Ammo Grrrll returns with THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID AND SOME I DID. She writes:
Last year I found myself in a fancy Palm Desert resort when a well-dressed woman with a San Francisco address on her convention nametag approached me. Did I know any good restaurants? I suggested Peppers, my favorite Thai place. But I misunderstood what she was getting at. “No,” she said, in a tone you would use with a slowish child, “Not good like that – CLEAN.” “Well, the food is the best Thai I’ve ever had, and the bathroom is spotless.”
“Not clean like that – clean food! My husband eats so clean, you should see him when he comes down here – he looks years younger than his age.”
I did not say, but should have: “You should see my mother. She made me brown sugar sandwiches on Wonder Bread. Her lard piecrust is the flakiest you will ever eat. She always cooked with a crock of bacon grease she kept under the sink. Did I mention she’s well on her way to 94 and looks to be somewhere in her late 70s?” (See Exhibit A below.)
Many years ago I was tired of being overweight, and determined to lose 20 lbs. (Again.) As usual, I succeeded. During that small window between thrilling success and inevitable relapse, a woman who had not seen me in awhile came up to me at an event and said in a very loud voice: “Oh my Gawd, you’ve lost a MILLION pounds.” Yes, that’s right – not a hundred, not a thousand, but a million pounds. And I did not say, but should have: “You hit the nail right on the head! You should be a weight guesser at the Fair! Yes! I have lost exactly a million pounds and now I can move from the Grand Canyon back into my home.”
My mother is a very frugal lady, tighter than elm bark. She was raised dirt poor in the Depression. She thinks any homemaker who does not mix up her own juice from concentrate is a hopeless spendthrift. She will water down condiments until the day when you have Lake Ketchup all over your burger, your plate and the table. She has never thrown out any food. At a restaurant, she has been known to ask for a to-go box for half a chicken wing and two peas. She frequently will approach a family member with a Tupperware container whose contents are only lightly-tinged green and say, “Here, eat up this beef; I think it’s going bad.”
To which I HAVE said, “Oh boy, give me a big plate of that Beef Going Bad, Mama. How do we know we got it in time?”
The last private gig of my standup career before retirement was in front of teachers at their late August in-service before the start of school. I was the final speaker of the day. I had listened to many administrators and the Keynoter who was a Diversity Drone from the state. She seemed a nice, sincere person, even though she arrived forty minutes late for her speech keeping hundreds of people waiting. There was probably a diversity emergency somewhere.
The main thrust of the entire day’s remarks had been that there was an achievement gap between the white students and the students of color as they are called today. (Thank God it’s not the bad old days when they were called colored students). SOMETHING – the teachers, society, racism, poverty – was responsible for this gap! Definitely not the students themselves. Gap, gap, gap, gap, gap. They were FAR more concerned about the GAP than about everyone’s simply mastering the material, perhaps by — oh, I don’t know – studying harder. Or at all.
There is a certain delicious freedom in knowing the gig is your last. I entertained the crowd and then ended with: “I have an idea. Since it’s the GAP between the white and minority students that you find so upsetting, why don’t you just encourage the white students to do WORSE?”
There was a brief stunned silence and then the room burst into laughter and applause. Maybe there is some hope yet for our country.