Things My Mother Warned Me About

Posted on September 23, 2010


I found a dead squirrel in my driveway the other day.  As soon as I saw it, I heard my mom’s voice, “Don’t pick it up.  It is probably diseased and you will get sick and die if you touch it.”  I told my friend Phyllis, who was visiting and was, at that moment, sitting on my front porch, reading.  She said, “Don’t touch it.  Call the Animal Shelter.”  Apparently, my mother was talking to her, as well.

My mother has been gone for almost 34 years now, but she still talks to me regularly.  Not in a John Edwards sense.  More like her admonishments are always with me.  These include:

1. All dead animals are diseased and shouldn’t be touched.
2. Any food dropped on the ground should stay there.
3. Any food dropped on the floor should be thrown away.
4. Going into the ocean is a surefire way to drown immediately.
5. Airplanes are necessary but should be avoided if at all possible.
6. A man won’t buy damaged goods.
7. A man won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.
8. Always wear clean panties, because you could be in an accident and someone could be looking at them.
9. Escalators are dangerous.
10. Pinball machines lead to a life of depravity.

I loved my mother, and she exited this world all too soon.  But I have to admit that I have disregarded virtually all of her admonishments.  I love to fly, and I do ride escalators. But, since the DC Metro specializes in escalators that don’t work most of the time, my escalator riding is less than it should be. I touch dead animals (not in a perverted sense, more like picking them up and tossing them into the trash.  I figure the Shelter has better things to do than to come to my house and get a dead squirrel/bird/mouse/whatever).  And do people even play pinball machines anymore?


My ex bought the damaged goods/cow anyway, but then again, they were damaged/milked by him.  And even if I weren’t in an accident, I’d still wear clean underwear.  Just because.  And if I were in an accident, would I care about my panties anyway?  Unless the doctor was delaying putting me on a breathing machine or stopping my blood flow because he was distracted by the sight of my panties, I don’t think it would be of any concern.  And whether or not I eat the fallen food depends entirely on what that food is.  Vegetables get tossed; a piece of chocolate wouldn’t be.  I’ve tried to get ice cream off the sidewalk or ground, but it’s a mess and then you get little pavement or soil grit in it which is disgusting.

I do avoid the ocean because I am convinced that if I go out too far, I will be swept away immediately and drown in some kind of hideous way.  Is there any other way of drowning, other than hideous?  Is there such a thing as doubly hideous?  Like maybe you are drowning and then, while you are gasping your last breath, a big shark comes along and starts eating your leg and you have to decide which is more important, to try to breathe or to try to get rid of the shark, but there’s really no chance of either.  

Thanks, Mom.