I’m Starting to Relate to Norman Bates

Posted: September 1, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine, Observations
Tags: , , , , ,
This week I received a long rambling email from my mother, chock full o’ disapproval and criticism.  It really set me off.  They sure know how to push our buttons don’t they people?  I have often written that I suspect the elderly of intentionally annoying the younger generation for purposes of entertainment.  They routinely take far too much time in super market lines digging through purses with arthritic fingers looking for ancient coupons or an elusive 3 pennies, while the rest of us silently seethe and wait to pay for our six pack or tampons.  My theory is that the elderly delight in tormenting the younger generation and then return to their bingo halls and nursing homes where they laugh at our aggravation over games of “musical meds”.
“I made one of them repeat themselves 6 times today…He was losing it, but didn’t want to yell at a sweet old lady.”

"Oh, my heavens. Tormenting youngsters can be such fun!"

“Oh, that’s lovely Gladys…I went to the movies with Fred and Jean and stood in front of the screen for ten minutes before taking our seats, speaking aloud and asking questions.”
“Oh, did you hear Martin and Tina got a waitress in trouble at work for tipping 8% while making her run around for an hour changing their orders because of the “special diet their doctors have them on?”
“Oh, I just love doing that!”
“Let’s go to the early bird special at Fitzwilly’s tomorrow and ask for the senior discount after they have rung in the check.”
My friend and editor Gow pointed out to me that mothers probably do this too. They routinely feed us guilt sandwiches with a whopping side of disapproval.  If we react, they have all kinds of dirt on us.  I had to agree with Gow on this one.  Mother’s have the vast majority of us between the rock of guilt, disapproval and childhood or adolescent embarrassment and the hard place of unconditional love.  It’s a chasm that few of us can escape. The only bright points are that it really helps the mental health and alcohol industries.
I swear I could be a Nobel Peace Prize winner who irons out the Isreal/Palestine issue and within a month my mother would make an offhand comment on how much I spend on shampoo and “maybe that’s why you can’t afford to have your wisdom teeth out.”
Yes, I suspect that mothers have their little get together kaffeeklatsches where they compare notes on how they have driven the fruit of their loins to fits of enraged guilt and frustration.
Pour it on, ma!

Pour it on, ma!

 Mother One: “I chided my son for not calling enough, even though he calls two or three times a week.”  “He hung up on me, and I get uncontrollable giggles when I picture him muttering to himself.”

Mother Two: (laughing hysterically)  “Oh, the poor dear.”  ” I made passive aggressive comments to my daughter’s boyfriend all through dinner last week.” “I wish I could have seen the fight they had afterward.”
Mother One: “Oh, I used to want to hear those fights too.” ” I installed a recording device at my son’s apartment”.  “Later I made popcorn and invited the girls around to listen to the fights that I caused.”
(Both mothers cackle like witches) 

“More coffee, dear?”  “Just a drop. These muffins are just heavenly, Martha!” 


I will have my revenge on my mother.  I’ll show her.  I’ll run around with scissors and date women she doesn’t approve of (there’s a tough one pffft)  The next time I get sick I’ll go and stay with her, regress to 6 years old, call her “mommy” and guilt her into caring for me.  I’ll vomit on her rug and look up tearfully and say “Sorry mommy, I couldn’t make it to the baffroom” 
Although she (along with every other mother on the planet) is a heavyweight champion of guilt and I am a simple journeyman.  I can’t possibly expect to compete…I just want to go the distance and land a few jabs.
  1. Tallkronan says:

    If you only knew how timely this piece is! I just had a horrible fight with my Mom, who feels that she and Dad are “excluded” and “unwanted” in my and my family’s lives- DESPITE seeing us more or less on a daily basis, getting a phonecall from me nearly every morning to ask how they are doing and living three blocks away.
    On top of it all, it’s mid-day and I need to attend a conference AND pick kids up from school and so the one (two, three) much needed drinks will have to wait.
    I’ll go outside and have a cigarette and try to put things in perspective.
    But, yes, I know precisely what you are talking about here.
    Yes! Yes! Yes!


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