how about wear the school uniform and go as a student.”

Eventually, we got him to dress as street clothes Rocky Balboa: fedora, gold chain, leather jacket and the piece de resistance: a blue punchball.

“If anybody asks who you are,” I coached him, “just say, Yo! Adrian!

He contemplated practicing his line but the slacker in him chose this excuse: “I can’t do an Italian accent, mom – I’ll sound Japanese.”

To him that made sense. Like Iron Maiden Steve Perry.

My advice, get yourself a long black coat – one that flares like a cape. Dress in black. After that, it’s just a matter of accessories. Of course, you’ll be a villain but who wants to be a good guy – they all wear tights.

  1. Heart shaped eye patch & sword: Stayne (Alice in Wonderland)
  2.  Sunglasses and boots: Matrix
  3. Horns and British accent: Loki
  4. Short white wig and black nail polish: Roy Batty (Blade Runner)
  5. Vampire teeth and padded butt cheeks: Underworld
  6. Clown make up and a stuffed crow: Eric Draven
  7. Split ends and a glowing ball: Balthazar (Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
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17 Signs That You’re Crazy

Seriously, people – I could use the money. It’s not that we’re starving, but my boys – they think money grows on trees. Literally. They no longer believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny – but don’t be messin’ with their Money Tree. It’s out there somewhere – like my camera charger.

Thus, this post at content blogging because Legos are not free and neither are tap shoes. Or cheese for that matter.

17 signs that you’re crazy:

1) You eat when you’re bored: Technically, you should be doing laundry. Everybody has dirty laundry. Loads of it. But nobody likes to do it. So you avoid doing it by eating cheese and crackers. You sort your food but not whites and colors…and there it is. Laundry is racist. You’re crazy.

2) You forget your keys: In the car, in the house, in the office – doesn’t matter. Why’d you do that? Because you’re crazy.

3) You stubbed your pinky toe on an exercise dumbbell: That’s your body’s way of reminding you that you should be doing something with them. For the life of you, you can’t remember. Here’s a hint: put down that box of Ding Dongs and move that dumbbell out of the way, you crazy ass.

4) You called your mother for advice: Everybody knows that at your age, your mom is the only person in the world who will tell you the brutal truth. At any age, really – moms never sugar coat anything. They hate sugar. Well, the moms I know, anyway. Not that they won’t eat it themselves but they love depriving their kids of it. So yes, if mom got you depressed for giving you the cold hard facts about your character, just tell yourself it’s not true, you’re just crazy.

5) You bake and suck at it but still try to make cookies: The good news is, persistence is a good character trait. The bad news is, you’re wasting food – not to mention gas and electricity making inedible pieces of shit. I have two words: baking soda. Even though the recipe only calls for a tablespoon or four, doesn’t mean it’s optional. If you have friends who are really good at baking, then pilfer their stash. Everyone knows crazy people can’t bake.

6) You apologize to inanimate objects: Walls, trees, lamp posts and parking meters – it’s really their fault for existing. Stop apologizing, it’s just craziness.

7) You talk back to the news: Then again, you apologize to inanimate objects so, this is a given. It’s when the screen starts talking back that you – mi-i-i-i-i-ght wanna check yourself in.

8) You don’t understand bubble tea: And why should you? Imagine – a crazy person drinking bubbles. In tea, much less. If there’s gotta be bubbles in a drink, it should be grass flavored. Crazy people just do drugs. Right…crazy person?

9) You cry watching commercials: ASPCA, starving kids in Canada – Gatorade. Why you’re crying, nobody knows. You’re crazy.

10) You sing along to supermarket muzak: It must’ve been love, ’cause it’s over now. Only crazy people double shopping for chicken liver and kale chips with Karaoke.

11) You distrust anyone who wants to be your friend: After all, it takes one to know one – so chances are they’re crazier than you. The sane people are the ones who are always excusing themselves from you. They’ll say, “Oh, hey – good to see you. Gosh! I gotta run, my anus is calling me.”

12) You hear the phone ringing when it’s not: Okay, this could be resolved if you’d just change your ringer. If only there were a ring tone that shouted, “I’ll clean up for you!” or “Have a bag of money!” You’d never miss a call – or answer the phone when it wasn’t ringing and have people stare at you on the bus like – well, you’re crazy.

13) You think you’re lucky sometimes: There is no such thing as luck. Life is based on endowment. Tall, male, white-ish, with hair and a set of teeth that shows impeccable dental hygiene practice – they get first dibs. When you go all the way down the list, you’ll find your break. If you find yourself feeling lucky, look around for the other shoe before it lands on your crazy brain.

14) You stick with tradition: Did it ever occur to you that your great-great grandmother was bonkers? In her time, she didn’t have all the amenities society has now – for example: information. There is a difference between routine and tradition. Tradition is something that’s followed without knowing why – and that’s just plain crazy.

15) You don’t see life as a musical: But it is. The only reason we don’t break into song and dance numbers at the office is because of Local 802. There’s also the lack of really big fans to blow your hair back but as long as you have your tap shoes on, a musical number could break any moment. If you don’t see it, you must be crazy.

16) You have faith in sunscreen: It may keep you from smoldering but it does not work for vampires. Might do your craziness some good to get fried.

17) You find happiness in accidents: Because you may be crazy, but that’s why you’re happy. Have you ever met a happy control freak? Sometimes it’s better to be crazy than be the boss. If you are the boss and you’re crazy, think about the poor souls who work for you. They must be maniacs.

If you agree with any five of these signs, then indeed you are crazy. What you need to do now is see a bartender and ask for something special. Bring money with you but under no circumstances, should you offer the bartender sunscreen.

 

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The Boys of Summer

The air conditioner in our bedroom is a noisy piece of crap. Every time it kicked on, it woke me up. So, counting on a mild August night, I turned it off and hoped the fan setting was enough. In five minutes, the room was boiling. A far cry from the luxurious accommodation of our weekend in Philly. As I labored for sleep, I remembered walking past a woman on her cell phone saying, “Well, sure but it’s hot as fuck out here!”

The bed started to feel like a fresh pizza. Finally, my feet hit a cool spot that just might remain cool enough to drift back to sleep when the door creaked open.

“Mama?” Said a little voice.

“Go back to bed.” I said.

“My head hurts.”

“That’s ’cause you should be asleep.” I said, and groaned because the cool spot was now – hot.

“And I’m thirsty,” continued the little pecker-head, as he proceeded to climb into my bed.

My limbs were groggy as I ushered him out to the bathroom and when I turned on the light, I was astonished.

Samu must’ve grown three inches in his sleep!

Suddenly, I’m overcome by a wave of melancholia. Or terror. Either they’re growing overnight or it’s an invasion of the body snatchers. But I realize it’s really him and not an alien who busted out of an eggplant when he filled his cup with water – dumped it – filled it again – dumped it again – filled it again and took just two tiny sips.

“I don’t want summer vacation to be over,” he whimpered.

It hit me, too. “Yeah, we had a lot of fun this summer – didn’t we?”

My mind took a brief inventory: Track & Field, Golf, Baseball sleepover and let’s not forget sunburn. Nothing like walking the streets of Philly with Daddy looking like a leper.

Samu and I shuffled our way back to his bed. My steps just as heavy and sad as his. Our fun in the sun – was done.

For me, it was more than that. This summer just might be the last when my boys are “boys”. Next year, Zuki will likely be the same height as me. And Samu – should at least have a butt that’ll hold a pair of swim trunks bigger than 3T.

In the dark, I could hear his tears hit the pillow. I could tell he wanted to sing the theme song he created combining the “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings”. He’d been humming it all summer when he was sad – when he lost an eyeball for his Mixel, when the frog at the beach got plucked by a seagull.

But his big brother was snoring away. And, that kind of ruined it.

“How’s your head?” I asked as he held my hand.

He sighed deeply and answered, “I want to go back to the hotel in Philadelphia.”

I did, too. The air conditioner was quiet.

Boys of Summer

 

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Doing The Right Thing in Underpants

You know you’re in the right, when you’re in the minority. People hate the truth. They’ll ignore it rather than face it, even when it’s standing right in front of them, blocking their way forward. I had to sum this up for my boys after they watched “Lord of the Flies” recently.

They were profoundly affected by the story, they talked about it incessantly. They pondered why all the boys left the reasonable leadership of Ralph to follow the maniacal Jack and chalked it up to Jack being blond.

With that settled, they went on to discuss whether it was necessary – at all – to wear underwear if they were the only boys stranded on a deserted island.

Amazing what boys focus on.

Regardless what portion of the movie they happened to recall, they always went back to the camp fire dance in their underpants. I asked them if they saw a similarity in their own behavior, and they gawked. “No mom, we NEVER act like that,” they said.

Oh, really?

As soon as I said it was time to do their summer workbook, they flailed on the floor like fish out of water. They were kicking and screaming how stupid math and English were, after all who needs it anyway – if they had some pigs blood and ashes, they’d have marked their faces with war paint. In their organic cotton underwear.

Little savages.

Ironically, the summer workbook assignment for the day was to write a commercial about integrity.

“What is integrity?” Zuki asked.

“It’s doing the right thing, all the time – even when it’s not popular or fun. Even when you’re dancing around in your underpants.”

He was quiet for a while, which meant he was either thinking about it or he had imaginary flies buzzing in his head. Finally, he said, “Like Ralph and Piggy.”

At least he got it. Unfortunately, he also connected how those characters with integrity wound up dead or battered by the end of the movie – but what could I say. It’s not the Lego movie.

images

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Don’t Worry A Troubled Mind

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom

“Worry Wart” was my middle name. I was born to worry. As a matter of fact, worrying was my main reason to become a parent. Parenting, I thought, was the perfect excuse to worry for every little thing.

Worry if the baby’s healthy. Worry if the child gets hurt. Worry if they’ll make friends and do well in school. Worry if my worrying is borderline psychotic and thus raise a serial killer with an unoriginal Modus Operandi.

That would be lame. Not even book rights. Oh my God, so much to worry about and so little time!

But like sleep and quiet moments, I soon learned that there is really no time to worry with kids. Shit just happens – regardless.

So I learned how to prepare.

There’s a distinct difference between worry and preparation. True, preparation is pretty much taking precaution on nothing more than an assumption; but to worry was just – immature. To give into it, gets you nowhere and actions based on it brings nothing but trouble. Just the thing worry was trying to avoid.

Ask anyone what they’re worried about and basically what they want to say is, “I’m worried that we’re gonna die.”

I didn’t want to worry to the point of becoming one of those moms. You know, the ones who are like, “Life? Oh no, that’s too dangerous for my children and I’m far too busy for that.”

It’s amusing how the modern mother became so irrational when the world became more accessible. They wipe everything clear of germs, pluck their children out of every challenging situation, fight their kids fights for them and then sit them down to a cardboard box of Chicken McNuggets because they forgot to pack a snack.

Their kids can’t eat fruit but they’ll eat mystery meat from a clown.

Okay, hungry children are demonic. Over time, we’ve accumulated a mountain of lunch coolers and water bottles to make sure my kids don’t “turn”. Our pantry is single-serving snack central and can city. All that’s missing is a Milky Way candy bar and we’d be ready for James Franco.

In all the years of outings with boys who are convinced we will resort to cannibalism when the subway stops, I’ve learned to be prepared.

While I can’t say that I never worry, I’m certainly not a wart anymore.

So, what are you worried about?

Troubled Mind

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Mean Green

#07. “Never be jealous.” – Miyamoto, Musashi (Book of Five Rings)

At the first sign of envy, my mother sternly said to me, “Don’t be jealous!” To this day, she still pronounces it “gel-ASS” but like her “strage” for storage and “turn reft at the right and make light at the corner,” it’s the message that counts – not a Shakespearean delivery.

At the time, it seemed unfair to expect a five-year old not to be jealous of her cute baby sister. Now, I see why. Jealousy and envy breed uncontrollably – like cockroaches – it infests and causes nuisance and at it’s best, Stephen King stories. You have to squash it immediately.

With my mother, it was a constant reprimand, “Don be gel-ASS! Don be gel-ASS!” She was too busy looking after my baby sister to bother with my antics. “I’m not jealous,” I’d say, “my belly hurts,” or “I didn’t know it was aspirin,” or “I was just trying to make Flambe.”

She’d just give me that look of disgust, which I too mastered and put to full use during the years I managed a hair salon. It’s a look that says, “Don’t try to play me without serving cocktails first.”

Scares the shit out of people. Especially minors.

While it’s simple to demand, it’s not so easy to turn a jealous cheek. My two boys show me that all the time. Should I offer any kind of praise to their friends or classmates, my sons will whine, “You love him more than me!”

I feel like saying, “Don be gel-ASS!” but boys don’t respond to commands. You yell, “STOP,” and they’ll look back at you while they continue running forward and smack into a mailbox.

Unlike girls, boys not only have a hard time registering their feelings – they don’t want to talk about it either. Almost every time I ask a boy if they want to talk about what’s bothering them, they’ll respond, “No. I just wanna blow something up.” So you see why Minecraft is so popular.

Boys can’t see that praise and kindness given to other people doesn’t lessen the amount given to them. They think of affection like a pizza pie. You give a high five to a buddy and a thumbs up to a classmate and there goes two-eighths of his hugs! It might be a Common Core thing. But there’s a security thing, too. When you point out another child’s merit, you are unwittingly pointing out the shortcomings of your own.

So now, when I pay some kid a compliment, I’ll search my brain for a compliment to give my guy as well. It could go like, “Katie, congratulations on your perfect score. And Zuki – you remembered to bring home your lunch box everyday this week. That’s outstanding!”

Although my mother’s upbringing of not giving into jealousy got me over my jealousy of my sister – and of ex-girlfriends – and of people who have summer beach homes, I fear one day it’ll rear it’s ugly head again when my boys grow up and start dating sluts. Ooh, did I say that out loud?

Hopefully, my mother will still be around to slap some sense into me when the time comes. Though from experience, I’ve noticed that grandmothers are far more picky over their grandson’s partner than anyone else.

Perhaps it’ll be my turn to tell her not to be gel-ASS.

Don't be jealous - smile dammit!

Don’t be jealous – smile dammit!

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