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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Lead Butt and the Local News

newsI messed with the universe at 4:45 a.m. when I decided not to walk the dog.

This is a big deal. Trust me.

I walk the dog every morning at the same time, the same route and often in the same clothes. A real serial killers dream: a creature of habit who is still half-asleep.

But I just couldn’t do it




So, I made coffee and sat in a chair instead. The day had not begun and I was exhausted.

After pretending I was writing and faking general productivity for a few hours, it was time to get my son, Mac, to an in-car driving lesson through his Drivers Ed program.

I should have freshened up, but who was going to see me? No one. So, sweatshirt, yoga pants and glasses it was.

The outfit ruled my decision to head home. Though it wasn’t super convenient to get back in the car an hour later to fetch him. I didn’t even look presentable enough to take my computer and fake some more writing at Starbucks.

When I am alone in the car, I turn up the 80’s music and pretend I am jamming to the 8-track in my ’70 Mustang like back in the day. Right in the middle of some rockin’ 38 Special, I noticed that I had missed two calls on my phone.

Not recognizing the number, I sang on. When the same number came through again moments later, I figured I better answer.

As a mom, any time I get a call that has to do with my kids, I assume they did something wrong. Which bears out my number one mothering mantra “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.”

So, when the caller identified himself as the owner of the driving school, my heart raced. Accident? Lack of skills? Did I leave him at the wrong location?

My son was safe. Phew.

But what he said next almost gave me a heart attack. It turned out the local news was doing a story on distracted teen driving and wanted to interview my son.

And me.

Filming. With a camera. Without photoshop. In daylight.

I was living every 50-year-old woman’s nightmare.

Glancing at the car clock, I calculated that I had 30 minutes to lose 20 pounds and grow five inches taller in order to appear even reasonably attractive on camera.

My number two mothering mantra is “never let them see you sweat,” so of course I agreed to be interviewed.

Thirty outfit changes and one pair of heels later, I arrived to get my son.

They filmed him driving with his instructor, asked us questions, we answered into the big honkin’ microphone and chatted for a few minutes afterward.

I was sure they had no idea I was a slightly taller, primped-up version of my daily self. I mean there are moms that actually make the effort to look that good every day. I just don’t associate with those moms.

Generally relieved not to have barfed from nerves, Mac and I rewarded ourselves with Starbucks. Now, I looked good enough to hang there.

And that is when the email hit my inbox. An email from the school nurse is like a notice from the IRS. Someone is going down.

I had to read the email three times to really absorb it, but this was the gist..

“I don’t know how to tell you this…. It seems Drew sat down on a pencil and now has pieces of lead/graphite in his right buttocks. I am not allowed to retrieve anything or attend to it because of the location. It will need attention when he gets home.”

Apparently, I should have walked the dog because karma just bit Drew in the ass.

That is the third unwritten mantra of motherhood, “Everything is my fault.”

After an eternal and awkward conversation with Drew he assured me he could survive the last few hours of the day leaning on one cheek.

I found out that “Pencil-gate” was a prank gone awry. The prankster never thought to remove the pencil before Drew plopped down (forcibly it would seem) on the chair.

And the word girl had no words. Really.

We could film a new reality show “School Sent Me to the ER.”

Now, the reason I spent the entire morning pretending to work was because my husband was home doing actual work. So, my morning routine of Trivia Crack and Bravo was all busted up.

I was all annoyed at him for lurking around and messing up my schedule. That is until it came time to take tweezers to someone’s rear parts.

This job had his name all over it.

See, this is why you have sons. So daddy can take care of strange injuries to boy parts and sex talks.

I gathered the tools. Tweezers, check. Rubbing alcohol, check. Cotton balls, check. Band aid, check.

And then I ran for the hills. No 14-year-old boy wants mom in the vicinity of dropped trou’ and general picking in the privates.

Ten minutes later, three pieces of lead were extracted and everyone appeared unscathed medically and psychologically.

In all the hubbub I almost forgot to turn on the news for our 15-minutes of fame.

No sooner had my husband slapped a band aid on Drew’s cheek, then the trailer for our story appeared on the screen.

Moments later, my beautiful boy filled the screen. He was eloquent and didn’t say “like” or “um” a bunch of times. I was so proud. And then they flashed to me. It was a horrible side view filmed while we were chatting after the real interview. Where was my eloquence and casual head tilt when I was looking right at the camera? I got robbed.

I have no idea what I said because the visual of my enormous face on the TV screen shut down my hearing. There was no shot of my carefully chosen outfit. I didn’t look tall. I looked like I always do. Which was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

And this is, of course, the moral of story.

You are who you are. Keep doing what you do. Because posing as anything different just turns out to be a pain in the ass.

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Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.


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