My mother’s best prank

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

I considered myself a rather young man. At least I did until last Saturday. You see, I was at the mechanic getting an oil change and the waiting area was crowded. It was so crowded that I simply had no place to sit and enjoy my lunch while they serviced my car.

While holding my lunch in my hand—and screaming in my head knowing that chicken wings and French fries (but if my doctor asks you, it was tossed salad and air) were cooling at an uncontrollable rate—I acted hastily and tried to take advantage of what I thought were the last remaining moments of my youth. So, I sat out on the concrete stoop in front of the mechanic’s to enjoy my lunch.

And it all seemed to go pretty well. I enjoyed my lunch, bathing my “salad” in hot sauce and ketchup. Sounds like a good day, right? Wrong!

Somewhere around 4 p.m. that same gorgeous Saturday, after I got to work and sat for a bit, I got up to perform the simple task of getting water. But it was no simple task getting that water. My back seized up on me in a way I had never felt before.

I believe I mentioned in a past column that I once accidentally hit my mother in the back with a potato. What I didn’t tell you is that I made playful jokes, though somewhat cruel jokes in retrospect, at my mother’s expense in the days following our little potato incident.

At the height of my joking, my dear departed mother said to me, “Someday, son, you will know the kind of pain I’m feeling right now if you live long enough.” At the time, I couldn’t tell if what she said was her putting one of those legendary mothers’ curses on me or one of her usual harmless threats to end my life when I was being obnoxious.

But on Saturday, I realized that this was in fact the curse that all mothers had the ability to inflict on their offspring. My back felt like someone had, in fact, dropped a potato from the heavens (not pointing any fingers, Ma) and hit me square at the base of my spine. And I have been, up to and including as I write this column, in excruciating pain. All because I thought I was still young enough to sit on concrete.

Ever the optimist, though, I have taken the pain I’m feeling as a way of connecting with my mother. Even from beyond the grave, mothers have a way of getting you back and having the last laugh. I also see my tremendous pain as a sign that I have lived long enough to the butt of her funniest prank of all.

So, it’s official Suffolk, I’m old, because my back hurts. And it’s the funniest thing my mother has ever done to me. Luckily I’ll always act like a 12-year-old so I can appreciate all the other jokes my mom might throw down at me.