October 2004 Archives

Immaculate Degeneration

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1224.jpgMy mother is a very proper person. She never cursed (at least where we could hear her) when we were kids. She is a devout Catholic, goes to church every Sunday, and sings in the church choir. She even taught us that you were supposed to go into the bathroom to fart (though that one didnít really work if she wasnít around or stay with me past the day I moved out of the house).

But, strangley enough, my reaction when my brother emailed me the other day to tell me that she had been diagnosed as having immaculate degeneration was one of startled recognition.

If there is any one disappointment that my mother may have with how her seven kids turned out, it is most likely that one of us never grew up to be a tap dancing priest/nun. This is the dichotomy of my motherís psyche - a calling to faith mixed with a deep yearning to be involved in showbiz. How the two can coexist in reality is beside the point. Perhaps Gene Kelly dancing in the rain with a frock and collar is the image she had in mind. Anyway, none of us even came close, either in the faith or showbiz arenas.

She has dabbled herself. Singing in the choir seemed to be the acceptable outlet, though she has tried her hand at amateur acting, tryouts for voice over work, and a cool photo shoot at Headshots a few years back. But it appears that the choir gig just didnít have the showbiz pizzazz that could satisfy that psyche. She must have needed something more, something edgier.

This immaculate degeneration thing is new to me and Iím not sure what it entails. If I close my eyes and let my mind float free I can see visions of my mother wearing a nunís habit and bustier, or pinching a priestís butt and winking salaciously, or inviting the paperboy into the house with the promise that heíd see a miracle. Thatís not the mother we all knew, but it seems that none of us had any idea that this condition ever existed, so anything is possible.

I can see now that I was just ignoring the signs. The other day she told me that someone was ďa pain in the assĒ and I took that as her just getting grouchier, not raunchier. Then again I also failed to notice the slight swivel of her hips whenever she talks about Antonio Bandaras - but itís there, see for yourself the next time you visit her.

So I have to figure out a way to discuss this with her. If it were heart disease or athleteís foot it might be easier. It has to be done, though. I have to head into this before sheís picked up the first time for whatever an immaculate degenerate does. I have to be prepared for the photos or surveillance camera video. I need to be able to face her neighbors.

This is going to be a very difficult conversation.

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