CrowBiz

…funk for the old soul…

Ma Barker Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me

Posted by crowbiz on June 1, 2009

Recently, my first-grader was composing sentences for his weekly spelling words, a task he normally completes on his own or with minimal assistance.  One of his words was “pay.”   He jolted me to attention when he shouted out, “Mom, I know one:  ‘Pay up, sucka!'”

After complimenting his quick thinking, I gently suggested he generate a different sentence, one that would be less likely to evoke visions of our household as Little Gangland on the Prairie.  He knew he was being funny, but only a bit.  Mainly, he was echoing similar statements I make when poring over the orders and accounts, sending out the polite but clear emails and reminders about “following through.”  Given my wordy nature, I get more wrapped up in it than I intend, then become exasperated and just blurt something like his sentence above.  At first I felt a wave of embarrassment, like when you hear your toddler saying “How many times have I told you…?” to his stuffed animals.  Then, while steering him toward a more appropriate homework sentence, the shame was replaced with a kind of dark pride that my kid was on my side and could potentially be my mouthpiece.

 

Ma sent us

Ma sent us

Would they go to bat for me?  Would they go to the mat for me?  Would they (cliched sports analogy) if I gave the word?  Maybe I could make use of them one day, not too far off, and send them to do my dirty work.  Well, nothing I do is particularly “dirty,” but I bet they’d love to be charged with some of my business dealings, especially ones that could require weapons.  “Boys!”  I’d holler through teeth clenching a stubby cigar, “Git down here.  I got some work for youse!”  There at our dimly lit table, I’d rifle through some manhandled unpaid invoices and shove a few into each kid’s grubby, waiting hand.  “Take care a’ these, how ’bout?”  They nod because they know what that means:  come home with the money and maintain mama’s approval.  She’s too old to do the face time anymore; gotta protect the old broad;  she gave us life, dint she?

 

Boys loving their mommies is a universal law that makes it good to be queen.  Unless you’re a pretty rotten mother, you’re safe, and I’m sure I haven’t slipped that far yet; it’s a long way to go before your boy-child, whatever his age, rejects you.  If you don’t believe me, refer to Russell Crowe in the film 3:10 to Yuma.  Though bound and seemingly powerless as a captured outlaw, he somehow manages to kill a man who insinuates that his mother’s hygiene and morals are sub-par. “Even bad men love their mamas,” he summarizes.  Unfortunately, their willingness to kill for you does not ensure that they will pick up their wet towels or remember to put their bikes away when told.

 

 

Trouble with a capital G & R - "GRouble"?

Trouble with a capital G & R - "GRouble"?

As anyone can clearly see, these boys do not inspire much fear.  Rather than apologetically fork over the dough, anyone confronted by them is more likely to say, “Honey, tie that shoe.”  Ah ha, but that’s the beauty of it – you’d be sadly mistaken, for their powers are great.  They need no weapons, they require no arm strength, they can dispense with threatening statements.  They just need to show up.

 

 

SonWon:  SonWon is almost constantly happy.  And chatty.  He’s clever and quick, and would likely talk and charm you out of anything he came for.  It’s worth repeating that he’s chatty, because therein lies your downfall.  While inquiring about your day at work, singing, and trying to recount the plot of all seven Harry Potter novels, he’d be able to pick you clean and depart with one of his shoes missing, leaving both of you smiling.  He’s so confident, that soon after his friendly deception, he’ll come back and ask if you’d like to play a game of chess, and he’ll kindly point out when you’re about to make an unwise move.  Unconcerned about being found out, he’ll probably still have your wallet and important papers stuffed into his pocket with candy wrappers and a few bottle caps.  Chat you up a little more.  Just for being so winsome, you’ll want to give him a little something for the candy store, but when you reach for your wallet, it isn’t there, and neither is he.  Wherever he’s gone to will be a mystery, since SonWon forgets everything at approximately 30-second intervals, and the odds are poor that he can find his way home.  But he’ll be happy, whatever the outcome.

SonToo:  If, by looking at SonToo’s hair, you cannot gain insight into his character, you are not very perceptive.  He does not need many words, and the ones he chooses, while not eloquent, cannot fail to be heard.  This is the “Pay up, sucka!” that you ignore at your peril.  I can still pick him up like he’s a monkey in candy-striped undies, but he has the force of an F5 tornado and the subtlety of 20 fingernails down the chalkboard. Don’t even think you’re going to outlast him – just plan on giving in and making your life 72 hours better.  SonToo will chew rocks, split your ears, and sit out in the rain, but he ain’t going away.  During all this, however, he may ask you to adjust his socks, because he just can’t stand feeling that little thready thing on his third toe, and it could lead to a lot of tears.  A laser beam on fine-tune, he’s a meticulous, relentless machine.  With a lot of tears.  And shouting. At 7, he routinely wins at poker against adult men who are not throwing the game. One of his more cheerful ruses involves quickly snatching the enemy’s dinner plate when he/she is up from the seat (a constant occurrence at our meals), and placing it on the chair.  He zips back to his own place and waits for the victim to return and sit on the pot roast and asparagus.  Casseroles are favored for this ploy.

If these two show up together at your front door, it’s been nice knowing you.

 

Misunderstood Ma

Misunderstood Ma

My original intent was to portray myself as a modern day Ma Barker as described above.  Turns out, after a cheap online search that I would scald my students over, the myth done got busted good.  Bible of the Lazy, Wikipedia, tells us that Mrs Barker was no more the engineer of a criminal empire than she was a Supreme Court nominee.  It seems she just happened to be the mother of a couple of gun-slinging, society-defying, ham-handed miscreants, and like most mothers, was not eager to turn her babies over to the law, no matter how stupid or wayward they were.  Time, a lack of instant media outlets, the feds, and a public hungry for lurid romanticism turned Ma into the pistol-packing mother of villainy we think of, when really, she probably just did a crappy job raising her sons. 

 

I can only dream of such a snazzy revisionist misunderstanding, even if I do get shot dead in the end.

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6 Responses to “Ma Barker Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me”

  1. Hahaha!
    Okay, this whole thing gave me a good laugh!

  2. everydaycreate said

    Your kids sound great. I’m glad that they have a mama like you who can appreciate them!

  3. dr_wisz said

    Nice portrayal of your kids. I like the descriptions, wait ’til they find it and read it someday.

  4. JD said

    A nightmarish future:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,524299,00.html?test=latestnews

  5. so, if anyone ever gives you trouble, you know who to go to!

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