So. We’re all at breakfast this morning, sitting at the big table. The table is crowded today since the two most recent Texas Aggie underclassmen victims of Gram’s catch-and-release man-fishing practices have stayed close to the boat after their release. Gram snagged these pimply-faced engineering students while trolling the A&M campus in her Ferrari on Saturday afternoon and when offered the requisite ride back to College Station Monday afternoon, the one named Robert asked, “Can we stay a few more days, please. We haven’t eaten this well since we moved into the dorm.”
Usually, the young fish Gram hooks with her shiny sports car come to their senses within the first forty-eight hours of captivity, become severely embarrassed with the knowledge that they have rubbed blisters on their pecker bumping uglies with a woman who would make a good model for a garden scarecrow, and get all meek and scared.
“Will you please take us home, Gram Johnson? Please?” are the first words most often heard uttered by these boys at the breakfast table the morning after. Oft times the words are whimpered and often the young Aggie Corpsmen don’t even make it to breakfast. Many is the time I’m awakened at dawn by the shrieks and howls a 12-cylinder engine makes when over-revved while cold when Gram hauls her catch back to Aggieland.
I’ve tried to get my grandmother to take a few minutes to warm her car’s engine before hauling ass. “I ain’t got tha time ta warm steel, Mooner, I’m a old lady what got tha hot crotchies.”
I figure my randy old grandmother doesn’t care that it costs $3,000 each to re-sleeve the dozen tight-tolerance cylinders that power her little red hot rod. I likewise figure I don’t care either as long as she keeps carding these boys to insure she lands legally caught fish.
Anyway, we’re at breakfast and Robert, and the other boy whose name I still don’t know, are bartering for room and board for the week. “If you’ll get Mr. Mooner to teach us how he cooks that tomato sauce with the secret ingredients, we’ll stick around and do chores ’till the weekend,” Robert told us.
“Son, if you call me “Mister” again, you’ll end up as fertilizer for the secret ingredients,” I told him back. “The secret to that sauce is my home grown tomatoes for their flavor and Gram’s magic mushrooms for their texture. The buzz is just a pleasant side effect.”
The boys giggled, I guess at the mushroom part, and the TV caught my ear. Pricky Rick Santoria and Herr Schmidt Romney were on the tube in a lowlights dealie from last night’s Reflublican debate. “The problem with America is the family is becoming fractured,” is what I heard that Catholic bigot Santorum say.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I asked the TV and the room. I grabbed the remote out of Mother’s hand and jammed a finger to the Off button. “Mother fucking asswipe Christian chalky-skinned religious shit-headed Catholic right-wing Republican fuckball!”
I took a deep breath while I wished I could have said how I really felt. I’m finding myself getting truly angry with the Republican’s political issuing for this election. I’m pissed at them because they are true bigoted assholes. But I’m getting really pissed because I clearly understand that the reason the Republican issues are political issues is because their voter base has been polled, and those polls say their base thinks that way.
I sat and fumed at the table while my fellow diners sat quietly poking forks at their plates. I guess my little diatribe had caught them by surprise. But I quite simply didn’t give a shit. As stated, I was fuming.
I slammed my fist on the table. “Jesus fucking Christ, what is wrong with people? Are sane Americans actually supporting this bullshit? Are grown up adult women really in favor of giving Rick Santorum control of their bodies and minds?”
“Mooner,” Mother sternly said. “You will not take the Lord’s name in vain in my presence.”
I felt my blood pressure pounding in my ears and the blood vessels of my eyes engorge with anger. I jumped from my chair pitching it backwards where it slammed to the floor, and then I pounded both fists on the table top. “Fuck Jesus, fuck God and fuck you too, Mother. If you don’t like the way I act then the three of you need to get your asses out of my house. This shit has gotten out of hand!”
In all the years my mother has thought of me as her son-tyrant, this was the first time I have ever actually been one. “Fuck you, fuck you and fuck you some fucking more!”
And with that, I steamrolled out the back door.
For the first hour I sat on the fishing dock staring at my reflection in the murky water, I wondered how my own mother could be so terribly stupid—ignorant even. Mother is a smart, honest, hard working and quite decent educated woman. I spent the second hour wondering what has happened to me that I would lose my temper that way. I don’t lose my temper like that—I’m always the level head in a crowded bar.
I think I understand why my mother, and millions of other Americans think as she does on these political issues floated by Republicans in this Presidential race. It came to me when I remembered a conversation I had with Mother last week when she drove with me to take some things down to the Food Bank.
Out of the blue she asked me, “Do you ever worry that you won’t make it to Heaven, Mooner?”
“Not for a single moment, Mother,” I answered.
My mother sighed and turned to look forlornly out her side window, sighed again, deeply. “I sometimes worry I haven’t done enough, been a good enough Christian woman. My only daughter is a homo-sex-u-al and you’re… Well, Mooner Johnson, you are my only son.”
When we had this conversation, I thought it was typical martyred Mother talk—Mother’s usual lament that neither of her offspring were good Baptists. Sitting on the dock in reflection, I decided instead that my mother is fearful that the sins of her children will be judged as the sins of the mother come Judgment Day.
I decided that my mother is driven by fear. My mother thinks it isn’t good enough to be a Christian, she worries that she must be the right kind of Christian to get into Heaven.
That is the answer to my question. That, dear friends, is what is wrong with those people who support the likes of Rick Santorum and the other pricky Rick, Texas Governor Perry. People are afraid to not support them.
It’s fear Mooner, you dumbass, fear is the fuel for this rhetoric.
I walked back to the house and into the kitchen and found but one occupant. Mother was at the sink doing dishes with her back to the door. “Mother,” I said in a hushed voice, “Mother I’m sorry for what I said.”
I got no response other than the chilled silence she so often gives me when I disappoint her.
I walked and stood behind her and put my arms around her waist. I rested my chin lightly on top of her head and stood quietly. I could hear her sniffle and felt her body twitch as she cried.
“I love you,” I told her, “you know I do. And I know that you see me as your biggest failure. But it isn’t your fault that I learned to think for myself.”
“I did the best I could with you and Sister, Mooner, and you’re both going to Hell to burn for eternity. Don’t you know what a burden that is for a mother to bear?”
“I guess I don’t,” I told her. I squeezed her and kissed the top of her head. Her hair smelled of lilac perfume, the scent of which told me she had spent the night in the company of Mr. Dave. Mother likes to dress all the way up when she schedules a visit. I suppose she sees these conjugal moments as courting. I know she doesn’t see Mr. Dave as a male prostitute whose services are paid paid this self-same Hell-bent son.
The humor of the hypocrisy started niggling in my addled brain, and I felt the laugh start as a tingle at the nape of my neck. The tingle worked down my sides and when it made it to my belly, my belly started laughing. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I was “Ho-ho-hoeing” like a manic Santa Claus. I laughed so hard I lost my breath and sank to the floor with the giggles. When I could catch enough air to speak, I decided against it.
My poor mother thinks she is going to hell because she is sexing it up with Mr. Dave. What a dilemma that must be for her. She’s so horny and lonely for male companionship that she’ll risk going to Hell to bang Mr. Dave.
People do terrible things in the name of religion. This current crop of Republicans are feeding Christ’s followers a steady diet of bigoted fear, and that might be the most terrible thing a man can do in the name of Christ.
Like I said, fuck them all. Manana, y’all.