Thursday, February 16, 2012


Mom didn't care much for Peter Jackson's King Kong.: "Why did it take so long to get to the island?  Why was it three hours long?  And that dinosaur stampede!  What were they thinking?  And that scene on the ice--cute, cute, cute.  No, I didn't like it."

This was late December of '05.  Earlier that month, she'd been given six months to live.  As it turns out, she had considerably less.  To many of us, the reality of impending death might cause us to give in to fear, or despair, or introspection, or something.  Mom...just became more like she always was.

On the movie version of Rent: "Oh, it's terrible.  He dies of AIDS, and we're going to try to make you cry by reminding you about it over and over, 'Oh, it's so sad,' like we've forgotten what happened ten minutes ago.  Was it this bad on stage?"

On Lost, then in its first season: "Maybe there's a monster, maybe there's not a monster.  But if there's not, they need to stop pretending that there is and get on with the plot.  And if there is a monster...that would be kind of stupid, wouldn't it?"

On Brigadoon, which she's stumbled across on cable and called me immediately after just to gripe about: "It doesn't work that way.  You can't say, 'These are the rules, this is what happens,' and then do something else and say, 'It's a miracle.'  Why did you make the rules in the first place?  And I don't think Cyd Charisse was Scottish..."

Six years since her death, I admit I don't think about Mom as much as I used to.  I don't miss her anymore, not really, not like I thought I would.  But sometimes, when I'm in the middle of a rant, when I'm asking a sales clerk to stop talking to his friends and actually give me some service, when I see through the lies of a politician...These are the times when I am thankful Mom was there to teach me how to question, to stand up for myself, to see what is really there.

Mom liked everyone, and everyone liked her.  She had a sentimental streak a mile wide, any rendition of Bein' Green would automatically reduce her to tears, she had a goofy sense of humor and laughed easily.  But beneath her easygoing manner was a fierce determination to say what needed to be said.  In the wake of my divorce, I was unloading my feelings about my ex, but she seemed to be taking Sue Ellen's side.  Why, I asked, are you sticking up for her?

"Because she messed up, but she wasn't stupid.  You were stupid."

I remember that, and I've used that to guide me since, in relationships and everything else.  Because she was right, of course.  She was always right. 

Well, except for her weird obsession with Murder, She Wrote...