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Humor December 2015

Laverne's View

Flaws I'm Forced to Accept

By Laverne Bardy

I was shocked to see mothers weeping and hanging onto their youngster's shirt tails, unable to say goodbye. It was then that I knew something was seriously wrong with me. All I felt was pure, unadulterated glee, as I bounced up and down, waved pom poms and cheered:  "Hip, hip, hooray! Children goin' away. Soon as she gets outta' here, Mama's gonna play."

I am a defective woman. I was born without several gender-defining genes: the House Cleaning gene, the Shopping gene and, most devastating, the Motherly Instinct gene. Somehow I've made it through life without these components, but efforts to conceal or make light of my deficits have often lead to deception, embarrassment and, yes, even an occasional lie.

Back in the ‘40s, I watched my mother sing as she crouched on all fours and scrubbed the kitchen floor. She hummed while she dipped clothes in liquid starch and ironed every single thing that came off of the clothes line, including underwear and sheets. I felt great comfort knowing that one day I would carry on such womanly traditions.

But, something horrible happened a few weeks into my marriage. My tall husband discovered dust on top of the refrigerator and I was smacked in the face with the horrifying reality that everything in the house was supposed to be cleaned and I was the designated cleaner.

And then that same new husband opened his underwear drawer, sniffed each undershirt and pair of shorts and said, "They smell sour," so he tossed them onto the floor and insisted that everything be re-washed. Then he left for work.

I had already done laundry that month, and had no intention of repeating the chore, so I picked up each item, re-folded it, and placed it back into his drawer. The next morning when he again initiated the sniff test he asked, "Did you re-wash these?" Not wanting to lie, I responded with, "Do they smell sour?" He re-sniffed, said they smelled fine, put them on and left for work.

So much for "Me Man, You Woman."

A number of years later I stood in a parking lot with my three young children and roughly a hundred others, all waiting to board buses that would take them to eight weeks of sleep-away camp. I was shocked to see mothers weeping and hanging onto their youngster's shirt tails, unable to say goodbye. It was then that I knew something was seriously wrong with me. All I felt was pure, unadulterated glee, as I bounced up and down, waved pom poms and cheered: "Hip, hip, hooray! Children goin' away. Soon as she gets outta' here, Mama's gonna play."

It happened again when they went off to college. I scratched my head while listening to friends sob as they watched their college-bound children pack. I actually had to grab one girlfriend by the collar, shake her silly and remind her of the time her son was caught smoking pot behind the police station, and her daughter came home from a party drunk, and her other son demolished her five-week-old car. I described the impending joy of doing laundry only once a week, of sitting in the bathroom without the pressure of someone banging on the door to get in, of cleaning the house, leaving for the day, and returning to find it exactly as she left it. I encouraged her to think about candlelit dinners and uninterrupted romantic evenings with her husband. She ended up dumping her son on the college campus a week before registration.

Then there's shopping. I like to think there are other women out there who also detest it, but if they exist I've not met them. I once had a friend ask me to go window shopping with her. "I can't afford to buy anything," she said, "but, let's just go look."

Was she insane? Why on God's earth would I want to press my nose against a store window and stare longingly at something I had no intension of purchasing? That's got to be right up there with the futility of buying a dress two sizes too small because I believe some day I'll actually fit into it.

There is only one item I don't mind buying. Shoes. Emelda has nothing on me. I still have the same pointed four-inch spikes I wore in 1956 because I'm sure one day they'll be back in style. I think that the reason I enjoy buying shoes is because I don't have to struggle to get them up over my generous hips or down over my ample breasts. But, I suspect that's about to change; I saw boots in Nordstrom's the other day that came so high up the thigh, that the next step in shoe designs will surely include waist bands and buttons.

When that happens I'll buy a pair to go with the dress I bought that's two sizes too small.

 

Laverne's book, "How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?" is available at amazon.com and other online bookstores. Website: www.lavernebardy.com - E-mail her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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