Sunday, May 08, 2005

Shirley's Assignment

The Other Shirley
Originally uploaded by

My mother has an assignment from her therapist: ask all of your children what they learned from you.

I asked Shirl if I could share my results with the Peacebangers, and she assured me that was okay ("Just don't give out my phone number.").

Ladies and gentlemen, Some Things I Learned From My Mother (in no particular order):

Every little girl looks good in red, white and blue. After puberty, black is always slimming. With a bright lipstick.

Don't stay up too late talking with your sister or your mother will make you get out of bed and march around the dining room table to tire you out.

Just because Per Kistler said the "F" word doesn't give you permission to do so, even in the act of tattling on him. You will get your first and only memorable spatula spanking this way.

You can come home as late as you want as long as your grades are good and we can trust you.

You may be talented, but there are millions of talented people out there. Better to be talented AND good to work with. "If you're good to work with, people will want to work with you."

On sex: "Why would you let a stranger into your body?"

On mother's intuition: "I knew the minute you walked through the door." And she did.

Santa Claus really does exist. Even if Mom and Dad buy the presents, Santa is REAL. Do NOT get snarky and cynical about Santa, not at any age.

The world is a magical place, and anything can happen. Good or bad, anything can happen.

Mock evil people, as they are stupid and weak. To create is the hard thing; to destroy is lazy and sadistic. Do not let the evil of the world paralyze you even for a moment.

Too much black eyeliner is never flattering. Neutrals, and blend.

You've got to marinate the steak.

When trying on clothes, look for the "puppies" of chub escaping from tight armholes or a snug-fitted derriere. Camoflauge as necessary, and do camoflauge.

If you don't know what you're doing, get out of my kitchen.

Keep your voice down. Unless you're singing. Then, "sing out, Louise!!"

Diction matters. We do not sing, "Ten minutes ago, I metchoo" when we mean, "Ten minutes ago, I met you."

Gay men are fabulous, and they are your friends.

Straight men are intimidated by you, mostly because you're too intense.

When someone hurts you, move on. Let it go.

Tip generously. Especially if you find a good hairdresser.

Do not waste even one moment of your life telling lies and being scared in a relationship.

Take one day at a time. When overwhelmed, take one small step at a time, do the first thing, then the next thing. You'll be fine.

Don't over-dramatize. You're too sensitive.

Buy good presents for people. Their happiness makes you happy.

Fat bodies are not okay.

Don't kid yourself: marriage is really hard. There's no need to do it unless you really find someone terrific.

There is no need to have children to fulfill your potential as a woman.

Never be afraid to get help of any kind.

Smile, stand up straight.

Send thank you cards. Keep nice, engraved stationery on hand.

If you don't know what a word means, look it up. If you're not sure how to pronounce it or spell it, look it up.

It's okay to hem pants with a stapler.

Respect elders. Give up your seat.

You can never divorce your brother or your sister.

Never, ever put a food container on the table for guests. It goes on a nice plate or it doesn't go out at all.

Some people really can't read maps and will shut down emotionally if you try to even show them one.

Details matter: when you are appearing in a show set in the 1930's, you wear stockings with seams.

Whenever you can afford it, hire someone else to clean the house.

People who refuse to applaud a kick line have no soul.

There's no reason not to wear a feather boa to a party.

Most repressions and inhibitions are really self-indulgence in disguise.

The minute your children leave your body, start letting go of them. Their role in life is not to fulfill their parent's fantasies.

Tell people you love them.

I love you, Shirley!!


Blogger boyinthebands said...

I love you!

Anonymous SOPB said...

Wow, not so surprising that we had some overlapping points. The Burger was thorough, boy hidy.


Anonymous SOPB said...

Also, do you think Mom minds that you told the ENTIRE WORLD she's in therapy?

Just wondering.


Blogger fausto said...

"The Burger"? Hmm... Fausto had a second-grade teacher named Shirley Berger... One of the best he ever had, acconrding to Fausto's mom...

??? Nah. Couldn't be.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

"The Burger" is a nickname granted by BOPB, after Mom's famous "Shirleyburgers," a recipe she submitted for his third grade cookbook. You put the cheese IN the hamburg meat (it's "hamburg," not "hamburger") and it melts and it's heavenly.

To answer SOPB's inquiry about the level of disclosure here, I have assured her that Mother Of PeaceBang has granted full immunity. MOPB knows that pretty much everyone in the world is either in therapy, or should be.

Anonymous Catherine said...

WOW, your mother is amazing! Mind if I email this to a few people, giving you credit, of course?

Blogger super said...

"Fat bodies are not okay."

uh, for real? I mean, is this a sincere assertion on your part?

because my fat body is absolutely okay, and so are others. I'm not generally all internet confrontational, but fatphobia freaks me right out. I am completely serious about this, but maybe you are being ironic here. I don't know you (unless maybe I do, who knows), so, I thought I should ask...

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Hi Super,
What that's all about is that Mother Of PeaceBang has never accepted her own lovely plumposity, and like most women in America, greatly shuns and fears fat -- like it's the worst character defect to be a overweight. This is a cultural obession, as you know, and keeps women from focusing on what we OUGHT to fear and shun, like the Bush administration's policies on poverty, etc.
PeaceBang, a voluptuous babe indeed, lost the battle of the bulge long ago and is always working on Shirl to love her body no matter what its size.
But since I was reporting things I learned from my mother on this post, I had to be honest and say, yes, I did "learn" her fat phobia, which I totally reject.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Catherine, why not just send 'em over to PeaceBang!! Bring them right in! The more the merrier!

Blogger super said...

right on - thanks for clearing that up!

Blogger Becoming said...

I have a fabu mom. You have a fabu mom. We are lucky women. Why is it that sometimes wisdom from someone else's mom sounds more like wisdom and less like nagging or fake positivity? ::note to self, remember to value mom even more::


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