Earning his keep.

Me to untitledhusband: “So this woman in the Wal-Mart parking lot was yelling at her son. It was so loud and inappropriate. I saw the look on the little boy’s face, and it just broke my heart.”

untitledson (interjecting, as he so often does): “You broke your heart? (thoughtful pause) Maybe I can fix it with with with… tape.”

untitledson (who is three) said this as he contentedly ate spoonfuls of his Dora yogurt. Such innocence, such concern. Upon finishing his words, he resumed eating his yogurt, as if it were no big deal that his mother had melted into a heaving pile on the floor, her heart forever jumbled up in knots over this little boy before her. I do believe the hardest part about not being able to have another child is knowing that these moments will come and go, and there will be no one else to repeat them.

Losing her religion.

Talking to untitledmother today, I found out that she went to church for the first time in six months this past Sunday — and only because she was on the schedule to serve breakfast after the service. Six whole months without the holy ablution, the sinner’s license to watch “Real Sex” on HBO and keep a mysterious bottle of KY in your nightstand. Six whole months to eat Vienna sausages (low carb!) by the bowlful while reading “Prevention” magazine. Six whole months to give dollar store gifts to your loved ones while you yourself wear nothing but the most expensive brands.

Sense a little bitterness about that last point. Well, that’s because there is. A few weeks ago, she gave untitledson a “Faded Glory” outfit from Wal-Mart — which is just fine. I have no problem dressing untitledson in Faded Glory this or that. But then she had to go and pass it off like she got it at a fancy department store. Before giving me the gift (which, long story short, was a guilt gift — her way of not looking like an asshole in front of family), she said, “It’s from Nordstrom’s.” “Wow, Nordstrom’s has some cute things for little boys!” I exclaimed, waiting for her to fess up. But alas, nothing. Treacherous cunt. In the immortal words of Royal Tennenbaum, “I see you, asshole!”

Now the part that perplexes me is her complete lack of Christian knowledge. She knows the Bible, but she doesn’t KNOW it, if you know what I mean. She’ll zip right past the part about gluttony and greed, using the potato chip grease on her fingertips to help turn the pages.

I asked her why she quit going to church. At first, she blamed it on the pedophile priests she reads about in the Enquirer — her OTHER bible. But eventually, the truth came out. “I just like sleeping in on Sunday.” Just like she does on Monday and Saturday and every afternoon, for that matter.

Yeah, I know. It sounds like depression. We have some experience in untitledhousehold with that, and I feel fairly confident that her “depression” is self-induced. She went to a psychiatrist for a few months, and he prescribed her a plethora of pills, none of which “worked.” I’ve seen chemical imbalance, and this is not it. This is physical unbalance — the result of sitting on one’s ass for so long, that nothing seems enjoyable. Typical weekend day for untitledmother:

9:30 a.m. Wake up
9:45 a.m. Eat breakfast
10 a.m. Watch TV and read newspaper
10:30 a.m. Morning nap
Noon Eat lunch
12:30 p.m. Get dressed and go shopping, drop $350 on clothes for self
3:30 p.m. Afternoon nap
6 p.m. Go out for dinner
7 p.m. Watch TV
9:30 p.m. Bed

untitledmother has checked out of life, putting forth as little energy as possible, for as we all know, she who sits the most WINS. She has no hobbies, for that takes effort. She joins no clubs, again, the effort. And now she has quit going to church. She eats every meal out. She hires others to clean her house and do her yardwork. She would’ve hired someone to hook her bra a long time ago, if not for her embarassing back fat (hey, I have it too). It seems she won’t be satisfied until she has completely outsourced her life.

Now I’m only 35, and I’ve already figured out that to enjoy life, you have to get out there and get your hands dirty. Volunteer. Walk around your block. Go to the state fair. Sure, it takes effort — and it would certainly be much easier to sit on your floral couch and watch re-runs of “Walker, Texas Rnager.” But life will always be work. It seems that even happiness takes a little bit of effort. untitledmother is so screwed.

Pray for blindness, dear readers.

Last week, I promised a picture of untitledmother’s newly Nubian legs. I am proud to report that indeed, she was in rare form this weekend, and I managed to capture it on the Kodachrome for posterity. Someday, our ancestors will want to know what caused the downfall of civilization, and I feel an obligation to document it. Upon closer analysis, it seems the self-tanner beaded up in chemical retaliation and settled in her skin pores, giving her legs the appearance of broasted chicken skin.

Before you whip your Bain de Soleil at the computer screen, please know that yes, I realize that millions of people use self-tanner (including me, at times). Hey, we all can’t mow the lawn in our thong or play 18 holes every day (or golf, for that mattter). But when untitledmother uses self-tanner, it just plain pisses me off. It’s one more example of her taking the easy way. When I was a kid, she would get in her car and drive a half-block to visit her friend. That’s right, a half-block. Another case in point — her battalion of fat burner pills. She has at least six different bottles in her medicine cabinet at any given time, and each is missing about five pills. She tries them for a couple of days, and when her digestive system fails to transform into a fat-burning furnace, she gives up and banishes them to the land of lost antacids and worthless wrinkle creams. Goddamn, mother. Put some effort forth before you die. Maybe then I’ll be less inclined to bury your ashes in a Swanson’s TV dinner box underneath the stinky Ginko tree in your backyard.

I sense that I’ve gotten a bit off-course here, so without further ado, may I introduce your new desktop wallpaper (and accompanying limerick):

060723_burntchickenlegs.jpg
There once was a woman so white
One look and you’d curse your sight
So she slapped on the juice
And sat down on her caboose
As her legs disappeared into the night

Tanned and rested.

Every July, my extended family gets together for a big reunion of sorts, only it’s more casual than that. How casual, you ask? Casual enough that untitledsister-in-law has no qualms about wearing tube socks with her sandals (because her feet are ugly, she says). If they’re uglier than that, sister girl, then you just go on with your bad self and keep those dogs under wraps, I say.

During this event, I also get to see my favorite uncle, which is great. Smelling his unsettling old man b.o. when he hugs me, that’s not so great. It’s not the kind of b.o. you get from being unclean. It’s the kind you get from sitting outside all day in the sweltering heat, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. It’s dirty old man stank. But I still love him. I feel like a shit for even mentioning it. But if you stink, I’m going to call you out. Introduce yourself to some Irish Spring, for fuck’s sake, for I really don’t appreciate your earthy mustiness all up in my nostrils.

This yearly event is held at untitldedmother’s house, but make no mistake — she is NOT the hostess. You will learn as much after you spend the entire weekend cleaning her kitchen and ferreting out breakfast foods for the others as she sleeps in. If it were up to her, she’d set out a half-eaten pan of peanut butter and chocolate Rice Krispie bars and call it good.

Every other month of the year, untitledmother sports her normal sickly pallor and a mask of foundation three shades too dark for her skin. I call it the reverse Geisha. But in July, this all changes. In an effort to be as beautifully bronzed as my aunt (who is 25 years her junior), she turns to the self-tanner. Since untitledmother doesn’t have the discipline to visit a tanning bed or the fortitude to sit in the hot sun, she squirts on the tanning lotions. On most people, these work just fine. I’ve used them myself, and enjoy the disturbing high I get from the odd fleshy smell that it deposits on my skin. But on untitledmother, the self-tanners give her skin the appearance of a cancer-riddled lung. It’s as if the self-tanner molecules are fighting their destiny, and as a result, pool in the crevices and dry patches to spite her. The marbling is quite dramatic and might be somewhat pleasing in, say, a granite countertop or a slice of raisin bread.

When we’re home next weekend. I’m going to do my best to get a picture of it for y’all. I only show them to you so that you yourself can approach self-tanners with a modicum of respect and fear. Maybe when untitledmother is napping, I can have untitledhusband fold her ear forward so we can get a shot of the 666 back there. For all we know, it could simply be an undistributed deposit of Banana Boat.

Rascal Fatts.

Talking to untitledmother this morning, I find out that she has signed up for Meals on Wheels (elderly nutrition program designed to feed anyone over 60 of limited financial needs or physical/mental capacity). She pays them $2.50 per meal, and they deliver lunch to her work every day. “So what are the qualifications for a program like this?” I ask, a bit puzzled by this revelation. When I think of Meals on Wheels, I imagine a malnourished 80 year-old woman opening her home’s front door. She balances her lunch tray on the top of her scooter as she makes her way back to her kitchen table. She says grace, thanking god for the food. She’s happy she won’t have to eat cat food for the second time today, for it gives her the wicked shits and hemorrhoids that drape like jungle vines.

“You just need to be a senior citizen,” untitledmother replies, chomping on her kill, chicken ala king, in between sentences. She’s 64 years old, so you’d better believe that she’s card-carrying and ready for her discounts. “This way, I get one good meal each day during the week.”

One good meal each day? I’m trying to recall here… when has untitledmother EVER been a stranger to a good meal? She eats breakfast, lunch and dinner out every single day. She keeps a can of Spanish peanuts in the drawer of her living room end table and a Snickers bar in her purse, you know, just in case. She’s not even five feet tall, and she’s about 130 pounds overweight. Take a moment and visualize that, people.

She hires someone to mow her lawn and scoop her snow. She hires someone to clean her house. The only thing she has to do is her own laundry (which isn’t often, due to the sheer volume of her wardrobe) and bathe herself (which again, isn’t often). When your hair is so greasy that it stands up like a row of soldiers at the nape of your neck, it’s time to wash. She is clueless as to what’s going on in the back 40, because that would require using a hand mirror. Again, extra effort.

I said to her, “Mom, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” But I don’t think she cares. My perception of Meals on Wheels was food for homebound people who would otherwise starve. I had no idea it was intended to be a crutch for those too lazy to lift a butter knife or nuke a bag of popcorn.

I think the true motivation for untitledmother is 1) Meals on Wheels is cheap, so it frees up money for her shopping and fake nails addictions, and 2) it’s easier to sit on your ass and wait for your food to magically appear than it is to walk a half a block and a flight of stairs to the nearest greasy spoon.

I am just beside myself with shame over this woman. Her selfishness. Her laziness. Her greed. Her gluttony. untitledhusband tells me that I need to work on seeing the good points in people, and quit dwelling on the things I cannot change. I suppose he’s right. But every time I reach a more zen-like state, someone in the family has to go and do something stupid. I suppose eventually, untitledmother will install a pneumatic tube in her house, so she can poop without leaving couch.