Oh Mother

It isn’t surprising my mom’s sense of humor rarely overlaps with mine. Case in point, here is her favorite joke from one of her favorite comedians, Carl Hurley:

Why was one side of the vee of geese longer than the other?

Cause there’s more geese.

When I tell this joke to other people to try to point out to my mother how truly unfunny it is, she always comes back with the same response:

“Jessica, you’re telling it wrong. It’s all in the delivery.”

By the same token, my mom doesn’t find what I find funny particularly amusing either. In high school, I attempted to read her exerpts of David Sedaris, who I believe to be the funniest writer living today. My mother, like me, doesn’t seem to understand the humor is in the delivery.

I think besides, “I love you”, the phrase my mother has uttered to me more than any other is this:

“Jessica, are you being sarcastic?”

She legitimately can’t tell when I am kidding. If I say, “Well, I’ll try to squeeze it in between slinging crack on the streets and selling my body to the denizens of Vegas,” Dolores is just as likely to assume it is a cry for help as she is to assume it is a joke. Without intonation to give her some context clues, she is generally at a loss of what I am telling her is real or fake.

“Now wait…did you actually tell your friend, "By all means, please tell me everything you find wrong with me. I love self-improvement.”

“No Mom, that was inner monologue.”

“I was about to say…”

Despite our inability to agree on what is funny and when I am being serious, there is one movie we can both agree is absolutely hysterical, and that movie is Albert Brooks’ “Mother”.

The flick came out in 1996, and, save for a couple of Golden Globe noms, disappeared not long after it surfaced, so most of you have probably never even heard of it. The basic gist is this: Albert Brooks plays a sci fi writer who wants to re-evaluate his love life after yet another failed marriage. He decides to move back in with his mother, who is played to absolute perfection by Debbie Reynolds. The two clash as parents and children do, mostly over food in some of the most memorable scenes from the movie:

What really is remarkale about this movie is that I watch it and sympathize with poor Albert Brooks, suffering through the barrage of food Reynolds is throwing at him. Meanwhile, my mother is on Reynolds’ side, finding the ridiculousness of a grown man moving back home to be the source of the humor.

That is the beauty of this movie. If you are a parent or a child, there is something to appreciate about how difficult it can be to talk to your parent or to talk to your grown kid. I adore my mom and, but I do like to poke fun at her on here, which she hates, frequently following up statements with, “You aren’t gonna put that on the internet, are you?” Even though the characters Brooks and Reynolds play in this film love to pick at one another, but it is because they fundamentally love each other too that this movie remains a Welman family favorite almost 20 years after its initial release.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s