This isn’t a long post, but I’m tired of having a Word file called “child sex murders” on my desktop waiting for something to come a long and flesh it out.
I wouldn’t say I have a love/hate relationship with my mother, but it is something like love/extremely exasperated love. One of Mom’s favorite things is true crime, which somehow serves as an escape for her. She had a small stroke in 2009, and spent all the time she was in the hospital and didn’t have visitors watching crime shows on TV. Somehow, her healing brain got stuck on the switch:
TC: How are you today?
Mom: Oh, mending. I was watching about child sex murders on TV.
TC: Okay, if that’s what’s on, I guess… I brought you some cheese. Do you think you can eat a little?
Mom: Maybe. Help me unwrap it. Can you imagine?
TC: Imagine what?
Mom: How evil those people are. To abduct a child and kill it just because you’re a pervert.
TC: Well, no. Have you heard from physical therapy yet?
Mom: Yeah, they’re designing a program. Vicious bastards.
TC: It’s therapy, it’s not supposed to be pleasant.
Mom: No, not PT. Child murderers. They had one guy on who actually bought…
TC: I SEE YOUR PARENTS SENT YOU AN IRON PLANT IT SURE IS PRETTY I ALWAYS THINK IT’S NICE TO GIVE A LIVE PLANT AND NOT CUT FLOWERS BECAUSE THEN IT STAYS ALIVE AND THEN YOU…
Mom: Why are you so jumpy? I don’t want to talk about that iron plant. Settle down.
Mom: Anyway, this one killer was so sneaky, he…
I’m exaggerating, but barely. It loses some grandeur in print; I’ve gotten so good at telling it that friends of mine think of it as her trademark story:
Rob: How’s your mother? I thought about her the other day for some reason… oh, there was that awful murder in Brooklyn.
Later that night, of course:
Mom: Oh, I didn’t call for any special reason, just checking on you. Did you hear about that terrible murder in Brooklyn?
On a side note, people have occasionally told me, “Your stories remind me of Augusten Burroughs. Have you ever read Running with Scissors?” I finally did, and now I don’t know how to respond. Nothing that ever happened to me was quite that dramatic, but at the same time I can’t genuinely say “no” if someone asks me, “Have you ever had a depressing sexual experience in a hovel full of mental patients?” Also, if the recipe for literary success is “be gay and know a lot of crazy people,” I’ve got a lock on the Burroughs-Sedaris market.