I went home for a few days last week to regroup after a turbulent July. And if laughter is the best medicine, then my mom helped me make a full recovery. If you've been following along for awhile you already know that she's good at this. But for those of you who are new, here's a brief primer:
Reason Why I Love My Mom #1: The Panini Problem
For some reason, the word "panini" was not included with my mom's internal vocabulary list. It usually comes out as "pa-nan-ni" or, my personal favorite, "pa-nay-nay." There is almost always a complicated arrangement of vowels involved, none of them including a long "i" sound. This has gone on for so long now that she can't even place the order. She'll say the first part: "I'd like a (Turkey Cranberry, Chicken Salad, Grilled Vegetable, etc)..." and then she'll stop, look at me, and burst into laughter while attempting to say something that sounds like "panini."
Few things bring me more joy.
Except for when she tells me the dangers of "high-corntose fruit syrup" on the way home. (Which, to her credit, she knows is high-fructose corn syrup. It just got jumbled, what with all of the stress over panini ordering.)
Reason Why I Love My Mom #2: You Never Know What's Coming
Sometimes it's not what she says, but what she does that catches me by surprise with a good laugh. Like when I turned around at Giants training camp to see that she had rearranged her sunhat from normal to ghetto:
(Hi, Dad! I love you too!)
Reason Why I Love My Mom #3: What's In A Name?
Last but far from least, there's the ever-increasing list of conversations that include the naming of people who either do not exist or are not anywhere close to involved in the situation. My favorite occurrence of this phenomenon is when Nnamdi Asomugha became Benjamin Netanyahu for the entirety of the 2010 offseason. One day last week we were talking about football and I thought we were talking about the same person until she started talking about the fate of poor "Vladimir." There may well be someone in the NFL named Vladimir but no one came to mind so I asked, "Wait...who?" Which caused her to look at me quizzically and then laugh while asking, "Well isn't that his name?" So I asked, "Who's name?"
This is always my favorite part:
Yes. It's all so clear now.
Turns out "that guy" in question is Jonathan Vilma. My mom is fond of referring to these missteps as "right church, wrong pew," although on this one I think we were in completely different buildings. Down the street. In another state.
What's even better than quoting a different name than intended and expecting me to follow is quoting NO NAMES AT ALL and expecting me to follow, as per this conversation:
Mom: "I really like Bobby Flay's new show."
Me: "Three Days to Open?"
Mom: "Yeah! And I'm really glad he ended up going out on a high note."
Me: "Bobby Flay?"
Me: "Oh, Michael Phelps?"
Me: "...How did we get here?"
Mom: Uncontrollable laughter.
Mom, don't ever change. You bring me so much joy.