It's funny how a memory will suddenly flash into your head at a random moment in life and set you to giggling like you should be put away. Yesterday, after writing about my inability to be sane around my Father-in-Law, I remembered I'd also told him this story while sitting awkwardly in the parlor just after his wife had died. As if my telling a Billy Connolly joke at a wake wasn't bad enough -
For Brother’s eighteenth birthday, I talked the Mom into giving him a Playboy magazine. I don’t know why. I thought it would be funny to embarrass him. He wasn’t embarrassed. She wasn’t embarrassed. It was a dud of a gift.
For his thirtieth birthday, I talked her into doing it again. I don’t know why. I’m a dork. I never learn.
Mom and I went down to the Adult Bookstore - that happened to be right next to the VW Bug store we spent way too much time in picking up bug parts - and we wandered about for far too long before she finally bought a Girls of Playboy or something. Mom then wrapped it up and mailed it off to Brother in Los Angeles.
But not before she went through it with a stack of post-it notes, stuck them all over the magazine with little commentary about the ladies bits and bobs written on them. Mom is awesomely different! She put a post-it on a set of gargantuan boobs and wrote ‘Ouch!’ And on another substantial pair she wrote, ‘Watch out! I’m about to blow!' Where parts were shaved or plucked or waxed or enhanced beyond normal, she wrote comments. On arms and legs that were glistening with oil, she wrote comments. And they were hysterical comments, totally witty and wrong and they had me rolling on the floor in tears. And they just had to be the most incredibly awkward thing to get from your mother for your birthday. But I laughed and Mom laughed and we both thought it was funny and so we finished off our opus, sent off the magazine to Brother and that was that.
And we heard nothing. No acknowledgment of receiving the gift. No angry phone call or pissy email. He made no comment at all until one day, I asked him about it and he went off at me, yelling and shouting and name calling. He was pissed and rightly so. It was a rather rude thing to have talked Mom into. BUT it turns out that’s not why he got angry.
I have to go back in time to explain why. About six months before our brilliantly inappropriate gift, Mom was in the midst of her battle with lymphoma. Mom being Mom was still working full time, taking business trips in between the Chemo and puking and generally pretending she was not sick. One week she was down in LA for work that was to be followed by a meeting in Santa Barbara the following Monday. It made more sense for her to stay down there over the weekend and not travel back to the Bay Area just to turn around and go back two days later.
“Stay with Brother.” I said. She called him but he didn’t offer.
I called him and I yelled at him. “Mom is going through Cancer. CANCER! How could you not ask her to stay with you? She is staying with you this weekend, no ifs ands or buts! SHE HAS CANCER!!!”
He was furious with me but he had no choice. Mom stayed.
Turns out, at the same time, Brother had a girl staying there who was also in town for a job. A girl he didn’t want Mom to meet.
Because she was a model and she was in LA for a job.
And that job was POSING FOR PLAYBOY!
My little annoying shit of a brother was DATING A PLAYBOY BUNNY!
I KNOW!!! So many questions. So many comments.
Brother, rightly so, didn’t want Mom to know he was dating a Playboy Bunny. He didn't want me to know. He was fully aware of the potential teasing that would never, ever stop should we know. So, when he got the magazine, he thought it was my passive aggressive way of digging at him. He thought I knew she was in April’s edition of Playboy and that I'd told Mom.
Like if I knew he was dating a Playboy Bunny, I would keep my mouth shut, not tell Mom, not tell everyone I know and not tease him mercilessly every second of the day? Like the the only comment I'd make would be a magazine sent to him via Mom? Does he know me at all? I'm not nearly subtle enough to do that.
I didn’t know. I couldn’t know. Your sibling dating a Playboy Bunny is something that happens only in the movies or on random TV shows or to that one guy from high school that is suddenly famous. That doesn’t happen to somewhat normal folks like me. That doesn’t happen to the dorky kid I shared a room with who used to light his farts on fire.
But apparently that dorky kid grew up to be a gorgeous, funny, charming guy and gorgeous, funny charming, guys do sometimes end up dating Playboy Bunnies Miss April or whatever month she was.
Mom and I could not have laughed louder when we found out the truth. I'd like to think it played a big part in making Mom feel better. It sure made my day, my year even. Brother, not so much. He is trying to pretend it never happened - the girl AND the magazine. But I'm a sister, and sisters never forget.
And there you have it, yet another story you should not tell to your almost in-laws at a wake. If ever!
And that is also why Mom doesn’t listen to my gift suggestions anymore.
My common sense organ is malfunctioning. Or it may be totally broken. Either way, this is not going to end well.
I do not know what it is but I CANNOT not say the most inappropriate thing to FIL. Whatever the topic, I seem to have to steer it into that awkward area where words come out that you should never say to your Father-in-law. Like ever.
For example, FIL has a recovering wound on his leg. He would say pimple but I saw it and it was a wound, a very big recovering wound. Anyway, he has been given something to put on said wound, “Silver something…” he said and he was searching for the word and I jumped in with, “Oh, Silver Nitrate.”
And the conversation should have stopped there. But I felt to add that I’d been given Silver Nitrate last year.
But I didn’t say it like that and stop.
No, I said, “I was given that last year when I was having issues with my yay-hoo. And given isn’t the right word. She squirted it up in my and it essentially burned the insides. And the worst is that she didn’t tell me what happens when Silver Nitrate burns your insides is that those chunks have to come out…”
You get the idea. The WRONG thing to say to your father-in-law. And, I might add, we were in my teeny tiny Smart car so there was no pretending I didn’t say that or that he didn’t hear it. And instead of feeling remorse, I was just giggling about it.
And I should have, I could have stopped there. Normal sane people stop there. But I chose to tell FIL that my gynecologist’s name was Dr. Cox and that I had a friend who’s last name was Bottoms and ask him what a penis doctor was called. WHILE WE WERE STILL IN THE SMART CAR.
Yup. I did that.
And then I did worse.
That night, I revisited the time I said “ERECTION” really loudly and thrust my hand into the air in his front parlor just after his wife had died. And that I won a year subscription to a theatre company – the same one with the naked part - for telling that most awkward family situation story. You can read the story here but the quick take-away from the story is that you should never tell a Billy Connolly joke to your possible in-laws when someone has just died.
It might actually just be best to never tell a Billy Connolly joke to your in-laws. Ever.
So for some reason, I decide to revisit this story as we’re walking into a restaurant. Husband elbows me with the universal “Shut up!” sign that all married couples know and love and slides into the wall side of the booth.
Only I don’t shut up.
I can’t. I cannot stop it. I get the giggles and I press on with the story, Husband is trapped between the wall and me. FIL professes he doesn’t’ remember the story. I say loudly “Of course you don’t. Your wife had just died.” AND THEN I KEEP TALKING! I have something seriously wrong with me!
Husband elbows me again. Harder. I keep talking. I shorten the story. I shorten the joke. But I still manage to get the word “Erection” in there AND thrust my arm up in the air. Husband is mortified. FIL is ignoring me by reading the menu. I’m still talking.
“And then,” I say, “Husband just left the room leaving me with you and APG (FIL’s sister-in-law) and my fist in the air!”
And Husband says, quite loudly, “If I weren’t trapped by you and the wall, I’d have left this room too.”
And I should feel some shame. I should be overcome with embarrassment. I should be telling myself to never speak again while FIL is here. But I know I will. And the stories will just get worse. I cannot help it.
Even as I write this, I’m giggling myself silly. Tigger the Dog is worried, pacing around the room, checking up on me as tears run down my face. It’s very possible I have a problem that needs medical intervention.
Or a gag.
I think I could really use one of those. One that keeps my hands tied to my side while it keeps my mouth shut, please.
Or this is going to be a long, loooong visit.
Today is Labor Day in the USA. Which I am finding ironic this year because last Tuesday I started my new part-time job. And Saturday, I quit my new part time. Total amount of hours worked: six.
I am not proud.
It wasn’t the job. The actual job part was easy.
It wasn’t the boss. The woman who owns and runs the business was great.
It was the thought of doing it forever that was sending me into a hyperventilating panic. So, I followed my mother’s advice for once and I quit right away.
Her advice wasn’t actually job related when she gave it to me all those years ago. It was boy related but I feel it applies to all things. In my twenties, I proudly told her I was leave New York and moving to Chicago for a boy and I waited for her to freak out.
But Mom is not a freak-outer. That would be me. See the quitting job after six hours part above. Mom is the opposite; rational and composed, and logical. I dropped my moving to Chicago bomb and Mom calmly told me this gem of advice I have applied to every situation since. “If” she said, “if it is not working, don't get married. It will just get worse.”
I didn't “marry” the job. I didn’t even date it for years before breaking up with it like I am wont to do. I quit it six hours in. And while I’m really sorry to have disappointed the owner, I am very sure that my decision was the right one. Husband and Father-in-Law are too. Six hours of work that doesn’t fit you produces a lot of angst that needs verbal airing. They are both sick of pretending to listen to me and nod in understanding.
Saturday morning I sent a short email to the boss lady, got a short email of understanding back and Saturday afternoon I returned all items to her. Done.
And then, on Saturday night, I walked into a party and the owner of the job I'd just quit was there. And I grabbed a glass of wine and proceeded to pretend it wasn’t an awkward situation as I made it more and more the most awkward one ever with crying and pointing and blame…
I’m just kidding. I am totally the person who would have that scenario happen to them but it didn’t happen this time – anywhere but in my head.
Unrelated to that weirdness that happens in my head, today is the first day of September, which can only mean one thing – I AM BACK ON THE INTERNET PEOPLE! Bring on your trash stories, your useless facts, your pictures of food that got cold while you were taking braggy pictures of it and then posting them, your political views posted in one hundred and forty characters or less... I am back to look at it all. Every last trashy piece.
Happy Labor Day everyone and welcome back my time-sucking friend.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me