My dear, confusing mother.

-

I’ve just returned from California. I spent several days spent in the company of my family, which is always a fascinating experience. Nothing makes me question reality more.

I’ve tried explaining to my friends that my relations see things differently than the rest of the world, but my point is often lost.

“All families are insane,” they say, nodding sympathetically. And then they’ll tell me about some aunt of theirs with an excessive collection of hat pins and no hats, and laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing is.

Hat pins! How delightfully zany!

It is all I can do not to grab them by the front of the shirt and gently hiss, “Really, pumpkin? HAT PINS? That’s the best you can do? Because until your auntie leads a massive police chase through your hometown while wearing nothing but a nightgown, I don’t want to hear about your damn hat pins.”

Until your mom gives you and your brother copies of Twilight: The Board Game for Christmas (with the enigmatic explanation of “You know how people who work for the same company always get the same gift from their bosses?”) YOU DO NOT HAVE GROUNDS FOR COMPLAINT.

Until your uncle steers your auntie (a different one; not the police chase one) through street traffic while she’s in a wheelchair BECAUSE HE SAYS THE ROAD IS SAFER THAN THE SIDEWALK, you can just sit down and hush up.

Trust me. I win the crazy family pageant. I have sashes upon sashes which I layer upon my body like a straight-jacket.

But just in case there was any doubt, let me share with you a rather interesting exchange I had this past Thanksgiving weekend with my mom.

I don’t actually remember how it began (really, who can say how the seeds of madness are sown?), but it had something to do with Halloween. My mother was remarking that sometimes people dress up as unfavorable historical characters to make a political statement.

I disagreed with her assertion. For example, I think when Prince Harry dressed up as a Nazi several years ago, he wasn’t so much making a statement as he was making a grievous error in judgement (for which he later apologized). I said as much to my mother.

“I think dressing up as someone – even for Halloween – is a tacit endorsement of them. So you have to pick someone you are a fan of. You can make a political statement, but it has to be someone favorable,” I said, thinking of this clip from Louis C.K.’s show. “Otherwise, it’s just bad taste.”

“So then why did Rand dress up as a pedophile for Halloween?” my mother replied.

“Wait, WHAT?”

“Rand’s costume …”

“Yeah?”

“He was Jerry Sandusky.”

“Wait, WHAT?”

“The Boy Scout costume he wore.”

“Wait, WHAT?”

“Didn’t Rand dress up as Jerry Sandusky?”

“Wha … no. NO. NO. NO. Why would you think that?”

My mother sighed in frustration. BECAUSE CLEARLY I AM THE CRAZY ONE. She then explained to me that she was under the impression that this year, Rand had dressed up as former assistant football coach and convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

For the record, here is a photo of Rand and I on Halloween.

-

We dressed up as the kids from Moonrise Kingdom. On Facebook, I noted this, mentioning that Rand’s character’s name was Sam Shakusky, and that I had dressed up as Suzy Bishop.

Now, I haven’t really been able to follow my mom’s logic (because I’m pretty sure there isn’t any) but here’s how it went:

  • She has not seen Moonrise Kingdom, so she obviously didn’t get the reference. That’s totally reasonable, actually. I asked her why she didn’t simply think we were characters from a movie that she hadn’t seen. After all, my posts on Facebook mentioned the film title. She said she “didn’t see the movie mentioned”. She just saw the photo and figured we were making a political statement.
  • She claimed Jerry Sandusky was involved with the Boy Scouts, so Rand’s scouting costume was pretty self-explanatory. (Incidentally, Sandusky was never involved with the Scouts.)
    -
  • I asked her why she assumed that Rand was dressed as Jerry Sandusky, and not, say, a generic Boy Scout, and she said once again, that she thought it was part of the political statement we were so obviously making.
  • When asked about my costume, she said she thought that I was Jerry Sandusky’s wife, Rose. And that I had worn pink as a reference to her name.
    -
  • I feel it pertinent to note that Jerry Sandusky’s wife’s name is not Rose. It’s Dottie. And she doesn’t wear pink, nor does she have long brown hair. She also stood by her husband during all of his molestation charges. Ick.
  • My mother also noted that she saw a lot of photos online of people dressed similarly to us. When I asked her about this, reasoning that it seemed strange that everyone else would have the same vague costume that we did (and also the same horrific taste as to think dressing up as a pedophile and his doting wife would SOMEHOW BE A GOOD IDEA), she did note that she thought it a little weird. But then she just figured we were all making the exact same political statement.
  • When I asked (assuming that we had somehow thought it would be a good idea to dress as Jerry Sandusky and his wife) why we wouldn’t have gone with more obvious costumes, my mother remarked that she simply thought we were “being artistic.”
  • I asked her if she thought it was strange that all our friends noted how cute we looked when I posted the pictures on Facebook. She admitted that had alarmed her a bit, but not enough to rethink the situation.

And that’s it. That’s my mom’s reasoning behind why she thought that this rather sweet scene …

-

… was actually us recreating a pedophile and his twisted, enabling wife.

Although in hindsight, it does explain the confusing phone conversation my mom and I had shortly after Halloween.

Me: Did you see our costumes?

Mom: I did.

Me: Weren’t they adorable?

Mom: Um …

Me: You didn’t think the costumes were cute?

Mom: Well … you know, you made a statement. Which is what you wanted to do.

After I explained to my mom what our costumes actually were, I think she felt a little guilty about her assumption that we would dress up as people as reprehensible as Jerry and Dottie Sandusky. After she and I had cleared the air (which took the better part of an hour, mind you), she posted a picture of me and Rand to her Facebook wall. Note my brother’s reply.

-

I thought his comment was hilarious. Mom didn’t appreciate it all that much. But I’ve learned that she and I? We see things differently.

«
»

Comments (21)

  1. 1
    Ken says:

    I haven’t seen Moonrise Kingdom yet, though I have seen enough press about it to get your costumes, but you have to admit that without his beard Rand does kind of look like a… never mind.

  2. 2

    O.K. You win the family pathology award, but only for this year. Next Thanksgiving it’s u
    p for grabs again. (Just out of curiousity, when your mother was still in charge of your Halloween costumes, what did she dress you as?)

  3. 3
    anonymprolous says:

    HAHAHA..I now present you with the “crazy family” award!

  4. 4
    Kayla says:

    I still can’t breathe.

    It’s the running joke that my extended family would be a rather popular reality show, but your family may just beat all.

  5. 5
    wacky tacky says:

    I am trying not to laugh hysterically as I work in a rather un-hysterically funny office, but this post makes me so happy that stifling my guffaws is difficult! Thank you for sharing this. Families are crazy; yours might be exceptional!!!

  6. 6
    Ethel says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. Laughing out loud. I hadn’t seen the movie either, but made different assumptions. I wasn’t sure if it was a pop culture reference I was missing, or a joke that Rand is the honorable “boy scout” of the SEO world.

    My family passes through “crazy” and into “let’s set some healthy boundaries” territory. However, even that produces some great stories. Several of them involve the police. Fortunately, I married into a much calmer family. My husband comes from some truly sane folks – nice, welcoming, and so on. They are human, they do have their family history and political disagreements, but they somehow manage to still get along.

  7. 7
    Winopants says:

    Hehe, my mom too suffers from “swiss cheese brain”- information goes in, gets a little lost, then comes out anew to be part of her own neatly fashioned alternate reality.
    Name that sounds like sandusky+boyscouts= pedophile. Of course!
    The only thing that doesn’t add up is: why would your husband be dressed as a pedophile???
    That idea alone should have forced her to analyze her assumption a little more carefully

  8. 8

    Ahem. She gave us identical copies of “TheTwilight Saga: Eclipse: The Board Game”. It’s was the board game based on the third film.

    Also, it is very easy to follow Mom’s chain of logic. Jerry Sandusky wears glasses. Rand is also wearing glasses. Jerry Sandusky’s last name is Sandusky. Rand is dressed as someone named Shakusky… And Mom also has a terrible habit of skimming and then creating wild hypotheses based on those tenuous threads. It’s a bit like what an FBI profiler does.

  9. 9
    Helene says:

    hahaha oh my god. that is hilarious. and awesome. my mom would never get it either. these costumes are awesome.

  10. 10
    Janet T says:

    G- since we become our parents as we grow older, you have so much to look forward to. I hope you are still blogging ( or whatever it will be) in 20 years, just to see what you might post.

  11. 11
    Jerusha says:

    For the record, I did see Moonrise Kingdom and was wholly impressed with your costumes. In fact, I wanted to write to you and ask if you’d sell them to me because I think my husband and I could totally pull it off. But if it was at all confusing to some people this year about who you were dressed as, then next Halloween the assumptions could get even wilder…

  12. 12
    Kristina Cline says:

    Yup, you win. Granted I have cousins that are technically not my cousins but I still call them my cousins because its easier. But that is a whole ‘nother crazy to deal with. I applaud you for your bravery in coming through this conversation, and helping your mother on the other side, truly you have strong brain cells.

  13. 13
    Jamie says:

    Best blog yet. Thank you for making me smile.

  14. 14
    Andrea says:

    So. Freaking. Hilarious.
    As a sidenote, I actually watched Moonrise Kingdom after having seen your post about your halloween costumes (fabulous movie)!

  15. 15
    CatCatAttack says:

    Seems like she saw S-x-x-x-usky, and her brain inserted Sandusky because she’d read it recently in the news and Shakusky was not in her brain.

  16. 16
    Lauren says:

    What about when the unfavorable person you dress up as is Sarah Palin? Does it depend on the level of despicableness or should all crazy people costumes be avoided?

    • 16.1
      Everywhereist says:

      Ooh – good point, Lauren. Personally, I think politicians are fair game, especially if your biggest gripe is that you disagree with their politics (for example, I think dressing up as Romney or Obama or Palin or Hillary is totally okay. But dressing up as Hitler is out of the question).

      But it does seem like I’m splitting hairs. Still, I think it’s far more acceptable to dress up as Palin than it is to dress up as Sandusky.

  17. 17
    Laura says:

    I think this should concern the Boy Scouts more than anyone. That their image is so closely associated with pedophilia? Hilarious.

  18. 18

    I feel your pain and I assume that you have dealt with your family in the same way that I have, moving far enough away that when you do see them their nuttiness seems quaint and not, well, nutty.
    My mother and aunties refused to eat fish for years after the 2006 Boxing Day tsunami. Why? Because the fish were eating all of the dead bodies that had washed out to sea and eating fish made you a cannibal.
    I thought she was joking when she first told me but after a few years (seriously she did not eat fish for YEARS after this) and many lectures on what I was eating (you know the raised eyebrow, concerned pat on the arm, “really?” that is meant to suggest that you are the crazy one) I stopped talking about fish.

  19. 19
    Tori says:

    This is great! I haven’t seen the film either, but I would have never guessed Jerry Sandusky and “Rose” Sandusky. That is a great guess! ;)

  20. 20
    Philip says:

    Even though you told me this story, I still wandered over here five weeks later to read it. It is no less confounding now than it was then. And even though I somehow I think I am not supposed to like your brother (Did I take a loyalty oath? I don’t remember.) I lurched forward so quickly after reading his comment that I almost banged my forehead on my monitor.

Leave a Reply