Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mommy's Day!

Some people worry about the adult that I've become, but those people should really take that up with my mom.

You see, two of my favorite childhood memories I have of my mom were when she was helping me to study for the Spelling Bee when I was in fifth grade. I was (and still am) a perfectionist, neurotic little bastard. To me, if I was misspelling a word, it wasn't my fault; the word on the list had to be wrong. I don't know how my mom put up with me, but she did.

She's holding this packet of words that she's had in her hands for the past couple of weeks helping me to study for the District competition. I remember trying to spell the word "yule." Yes. Yule. It's such a simple word. But you know how sometimes you think you're saying the thing that you're thinking but you aren't? Okay, that's probably just me.

So she says, "Yule."

"U-L-E. Next." I reply.


"What? U-L-E. Yule. Next." She probably misheard me.

"No." She laughs. This infuriates me.

I raise my voice, "U-L-E. YULE."

"NO!" She responds, still laughing, but giving me that sideways look like I'm the idiot in the room.

I'm never the idiot in the room. I'm supposed to be laughing at the idiot in the room, not her. It's a one syllable word. How am I misspelling it?

I grab the packet from her and scan down the page. There it is. Yule.

"U-L-E. I've been saying that!" Now I think my mom is just screwing with me. I briefly think over why this woman who I've come to know after eleven years would mess with my mind when she interrupts me.

"No. That's still wrong." Wrong? I read it off the piece of paper.

"U-L-E! U-L-E! U-L-E! Ohmygod it's Y-U-L-E." I don't know how, but at this point I'm still alive and not thrown in the trunk of a car and driven into a lake. Even after me being the biggest little asshole around (a title I would proudly hold until it's taken from me by a gimmicky midget prostitute in Reno), my mom laughed it off and still helped me study.

This next little anecdote will help you to understand even more how my mom has shaped me into the terribly immature man I am today.

As we were studying, we would run into problem words. No matter what, every time we'd come around to certain words I would have trouble with them. My mom, being the smart woman she is, gave me ways to remember them; little tricks. My brain was stocked with these tidbits of information that day at the Spelling Bee. There was one in particular that I had a fondness for and, as luck would have it, I was given that word during the Bee.

I'm sitting on stage in my white and blue vertically-striped button down shirt and my bright blue pants eagerly anticipating my next word. I walk up to the microphone and the announcer says, "Penitent."

I lock eyes with my mom in the audience who is snickering a little and I can't help but giggle.

I flash back to our study sessions.

"Okay, Kurt. Penitent."

"Penitent. P-E-N-E-T-E-N-T. Penitent." I look at her for approval.

"No. That's wrong again. Why don't we try something?"

Something to help me become the smartest person on the planet? Absolutely.

"Pretend that it's two words. It's like Penis plus Tent without the s."

Did my mom just say penis?

Up on stage I think to myself, "Penis + Tent - S = Penitent. I'm thinking of the word penis on a stage in front of a hundred people."

I wound up getting third place, losing on the word Dyspepsia, but I wouldn't have done nearly as well, or become the 27-year-old man who still laughs at the word penis, without the help of my Mom.

I love you, Mommy!

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