Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Wonder

Yesterday, Merrick posed this question to his mother.

Merrick: "Mama? How come you'we a little stwange?"

Matron, looking up from the book she is reading while attempting a recipe for French soup that involves $20 worth of some kind of clawed sea creature -- and the book is a novel, not a cookbook.

Matron:""What do you mean, strange?"

Merrick: "You know . . . like you don't like football or bake cookies vewy easy . . " Pause while Matron takes umbrage at inconvenient truth . . . "and you don't like sweatshiwts. Lots of moms weaw sweatshiwts. And you kiss dog snouts."

Matron: "Exactly what is wrong with a snout kiss and a packaged Oreo?"

Merrick: "Mom?"

Matron: ?

Merrick: "Why is the stove on fiwe?"

But this exchange gave the Matron pause (and a reason to abandon the cooking project). Yes indeed, she has -- here and there and upon occasion -- been categorized as a little, well, 'unique.' Thank God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe, she knows exactly who to blame.

Highlights to the road of aberrant behavior would include her decision, as a Wee Miss, to read Gone with The Wind and The Exorcist, back to back, when she was around 10. For better or worse, these books shaped a world view that still persists.

Lest anyone think she is kidding: remember, the Matron named her only daughter Scarlett. And her best party trick? Reciting the first paragraph of the book from memory or putting any sentence -- sentence -- of the thousand page book into the context of its appropriate paragraph. Without looking, of course.

Upon consideration, however, reading was only one art form that permanently shaped the Matron into who she is today. There was also music.

When yours truly first began dating her beloved John, whenever a male voice trickled through the prehistoric listening devices called radios and stereos, she immediately called out: "Is this the Beatles?"

Female voice? Young Miss: "Is this Barbra Streisand?"

John: "Who's the greatest living guitar player?"

Matron: "Rocky?"

You get the picture . . . and here she blames music, the three main pieces of music to which she was exposed for six solid weeks when she was 16 and TRAPPED in a station wagon with her FAMILY (shudder on behalf of teenagers everywhere) driving to and from California during summer vacation.

The three artists that bent her musical ear?

Barry Manilow--commericals, specifically, Neil Sedaka, and John Denver.

When the Matron went to college, she thought "The Who" was something commonly confused with "to whom" in writing. The day John Lennon died, she had grown savvy enough to know to feign unspeakable grief until she figured out who in the heck John Lennon was.

Because when somebody very famous dies, people don't go around mourning-by-resume: "OMIGOD the former Beatle, music icon, activist and husband of Yoko Ono just died!"

No, it was just inconveniently "John, John, John." Not a lot of information in that, so it's a good thing her feigned grief was unspeakable. It's much easier not to embarrass yourself with your mouth shut.

This is the long route to the mystery: how did she get to be so 'stwange'? She blames music. Let's just say Barry Manilow in particular, as driving by a McDonald's with the Matron can be somewhat surreal.

Bucket of chicken, anyone?