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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two birds, one phone call

I'm notorious for being very difficult when it comes to maintaining a constant line of communication with my mom. She leaves like four or five texts and voicemails before I finally make the time to call her back. I figure I'm married, I live in my own apartment, and I subscribe to the Playboy en Espanol channel, why should I have to check in with my mom every week ... or month?

With the holidays coming up, though, I felt that now would be a good time to reach out again, especially because I wasn't looking forward to the "Why haven't you called me in a month?" guilt-trip in front of the rest of my extended family.

Our phone conversation, as I reluctantly anticipated, got off to a rocky start, with her offering me some unsolicited life advice within the first five minutes. I held my breath and struggled to bite my tongue in response, leaving empty silences in response to her suggestions on how to take care of my own business.

Eventually our conversation turned to 18th century Irish satire. She's working on her Bachelor's in Nursing and one of her gen eds is a literature class which moves through all the dusty chestnuts like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal."

If, unlike most, you actually paid attention during your literature class, you'll remember that a Modest Proposal is a satirical essay suggesting that the poor people of 18th century Ireland should eat their babies. This would solve the dual problems of starvation and over-population. Two birds, one baby.

As an assignment for her class, my mom had to write an essay in a similar vein to "A Modest Proposal," but adapted for modern times.

So we started brainstorming over the phone. I suggested something along the lines of having all of the most violent murderers in the world be forced to fight our wars for us, thereby eliminating the problem of the huge tax burden caused by overcrowded prisons and an outstretched military organization.

"Yeah," my mom said, "And then we can put the murderers on an island and then they could eat each other."

I paused for a moment to reflect on the absurdity of this. Every now and then she'll either say something so totally wacky and unexpected that I'll have to repeat it to myself in order to grasp comedic brilliance behind her words.

We can put the murderers on an island and then they could eat each other

Other times she completely reworks the fundamentals of English sentence structure and correct word choice to utter something so very baffling, yet so very her own. And it's always so hilarious because she's never trying to be funny when she says it.

She's priceless, really.

After we hung up I was really glad that I called her. I should probably do it more often.

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