More Monkey Business

On this blog I’ve mentioned my mom’s pesky habit of dumping her unwanted crap on me. She has done this through a combination of smooth talking and brute force.

This is why I own a worthless statue of Don Quixote, a pair of worthless West German beer steins, and a terrible watercolor painting of a ten-speed bike.

And then there is the charcoal chimp. I made this drawing when I was 10. Upon completion, I named him Bonzo.

I’m not sure why I decided to draw a chimp. Maybe I liked the pensive expression on his face. Maybe he seemed easy to draw. I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that I hate chimps. Unlike other primates—like orangutans or silverback gorillas—chimps are mean. They’ll rip your face off just as soon as look at you. Curious George was a chimp, I believe, and he was an agent of chaos wherever he went.  If I had any influence in the Curious George universe, I would’ve euthanized the chimp and sentenced The Man in the Yellow Hat to 30 years of hard labor.  

But I digress. The point is, I drew Bonzo even though I hate chimps and gave Bonzo to Mom even though she doesn’t like chimps either. But Mom’s opinion on chimps doesn’t matter; according to an ironclad unwritten law, all moms are supposed to hang onto every piece of art crap their children make like it’s a little treasure. And they are supposed to continue doing this for the rest of their lives. 

These are the rules, people. I don’t make them, I just follow them.

But Mom flipped the script on me last fall. I invited her to my house and she brought Bonzo with her. Then she said something along the lines of, “If you don’t want it, get rid of it, but it’s not going back home with me.”

It was the ultimate Mom betrayal.

A few months later Christmas arrived. Mom gave my son, Alex, tickets to a Devils game. And it was through her generosity, I decided to give a Christmas gift to myself.

Long story short, as Mom and Alex were shouting themselves hoarse at a hockey game, I let myself into Mom’s condo, artfully hung Bonzo in the guest bedroom, and took my leave.

Mom doesn’t spend much time in the guest bedroom, so she didn’t notice Bonzo for a while.

About a week later I got the call.

Mom dispensed with the pleasantries. There was no “Hello.” No “What’s new?” No “Do you have a minute to talk?”

Instead, the first words out of her mouth was a hard edged, “Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be, huh?”

And I laughed for the next three days.

But my laughter was masking my fear. I know my mother. I know her tone. I had fired an opening salvo in the Crap Wars, and I would pay for my audacity.

The retaliation has not happened yet, but I know it’s coming. Germans are a cold people, and everyone knows that that is the best way to dispense revenge.

I need to set up defenses. Trenches. Maginot lines.

But I know it won’t matter.

A Blitzkrieg of crap will soon arrive on my doorstep. I see no way to prevent it.

Mom, come hell or high water, will make a monkey out of me.

39 Replies to “More Monkey Business”

  1. LOL…I am getting my stuff back too. My parents moved from a HUGE 3 story, 4 bedroom/2 bath cool old farmhouse to a SMALL 2 bedroom/1bath apartment in senior housing. I’m expecting to be flooded soon…..Can I send some to you? Give it to your mom.

  2. You’ve always known your Mom ‘s tendencies very well. Did you actually think you would not incur her wrath after “decorating her guest room”?
    Where is this treasure now? I have to tell you that she’s never told me about this event . . . . she’s probably still stewing about her revenge tactics!

  3. I have reshared my kidz stuff with them. Being half German means I ask first instead of the dump and run. So beware, Mike, you have genetics to contend with when you hit your sixties and beyond and suddenly say, “I can’t throw out the boy’s duck ashtray he made when he was six—I’m sure he wants it back.”

      1. But as the dad you probably love his art and will no doubt hang on it until his thirties, and will, despite your credo, end up giving it to him in a well-meaning gesture. It happens to the best of parents—trust me on this, Mike.

  4. Well, I don’t blame your mom for hanging onto Bonzo. It IS an unwritten rule everywhere, you know. But then moms reach a certain age where downsizing is sort of freeing. And we have to unload the crap but haven’t the heart to throw it away. My daughter commiserates with you, Mike. Let us know what happens next. 🙂

      1. Not well. She told me she hasn’t gone through the last bin of crap yet. I gave her some tips that she didn’t appreciate. Lol. Your mom and I are sharing a laugh.

  5. The kids that I never had are counting their blessings. BUT I do have my cousin’s children who think they are interested in the goodies I inherited from my grandparents. SURPRISE!

  6. I was probably 23 when my parents decided to move out of state. Like far enough, none of us could drive there. (I think that was to be taken as a hint.) lol My mother contacted each of us and said we needed to come get our stuff by a certain date or she was throwing it out. Since I just lived across town from them, I went and got my stuff. I don’t remember what exactly was behind Door #3, but it wasn’t her problem anymore.
    Now that I’m in my 60’s, just barely, I understand my mom and your mom.
    Mikey, you need to take the stuff your mom gives you and either keep it or throw it out. Take it to Goodwill if you can’t actually throw it out yourself. They’ll do it for you and you’ll never know.

    Here’s the perspective you need: You’re either going to get it now and throw it away, or you are going to have to deal with it when she dies, and then you’ll still have to clean out a ton of stuff. You’ll wish you had taken it all along.

    I have recently given my sons their baby books0, and school memory books. The school stuff had report cards in them. My oldest son after looking through his, “I thought I was a better student than that.” And I laughed.
    He has been the best about taking stuff like that and thanking me for sending it his way as it brought back some fun memories.

    My bottom line is, I won’t feel bad if they want to throw it out, but I can’t toss it without a lot of guilt.
    Hang the chimp in the bathroom. It will cut down on the time people spend in there unnecessarily.😂🐒

      1. LOL Good option. And you would have the last word!
        We just watched a movie the other night, called Death at a Funeral. The first part is kind of slow but midway to the end very funny and they did put something in the casket with the body.
        If you’ve never seen this, it’s worth a watch. Redbox Free movies.

      2. I should probably warn you, I don’t have the best track record at picking movies, and the disclaimer that I will not be held responsible for my movie suggestions.
        Seriously though, the kids have not forgotten a movie I picked for them one summer when they were much younger and was looking for an appropriate movie for juveniles. I will never, ever, live down The Sand Fairies.

  7. A mother scorned…. I don’t think I would want to be in your shoes Mike! It was pretty brass B**** of you to take the picture back and hang it in her house without permission. Poke the bear they said, it will be fun they said! HA HA!!
    You will have to keep us posted about her revenge, because I do believe it’s a comin’!!

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