My mother is hilarious. I’m not sure she always intends to be so funny, but she really does crack me up. Here one little gem from Christmas.
So my parents don’t put up a Christmas tree anymore. Having never put up a tree myself, I can’t blame them. But my mother hosts Christmas dinner every year – or every other year, depending on people’s moods – and she often feels pressure to have a tree or something similar. Over the years, they downgraded from a real tree to a plastic one. Then they moved to a mini tree. That didn’t last long. Then they used a snowman that my mother loved – a little blue-ish snowman on skis, holding ski sticks, as the stand-in Christmas tree. After the ridicule she received over the snowman – and yes, there was ridicule; tho to her credit, she stuck with the snowman for at least 3 years and still brings him out every year, comments from the peanut gallery be damned – she her latest tradition: the Christmas Tree made of Christmas Cards.
Now, for me, this could never work. I don’t send holiday cards, so I don’t receive very many of them. My mother, on the other hand, gets easily 150 cards. Seriously, at least. I’m sure it’s more than that. She gets so many cards that every year there is the game of Who Are Those People? My mother almost always knows who the card is from and always has some story to share about the person. ALWAYS.
So this year, my mother wanted to show me her cards, which were in the tree-shaped display in the spot where, as a child, the actual Christmas tree used to go. She was honing in on the children-picture section of the tree, each picture eliciting incredibly positive commentary from her (“Oh, isn’t she just the cutest?” And “Look at his little hat; I can’t stand it.” And, “Now, are these the cutest boys you’ve ever seen! And a personality to boot!”), or putting positive spins on things that other people (read: everyone else in the world) would be mean about (“That’s not a great picture. She’s much cuter in person. AND, the personality on that one… you just have to love her.”). Then she hits one picture that sparks a story. But, as with most stories with my mother, they can be a challenge to follow.
Mom (showing me cards and pointing out the ones with kids photos, making color commentary. She stops and looks at me.): What’s her name?
Mom: You know, butt-a-fuck. Butt-a-fuck.
Me: Um, wait. What?
Mom: Who’s that woman? The one with the husband. Butt-a-fuck. Butt-a-fuck.
Me (concerned my mother has developed torrets): I have no idea what you’re saying.
Mom (getting annoyed): You know the woman. There was a girlfriend. She was all over the news. What’s her name?
Me: Um, Tiger Wood’s wife? Elan or something?
Mom: No, no. Not her. Butt-a-fuck. Butt-a-fuck. That woman, who was shot in the face.
Mom: What’s her name? It’s butt-a-fuck. Something butt-a-fuck…
Me (now realizing what she’s talking about): Buttafuoco? Mary Joe Buttafuoco?
Mom: Yeah, yeah. That’s what it is. Buttafuoco! What did I say?
Me: Not that.
Mom: Pity what happened to that woman.
Me: Did you get a card from Mary Joe Buttafuoco?!
Mom: No, no. I don’t know her. But I know someone who knows her doctor. The one who gave her a new face.
Me: She got a new face?
Mom: Oh, yeah. She was shot in the face, you know. Terrible what happened to her. That girl who shot her? She was sick. But I feel bad for her too.
Me (knowing we’ve hit a major detour): You know her doctor?
Mom: No, I know someone who knows the doctor who gave her a new face.
Me (not knowing where this is going): Oh.
Mom: Jane is taking her daughter to see him.
Me (still not knowing where this is going or who Jane is): Does Jane’s daughter need a new face? That kid looks like she has a face.
Mom: Oh, but she can’t smile. So sad. She’s the sweetest little girl. But she can’t smile. So – this is so amazing. The Butt-a-fuck-o doctor is going to fix her face.
Me: Wow. That’s nice.
Mom: Isn’t it tho? And he said he’d do it for no cost.
Me: That’s amazing.
Mom: I know. He didn’t have to do that. It really makes you think that there are good people in the world. Even doctors.
Well, now I know where my view of doctors comes from.