Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Got It From My Mama


Transcribed by Odienator

When I quote her, readers always ask if I make up the things my mother says. I do not. There is no way in Hell I’m that good a writer. So when you read this true story, be advised that I am quoting my mother verbatim. In fact, I am going to stage this as a little mini-play, so you can have Mom tell you the tale she told me. 

Some things you should know: My mother looks half her age. Once, she got proofed at the casino, but I didn't. Another time, they thought she was my sister's sister. After 5 kids, she still looks good. She and Dick Clark have that arrangement with the Devil, I think. She always has nice clothes and 8 million matching pocket books to go with them.

To set the scene: I went to Mom’s last week. She asked me to fix the E-mail in her PC. My Mom sits on the carpet  in front of a low computer stand with the keyboard on her lap to use the computer, so I had to do the same to fix it. This led to problems for me, which led to the story my brother and I were told by our mother.

ME
(getting up from the PC after several minutes sitting on the floor)
Ow! Ow! (popping noises as joints come to life)

MOM
What’s your problem?

ME
My back and knee are killing me from sitting on the floor like that!

MOM
You getting old, huh?

ME
Cut me some slack. I’m 41 years old.

MOM
You’re what?

ME
I said I’m forty-wuh—

MOM
Fuck boy! You’re older than me!

BROTHER
(Laughs)

ME
How is that possible?

MOM
I stopped aging at seventeen. I gave y’all the opportunity to do so as well. Guess you didn’t take it.

ME
Whatever, Ma.

MOM
Look at this!

(Sits down on the floor, then gets up quickly. She does this several times.)

MOM
See! Just like a teenager. You couldn’t even get up!

(Does it several more times, a few in dramatic, theatrical fashion)

ME
You gonna get stuck down there.

MOM
(getting up)
I’m still young and I still got it.

(My brother and I look at each other. He rolls his eyes.)

MOM
Listen. I went to the track with your father last week. Goddamn penny slot machines ate my 80 dollars. I was wearing this belt--

(Leans to the side so we can see the belt. It says “Kiss Me” on it.)

MOM
—and this fresh little old White man sat next to me. He pointed to my belt and said (in old man voice) “I sure wish I could do that!” Then he said “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna bother you.” I said to myself, I know D-A-M well you’re not. But he was persistent.  “Can I sit here and play along?” I looked at him and nodded.  He was a dapper old man, dressed in a suit with a hat like they wore in old musicals, like what my father used to wear when I was a little girl. I swear, he looked like he could just tip his hat and tap dance away.

(Touches the brim of an imaginary hat, slants to the side and starts mock-tapping)

(singing)
I’m tap dancin’ and singin’ da BLUUU-UUUUES!

(shuffles off to an imaginary stage left. Starts walking back to where she was standing before)

Anyway, after about 5 minutes of me pressing on that stupid ass slot machine, the old man got bold. “Excuse me, but you are so beautiful. Please, can I buy you lunch at the restaurant over there when you’re finished?” I smiled and said, “No thank you, “ but he was not having it. “Oh please?!” he said, touching the brim of his hat and leaning forward. “I’ll be right over there at those slot machines. Look for me, beautiful!”

BRO
Where was Daddy when this was happening?

MOM
He was upstairs shoveling his money into the horse’s ass.

ME
Ma!!

MOM
Anyway, I kept giving my money to the slots, like a jackass. The old man came back. I saw him out the corner of my eye, just shuffling over with his little hat and his dress suit. I’m waiting for Cab Calloway music to start playing and him to start dancing. “I’m back!” he said. “And I still want to take you to lunch, beautiful.” I just wanted him to go away, but I didn’t want to be mean.

ME
That would be a first!

MOM
Don’t make me slap the shit out of you!

(Looks at Odie. She’s serious. Odie moves out of her reach)

MOM
So I told him I was on a diet. “Oh come on, you?!” he said. “You’re perfect, beautiful. Now how about lunch?” He tipped his hat and winked at me. When he realized his charm only went so far, he said “OK. OK. Can I at least give you my phone number? You come here often.” He wrote his number on a napkin and gave it to me. “Don’t make me wait, beautiful,” he said, “I won’t be around forever.” Then he tipped his hat and left. I threw his number in the garbage can after he left.

ME
Just like a woman! Instead of telling him you were married, you teased the poor man! You probably flirted with him like that bear on Bugs Bunny. “Tell me MORE about my eyes!”

BRO
(laughing)
He could have been rich! Wouldn’t you feel messed up if he were?

ME
You’ll be watching the news, and they’ll show his picture and say (in newscaster voice) “The richest man in the state died today. Having no sweethearts or family, he left his multimillion dollar estate to his tap dancing cat named Singin’ Da Blues.” They show the cat, and it has a hat on just like the old man!

MOM
Shit boy, I told you before all that doesn’t matter. You can’t take it with you when you go. What’d I tell you all the time? You’re born with nothing, you die with nothing. All that stuff stays here.

BRO
But if you had it, what would you do with it? Say you hit the lottery. What would you do?

MOM
Spend it. Every last dime.

BRO
But what about our inheritance?!!

MOM
Y’all don’t have an inheritance now! You can’t miss what you don’t have!

BRO
Aw, that’s messed up!

MOM
But also like I told you before: If I got rich, I know a way to take it all with me.

ME
Remind me. How?

MOM
I’d spend it all on me! I’d get a new wardrobe, some new hair. Then I’d go to Nip/Tuck, get me some lipo—

ME
Which you don’t need!

MOM
—get a facelift to get rid of these wrinkles—

ME
Which you don’t need!

MOM
—get my tits put back where they used to be—

ME
JESUS! MA!

MOM
—and when I’m dead and gone, and people come up to look at me in that coffin (crosses arms to simulate resting in peace) they are going to see me looking beautiful and dressed to the nines and they gonna nod and say “Yup. Bitch took it all with her!”

ME
(looking at BRO)
Now I know she’s gone senile. I’m goin’ home.

MOM
Leave if you want to. Go on! You just mad because your mama ain’t creaky like your old ass is. Get back down on the floor and try to get up again! I dare you.

ME
I’m outta here. Bye, Ma.

MOM
I still got it. Rich White men talkin’ to me and everything. You just can’t deal! Your mama still got it, boy!

She damn sure does.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I'd pay to see this in a theater. Shame my friend Gail passed away - she could have played the lead role, easy.

Dave Candido said...

Ha, I liked that, Odie. Tell your mom that I, for one, followed her advice- I'm still 17 too (just ask my ex-wives).
DC