Miscellany

My Mom’s a guru and I had no idea

I had no idea that all these years growing up that my Mom could have been one of these top paid gurus of today. She always had bits of advice and words of encouragement that shot out of her mouth like wild fire. She is brutally honest and blunt and makes no apologies. She shouldn’t have too either. Some schmuck goes to Tony Robbins and pays his mortgage to hear Tony say brilliant things like, “What do you think you should do?” or “I think you know the answer to that”. These people put their heads down and weep and shake their heads yes. Whenever I see this madness I hear my Mom’s voice.

“Are you shittin’ me? These people pay this guy thousands of dollars for him to tell them something they already know? Where the hell is my own TV show?”

On Financial Advice
Suze Orman says if you want to save money you have to spend less. No shit?! It sounds so simple Suze and kinda like common sense but how do I do that? Buy my book and I will tell you.

My Mom says, “If you ain’t got a pot to piss in why the hell do you have 1,000 TV channels?”. There’s your money saving advice. For free.

On Following your Dreams
When I was in high school and wanted my SAT scores sent to Bowling Green State University my guidance counselor looked at me and said, “BG is for smart people”. Yes, she was the guidance counselor. She was a gem, let me tell ya. I never had a solid direction in life and still don’t. All I know is I want to try it all and who says I can’t? Well, this beast tried but little did she know that my Mom is a guru. Mom to the rescue.

“Goddamn it, if Rod Stewart can be a singer then you can be anything you want too!!”
-My Mom

On Working with Assholes
Take that Hanley, you child dream stealing beast of a woman!! The public school system wasn’t fair and still isn’t. I wasn’t paying attention during a review for an Algebra exam in high school and the teacher sent me to the Principals office. The Principal and the teacher decided to call my Mom. After a little conversation they handed the phone to me, it went like this:
Mom: “What the hell is your problem?”
Me: “Ma, you know how these people are. I have a B average and the guys being a dick to me! The kid behind me who is failing and is sleeping and the teacher doesn’t say shit?”
**Teacher and Principal’s jaws dropped**
Mom: “Listen, you do your work, keep your mouth shut and get the hell out of there. I don’t like dealing with those people anymore than you do. If I have to talk to them again, I’m going to be pissed.”
Me: “Fine.”

This bit of advice gets me through my daily routine to this very day. I see madness every day at my job and within daily life. I do my thing and keep my mouth shut. I don’t talk at work and I don’t say anything when someone pushes on the train. I don’t like dealing with these people anymore than anyone else. I just need to make it home so I can sit on my couch and drink a beer. Maybe someone I actually care to be around will stop over.

On Becoming an Adult
My first job out of college I worked in Nashville. I was making $7 an hour at a bakery and driving a real beat up clunker. I loved that car though. One day I was heading down Old Hickory Boulevard when my car started making a thud, thud sound. I stuck my head out the window and saw my tire doing something you see in the movies. It was going all wobbly and crazy. I don’t know much about cars but this didn’t seem normal. I went to pull into a gas station when -BAM- my car came to an abrupt stop and I see my tire go across the boulevard and hop the curb and came to a rest in Dairy Queens parking lot. All pissed off, the first thing I did was call my Mom. She could tell by the anger and fear in my voice something was off.

Mom: “What the hell’s your problem?”
Me: “The tire just came off my car! My cars dead in the road and my tires in Dairy Queens parking lot!!”
Mom: “What the hell do you want me to do about it? I’m 500 miles away. Figure it out and call me back.”

Yup, she hung up. Sounds harsh but in that moment all my fear and anger went away. She was right. She wasn’t there to bail me out and I was alone in the world now. I did, because I had no choice, just that. I figured it out. I talked to a lady at work later that day who is a mother. She told me that was the hardest thing for my Mom to do but the right one. I believe this. I never was upset or angry at that moment or Mom. I actually tell this story because I think my Mom’s reaction turned a real screwed up incident into funny and real harsh reality of growing up story. My Mom was right, did the right thing and I’ve been figuring it out ever since and doing well.

On Being a Good Person
The thing I admire most about my Mom being a guru is that she’s not highly paid but gives more than anyone I know. My Mom and Dad didn’t have a lot of money but we lived like we did. According to my Mom this was possible because “we have checks”. I recall my Mom retrieving the mail with a sigh, “Oh no”. It was a letter from the bank about yet another bounced check. She would slowly open it in anticipation of what was inside but she knew. Opening the letter, “Son of a bitch!! I wrote that check yesterday. What did that cashier do? Walk the check over to the fucking bank after I wrote it?”. Clearly, Mom never picked up a finance book in her life. Because there are people out there like my Mom, Suze Orman is rich.

Bouncing checks and my Dad using a stapler to fix a shirt didn’t stop my parents from helping other people. There is always someone with less than yourself. I’ve learned this from my parents and it has made me thankful for every piece of Dollar Store cooking ware and furniture I own.

One fall afternoon my Mom and Dad decided to get rid of all mine and my brothers toys that had been stuck up the attic forever. Looking at all the large collection of Star Wars, Smurf, GI Joe and He-Man stuff that we had, I made the comment to my Mom that if she sold this stuff she could probably get some good money.

“Knowing a kid will have a Christmas is worth more to me than for any amount of money I could sell those toys.”

I’ll never forget this comment from my Mom. It’s burned into my brain just like the time I saw my parents having sex. It’s never going away. Whenever I want to sell some clothes or give them to a consignment shop, I think about what my Mom said. I would rather take those clothes and give them to someone in need.

It’s things like this that came out of my Mom’s mouth that have stuck with me. My parents weren’t selfish or greedy. My Mom has and does say some crazy shit and I would not have it any other way. It has all stuck with me through the years. All said in a funny way yet true and honest. Nothing malicious and never degrading. Good, wholesome and loving advice.

I can’t think of any one of these top gurus of today that’s as amazing as my Mom. She did a hell of a job with myself, my brothers and my Dad. I couldn’t be more lucky in life. For all that you do and are… I love you Mom and I thank you for everything!!

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