Sunday, May 08, 2005

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

The Movie: Psycho, 1960 (Joseph Stefano, screenwriter, from the novel by Robert Bloch; Alfred Hitchcock, dir.)
Who says it: Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, a solitary innkeeper
The context: If you’re the last person on earth who hasn’t seen this movie, I’m not going to give it away. Let’s just say Norman’s close to his mother. Very close.
How to use it: To express creepy levels of devotion to one’s mom.

Here's a pet peeve -- no pun intended -- that might surprise you. Regular readers of this blog know that I am foolishly devoted to my dog, Dizzy, who is my constant companion and my most reliable source of entertainment and affection.

I do not, however, describe myself as Dizzy's "mom." In my imagination, Dizzy thinks of me not as "Mom," but as "That Lady."

People who describe their pets as their children strike me as not only sad, but a little offensive to people doing the real work of parenting.

My dog will never look me in the eye and tell me a lie. He'll never stay out too late and "forget" to call me. He'll never embarrass me in public -- okay, well, not deliberately. He might drive me crazy, but he'll never break my heart through carelessness or anger. And he'll never say he hates me or that he wishes he'd never been born.

I've done all of those things to my mother. So have my five siblings. And Mom, God bless her, never once kicked us out of the house or told us that she wished we'd never been born, either.

Instead, she set us an example of unwavering loyalty and infinite forgiveness. She raised six kids who now, after all the screaming and yelling, get along with each other and with both of our parents. We're productive members of society, and we rise up and call her blessed.

Thanks, Mom. And happy birthday to Sally Gawne, Mom's best friend, who is also one of the world's great mothers.

Happy Mother's Day.

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