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Shit My Mom Says

May 7, 2010

This week, Justin Halpern, the 29-year-old creator of the Twitter phenomenon Shit My Dad Says, published his first book. He’s also currently collaborating with William Shatner on a television pilot.


I, too, am 29. My name also starts with “J.” And I just spent about 20 hours holed up in an SUV with my mother during a grueling drive from Cleveland to Asheville, N.C., for a weeklong vacation, during which I diligently exploited her peculiar brand of momisms and unintentional comedic gold on Twitter. My first book comes out … never.

The universe simply won’t throw me a damn bone. Probably because I’m a cat lady and the universe favors dogs. Or the universe is out of bones, because it gave them all to Justin Halpern. Way to hog the bones, asshole. Also, releasing a book about your father a few days before Mother’s Day? Not cool, Justin Halpern. Not cool.

Before traveling, I’d been debating whether or not to confess to my mom that I have a blog. Despite readers’ ominous warnings, for better or worse – my money’s on the latter – I came out of the closet. Mom and I were sharing sorbet and chocolate-raspberry mousse cake at Chocolate Bar in downtown Cleveland, and when she was sufficiently sugared up to soften the blow, I took a deep breath and nervously said, “There’s something I have to tell you. I’ve been blogging for almost three months.” She replied, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I explained, “Because I write about icky stuff, such as my sex life.” And she shot back, “But you don’t have one.” Yep. My mother, the comedian.

After the weight of my secret had been lifted, from then on I spent our time together openly taking notes and tweeting about all the insanity that flows freely from her lips. Now “blog” appears to be her new favorite word. I have doubts on whether she actually knows what it means, seeing as how most days her iMac is a formidable foe. Case in point, she was tucked into bed in our hotel room, poring over travel guides and triptiks while planning the next day’s adventures, when she started to laugh hysterically. “What’s so funny?” I asked suspiciously. “I’M BLOGGING … IN THE BLOGOSPHERE!” she shrieked between howls.

Mom swayed and frolicked at this drum circle in Asheville. I pretended not to know her.

All things considered, our trip to North Carolina was pretty great, if you prefer to spend getaways in a constant state of mortification and embarrassment at the hands of a parent. I know I do.

Without further ado, even though my book dreams continue to elude me and I have yet to become an overnight Twitter sensation thanks to the feline-loathing universe’s love of greedy, mom-snubbing Justin Halpern, I present Shit My Mom Says, a smattering of my favorite quotes and conversations from our travels, some of which I never tweeted because of length or low battery:

Mom: Remind me to buy film tomorrow. Me: It isn’t called film anymore. Mom: Fine. Remind me to buy memories.

Mom, on saying “Ta-ta!” to a West Virginia toll taker: I would have said “au revoir” but I didn’t think she’d understand. She had no teeth, poor thing.

Mom: What does that license plate say? Me: “Choose life.” Don’t wave at them. Mom: I waved when you weren’t looking.

Mom and me atop Chimney Rock.

Mom, while I tweeted about her: Write it down, honey. I’ll podcast you!

Mom: Why are you walking around with a shroud over your face? Me: (pulling shirt over my head) I’m getting dressed.

Mom, upon seeing people walking in a field near Chimney Rock: They’re probably looking for peyote. (begins humming Sting’s “Fields of Gold”)

Mom, about my back pain: Maybe it’s a gas pocket.

Mom, sneaking truffled almonds while standing next to no-eating sign and policing other tourists at Biltmore mansion: He isn’t supposed to be taking pictures. The sign says no photography.

Mom, somewhere in Ohio: Look in the mirror. There’s a car up my hemorrhoids.

Mom, being passed by a speedy driver in West Virginia: Asshole. I hope you get a fucking ticket. Bitch. What? I can call her a bitch because she’s a woman.

Mom, upon learning I’ve talked about being Jewish on the blog: Not smart, Jessica. You could be infiltrated by the PLO.

Mom, while driving past a house on a hill in Virginia: Would you want to live in a house on a cliff? I wouldn’t. If the Earth shifts, you’d get swallowed up. Why are you laughing? I’m serious.

Mom, after abandoning her car in the middle of a rest area in a mad dash to the bathroom: Can you see anything on my pants? Good. Then I don’t want to talk about it.

Mom, after dropping her eye wear in a rest stop toilet: I don’t know what was in that toilet, but my sunglasses have never been cleaner.

Mom, imploring me to move back to Cleveland: Please don’t go back to Boston. You can have my bedroom, and I’ll share a room and bed with your father again. I’ll just put up a partition.

The most memorable discourse of all that captured the essence of her kookiness came when Mom, apropos of nothing, started singing the Andrea Bocelli songbook while we were walking through the hotel parking lot. “Please stop,” I begged in vain while avoiding eye contact with passers-by, which prompted her to pump up her volume. As we headed for the entrance, she remotely locked the car twice, causing the horn to honk multiple times. She knows I hate that with a passion, so she began to giggle. Then she inadvertently let loose a series of audible farts. I lost my composure and dribbled Diet Coke down my chin. “I could be worse,” she said, unable to curb her cackling as we both stumbled into the hotel. “How?” I asked. “I don’t know.”

I don’t know, either.

But Mom, if you’ve figured out how to find my blog and are reading this now, Happy Mother’s Day.

This was my view of Mom and her chewing gum from the passenger's seat during our road trip to the South. She's weird. That must be apparent by now. If not, then I've failed.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2010 12:50 PM

    hate to tell you this but it is apparent to me that you get your creativity and great sense of humor from (ducking so I don’t get hit) YOUR MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. May 7, 2010 12:57 PM

    Ha ha ha !! Loved this one, but I agree……… you get your humor from your mother.

  3. Sally permalink
    May 7, 2010 1:46 PM

    Your mom is adorable and hysterical. On vacation with my husband, daughter and parents in Florida two years ago, my dad was walking with me through the beach parking lot listening to his iPod, which is loaded with golden oldies. Passing a family getting into a minivan, he is singing loudly to some song called “Let’s Go Streaking.” He sang, “Who goes streaking? We go streaking. If you want to have lots of fun, take off all your clothes-” at which point I made him shut up.

  4. May 7, 2010 1:46 PM

    Well, you survived. Sort of.
    Mom: Why are you walking around with a shroud over your face?
    Me: Practise

  5. May 7, 2010 2:07 PM

    Chica- I don’t know how it was for you, but for me, your trip with your mom was TOTALLY WORTH IT. The sunglasses in the toilet almost put me over the edge – especially because if she’s like my mom, they were $7 sunglasses.

  6. May 7, 2010 4:30 PM

    Fellow Cat Lady here. Also boneless. Fucking Justin.

    This one had be howling! (Goddamn dogs.) I had to share it with my own mother. And thinking back, that may have been a bad idea, as if your mom and my mom get together, the world will surely explode. Or they’ll become BFFs and you and I will have to go all Menendez. I don’t wanna go Menendez. Fuck, why did I share the damn link?!

    (My mother once told me that if I was constipated, I should “get that yogurt with the spina bifida in it.”)

  7. May 7, 2010 6:27 PM

    I think you got yourself the Jewish version of my mom (I am just assuming she is Jewish since you are Jewish. F me if I’m wrong. And now I’ve definitely said “Jewish” too many times, and the PLO is TOTALLY coming for you. My bad!)

  8. May 7, 2010 9:08 PM

    Oh, my. Four tissues for the laughy-tears and now I need clean britches. You’ve got the funny, girl.

  9. May 7, 2010 10:59 PM

    i have to decree that our entertainment clearly made your pain thoroughly worth it. right? i can say that because it’s not my mortification. hey, maybe you should’ve said that you were wearing a shroud to make your mortification complete.

  10. May 7, 2010 11:37 PM

    Love the sunglasses in the toilet! I have dropped many things in the toilet unfortunately. They don’t usually come out cleaner though.

    Your Mom sounds like a hoot. The funniest thing my mom says is ‘tex mex’ which is what she calls text messaging. Hey, I’m just proud of her for being able to do it. Little victories.

  11. May 8, 2010 12:08 AM

    Justin Halpern needs to watch his bone-stealing ass! Because you and your mom will be doing a book tour before you know it. I’ll read a book about the shit your mom says ANY DAY of the week.

  12. May 8, 2010 6:58 AM

    Hi, PLO here, reporting for infiltration!

    Love your mom. The sunglasses in the toilet was fantastic–I must try it.

  13. May 8, 2010 7:00 AM

    Wow. Those are some absolute gems. I hope you’ve kept in mind that you wouldn’t get this kind of love from a Robotmom…

    You’d have to drive the conversation and she’d just say things like AFFIRMATIVE over and over. And that would make a far less interesting blog post.

    Having said that, I have dinner with my parents tonight – they’re bored and retired and have a nasty habit of saying deliberately provocative things to get heated conversation going. It makes me kind of wish they were robots.

    • May 9, 2010 2:46 AM

      Could you send me copies of the schematics for a Robotmom? I would cherish the occasional AFFIRMATIVE (and the opportunity to drive the conversation).

  14. tonya permalink
    May 8, 2010 12:37 PM

    Perhaps you could hook up your mom with Justin Halpern’s dad? And then usurp Justin’s power over the book/tv industry. (Your dad will be ok with it when you explain you’ll be able to buy him a yacht – who doesn’t want a yacht?). I LOVE your mom!! And I would have to agree it is definitely where you get your awesome FUNNY!
    Also, Justin Halpern is going to hell for publishing a book about his dad on Mother’s Day. Everyone knows God is a woman…and she is now fucking pissed! (We talk sometimes…on bowling night)

  15. May 8, 2010 8:10 PM

    …….everything your mom said could have come from my mom’s mouth. I feel a kindred-spirit-connection-thingy to you now.

    Has your mom ever asked you, while you are both at a funeral, if you have any liquor bottles in your purse, or is that just me?

    • May 8, 2010 9:08 PM

      My mom has never been a fan of hard liquor. Or she hides her crippling addiction really well. That would explain *so* much.

  16. May 9, 2010 5:59 AM

    This is an awesome post. That basically says it all from me today! Also, it reminded me of the sheer mortification I (almost always) felt while vacationing in Hawaii with my dad. Only his was a little more … evil …or something, and I haven’t found a way to make it funny yet. 🙂

  17. May 9, 2010 8:24 AM

    This was such a funny post! Found you from reading comments on The Bloggess. My mother is also frustrating, but lovable. She was recently at my house helping fold laundry (At 41 I could probably do this on my own now) and she held up my daughter’s first training bra and asked if it was mine. Thanks Mom!

    Keep writing….I have enjoyed discovering your blog.

  18. May 9, 2010 11:50 AM

    “I waved when you weren’t looking.” Your mom? Awesome.

  19. May 9, 2010 9:21 PM

    Your tweets were cracking me up. She’s funnier than the dad who says shit.

    Also, I haven’t come out to my mom about my blog, either. Kind of brings some guilt on Mother’s Day.

  20. Maggie_C permalink
    May 10, 2010 2:39 AM

    Your mom and my mom should have a crazy mom-off – which looks vaguely sexual now that I’ve typed it out, but I swear that’s not what I mean.

    You’re funny. Consider yourself followed.

  21. May 10, 2010 10:57 AM

    All that’s in my head is a vision of your mom picking her glasses out of a public toilet and just putting them back on.

    I might have a nightmare about this later.

  22. May 17, 2010 10:38 PM

    THE only way to go on a road trip is with someone who is crazy, if they are 2 cups of crazy that’s even better. Otherwise go on your own with a book on tape.

    BTW I’m a frequent visitor to Asheville, NC. I love it. I know all the best restaurants, bars, and waterfalls. If you go back email me and I’ll give you the goods.

  23. August 13, 2010 6:49 PM

    Oh my God, even though my mother is not Jewish, she is the same brand of crazy as your mom! I’m willing to bet on the Cleveland connection. Maybe they drank lake water as kids…Anyway, the PLO comment made me laugh because I can’t tell my mom I’m blogging. The fact that I was on Facebook made her go off on a tangent for 45 minutes on how criminals and hiring managers use Facebook to either rob you or deny you employment. Because as you know “everything you do online can be used against you, even if you do it anonymously because people know how to find things online…” I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    Anyway, I’m not gay, not single, and only have one feline. But your blog is hilarious and I’m definitely becoming one of those blog-stalkers you have, well except that I’m too lazy really…

  24. December 24, 2010 8:50 AM

    Breaking my own rule about commenting on Posts from the Past — I swear, you and your mother simply HAVE to come on vacation with me and my mother… Put it this way, we always leave our significant others at home because A)they’re not as much fun as we are, B) we embarrass them (those first 2 may be connected) and C) somebody has to hold onto the bail money. Last vacation, I told her making fun of me for drinking apple juice out of a juice box “diminishes me” and we both got so tickled we almost peed in the floor of the Walmart. Good times.

  25. Kate permalink
    January 2, 2011 2:19 AM

    Don’t feel that Justin stole your spotlight. You’ve got some good stuff, keep collecting quotes.

    Remember, it’s more about the documentation and sharing of goofy moments, not about trying to write a popular book. A book would just be a bonus.


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