Have you ever waved at someone you recognized, only to realize that you were looking at your own reflection in the mirror?

Have you ever been caught by the Schwan man singing in an off-tune baby voice–while dancing–with your dog?

When you ask your spouse or friend, “What do you think I am, stupid?” does he or she take a long time before replying?

I realized I was doomed to be one brick short of a full load on a childhood excursion with my parents, Mildred and Elmer.

Dad was driving 51/2 mph, the wrong way down a one-way street, with his blinkers still flashing from six blocks before.

Mom, wearing a shower cap over curlers, was raving about how friendly city people were, but how odd it was that they all waved with just one finger.

Then the bombshell hit.

Mom turned to dad, gave me a pat on the head, and exclaimed. “Think of it, Elmer! She will be just like us someday.”

I don’t think she was deliberately being cruel, but I didn’t sleep very well that night.

At that moment, I digested the bleakness of my future. I would be destined to scan the horizon, hoping no witnesses after I climbed into the wrong cars at drive-in theaters, asked department store mannequins for the time, and walked to the front pew of church with my dress tucked into my panty-hose.

Well, I’ve had enough.


I’m not a greedy person, but when my parents handed down attributes to their kids, I was kind of hoping for brains, a little coordination, maybe even money. I would have settled for anything–anything but THE CURSE.

But how do you tell someone you love that you think they are responsible for your elevator not reaching the top floor and not the obstetrician who dropped you on your head at birth?

I would have to be delicate.

“Mom. I think i’m starting to take after you and Dad.”

“Oh! You’re starting to burp a lot?”

“Mom, no.”

“You know, I can just look at cabbage and belch.”


“Oh, I know! Your underpants flew off the clothesline? Mine might not have made the news if your father hadn’t reported the missing weather balloon.”


Me, fitting the dizzy blonde stereotype even before I bleached my hair blonde.

“MOM! NO! My husband told me that I’m just like the dizzy blonde stereotype, except I don’t have a big chest or blonde hair. I fell into the toilet this morning. How was I supposed to know the seat was still up? My boss told me that he looked up in the dictionary under “nincompoop” and found MY picture. What’s really troubling is that this been one of my better days, and I owe it all to you and Dad.”

“Oh, Honey. We didn’t leave the toilet seat up.”

“No, Mom. What I’m trying to say is I’m starting to follow in your footsteps. Let’s face it. when was the last time you actually sprayed your armpits with deodorant?”

“Oh, silly! That was your father that used my hairspray for an antiperspirant–oh–and the Nair instead of the Preparation H. It was me that gargled with Pine-sol. Actually your father kind of liked it. You know how he likes the smell of pine trees.”

“Mom, sometimes I wonder what we did to deserve being the way we are.”

“Me, too. We sure are lucky, aren’t we?”

“For CRIPES sake, Mom! Haven’t you heard a word I said? We’re CURSED! Our light are on, but NOBODY’S HOME. There’s so much air between our ears that we’re in danger OF FLOATING AWAY like the Goodyear Blimp! Don’t-you-un-der-stand-what-all-of-this-MEEEEEEEEEEANS?”

“Oh, silly! Of course I do. What do you think I am? Dingy?”


 Thanks, Mom and Dad, for being funny, forgiving, and fabulous. I love and miss you. M

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