Thursday, January 18, 2007

Elegy for an Old Lady

Elegy more in the reflective sense, as my grandmother is not dead- in fact, it was recently stated point blank that after my cousin graduates in May, it will officially be my turn to provide the event/milestone for which she must stay alive, which is only fair, given that my cousin has managed to stretch a graphic design degree at the community college into a six-year affair- but she is a cool, cool old lady, my favorite as a matter of fact, and she deserves to have her praises sung on a little-read blog that she does not know exists, and never will, as the act of trying to explain the heady concept of a blog to a woman who can't quite wrap her head around the "Redial" function of her phone must surely already be reserved for someone else's purgatorial task.

My grandmother believes that every single morsel of food must be removed from its original packaging and rewrapped in SaranWrap or another acceptable sealant; to ask her the reasoning behind this results in a look of abject horror so utterly convincing that you actually begin to believe that you might as well have been pissing on your cold cuts all these years for all the good the deli wrapping is doing you. In this vein, though, she also shares my appreciation for the wide world of questionable meats and processed foods. To whit, her latest care package:



Prepackaged tuna steak, salmon, beef jerky, Tyson's "Buffalo Style Chicken Chunks" (made with all dark meat!), and the viande de resistance, Bite Size Teriyaki Snacks, which is essentially Pupperoni for humans.

Firstly, I love picturing my grandmother wheeling around the supermarket with the shopping list of a WWII trench soldier. Second, dark meat chicken jerky? Who even knew such a thing existed? I'm half expecting the next package to just contain a bag of beaks and hooves. Thirdly, she also included Necco Wafers in the shipment, perfectly and subtly asserting her old ladiness. The woman knows her way around a care package.


I'm a big fan of things that unabashedly embrace their stereotypes- Europeans who smoke with their fingers held straight, hot dog vendors who say "Whaddaya want?", dogs that lick themselves- so the fact that although my grandmother could, and often does, strike fear in the hearts of men for as little as forgetting to double a coupon, she still enjoys scratchoff lotto tickets, watering her plants, and sending pastel Hallmark cards could not be more delightful. At the relatively tender age of 61, the woman strapped herself to a young man and a parachute and jumped out of a plane; now at 71, she's got some heart problems and has difficulty walking for distance, but steadfastly refuses to "look like one of the cripples" (during one particularly long visit last October, I convinced her to go to bingo at Foxwoods Casino by pointing out that at her age, things were only going to go downhill, and having just had her hair done, she was, in fact, looking the best she ever would for the rest of her life, so why not take to the streets?). Over Thanksgiving, when my mother produced a wheelchair from the back of her flaming chariot and insisted that she use it within the mall, my grandmother instead placed her oxygen tank in the chair and pushed it around herself, so it looked as though she was some sort of orderly who had lost their senile old person. One of the many members of the Buns and Liquor family in possession of a Handicapped Parking pass ("cripple pass"), she tells me that when a member of her friend group dies, those little old ladies clamor to put dibs on first the parking pass, then the clothes, and things get ugly. Fake IDs for old people- who knew?


The woman WHITEOUTS HER POSTITS. That is devotion to a literary cause. I'm so lazy I frequently write on my own hands rather than locating paper; this puts me to shame. All this on top of the text of the note, which reads:

"Jen- Put peanut butter on these for breakfast. Yum, Yum!! Also, I found Smucker Uncrustables GRILLED CHEESE!! "Micro" oops!"



If I ever find someone else in this world who is so excited by the prospect of premade, crustless, microwavable grilled cheeses that they give it the "all caps, double exclamation point" treatment, I'll have to immediately sneak up behind them and strangle them with a piano wire, because the world does not have enough room for such awesomeness. These are the same Post-its that she hands me each time I visit, asking me to label things that I want when she dies, oblivious to the fact that a. it's weird to claim one's worldly possessions the same way that one keeps their office workers from eating their lunch and b. the legality of the whole endeavor is questionable at best. Of course, she's also stated that when she does kick it, we should just cremate her in whatever box is handy, then toss the ashes in a coffee can, which puts me in the unenviable position of either looking like a dick in front of the funeral director or not fulfilling an old lady's dying wish.

Another example of my grandmother's undeniable coolness, as if one was needed:





Text reads:
"Didn't want to walk to the den to get a smaller envelope."

SHE APOLOGIZES FOR WASTING ENVELOPE SPACE. As I've pointed out to her, the very act of writing across the envelope, apologizing for wasting its intangible contents, justified the use of the larger envelope in itself, but when it comes down to getting into a metaphysical discussion with your granddaughter or watching Judge Judy, well, I'm big enough to know my place in the pecking order.

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104 Comments:

At January 18, 2007 4:00 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

The first care package my grandmother sent to me in the dorms included chocolate-covered espresso beans. Chocolate! Candy! I popped a few in my mouth. Good! I ate the entire container in one sitting. 12 hours later I was pacing back and forth wishing for death. All this leading to, beware well meaning grandmother's bearing gifts.

 
At January 18, 2007 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I figured that Mulgrew was just pimping your blog because he wants to bang you, but you're actually funnier that he is.

 
At January 18, 2007 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you had me at salted meats...

excellent suggestion from Mulgrew.

 
At January 18, 2007 7:38 PM, Blogger flipwashington said...

Mulgrew is a filthy, filthy man . . . but he has impeccable taste.

 
At January 18, 2007 8:24 PM, Blogger doogie said...

My grandmother freezes everything she purchases. And she cuts her post it notes in half. Thanks for giving me something to laugh at. You have the funniest blog on the net!!!

 
At January 18, 2007 9:57 PM, Anonymous Cass said...

This was wonderful. I hope you enjoy your grandmother for many years to come!

 
At January 18, 2007 10:46 PM, Blogger mist1 said...

It seems like someone would have invented colored white-out (which just sounds stupid, I know) for those post-it notes.

 
At January 19, 2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous blonde1 said...

My grandmother dried out paper towels to reuse

Mulgrew's great but you rule!

 
At January 19, 2007 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is your thumb exceedingly long, or is that picture with the envelope skewing reality?

 
At January 19, 2007 5:19 PM, Anonymous eric said...

great, i can just see that thumb comment making you all paranoid now.

 
At January 20, 2007 1:14 AM, Blogger Nytro said...

your grandmother sounds awesome. my grandmother is not quirky. she is, however, the master and commander of the guilt trip. she doesn't sent greeting cards. she sends guilting cards.

 
At January 21, 2007 6:14 PM, Anonymous Stine (Denmark) said...

My grandmother actually washes the small clear freezer bags over and over again, untill they are white as milk and crackling as fire works. After that, she stuffs the left over food in them all mixed together: half a boil egg, a piece of ham, some paté and a drum stick. Yum yum.

 
At January 22, 2007 1:54 AM, Blogger Barbtender said...

Mulgrew was bang on with this recommendation.

Fucking gem.

 
At January 22, 2007 7:31 AM, Blogger Colin Weltin-Wu said...

That first paragraph was one brilliant sentence.

 
At January 22, 2007 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent blog. I am going to spend all day reading it, as the Patriots lost last night and I find myself a mere hair's breadth away from engaging in a workplace "episode." Somebody has a serious case of the Mondays.

Weirdly, I actually once met a chick from Denmark named "Stine"- she was an exchange student at BC, and I helped her move all of her Danish belongings into her new (3rd floor) apartment. She then proceeded to repay the favor by giving me a fake phone number.
Good times.

 
At January 22, 2007 12:07 PM, Blogger sparkle said...

love the post it notes! my grandpa only uses a typewritter, and when a whole piece of paper isn't required, be TYPES on a POST-IT. the small one's too. i don't even know how he works that one, but i'm very proud. VERY.

 
At January 23, 2007 7:28 AM, Anonymous Stine (Denmark) said...

Weirdly, I actually once tricked a couple of guys into moving a big fat piano for me. At least one of them hoped for a phone number, but nope!
I appologise on behalf of my name and nationality.
Bad times :-)

 
At January 23, 2007 10:41 AM, Anonymous Cassie said...

I think that your grandma and my grandma must know each other or something, because ohmygod, there's so many odd similarities! Like, repackaging everything. Haha. Hope you don't mind if I link to you, your blog cracks me up.

 
At January 23, 2007 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recommended by Mulgrew and a fine shout it was too.

I agree that he's probably trying to get lucky with you, though.

In the meantime - my grandma. She used to get out a Christmas cake every year, covered in white, rock hard icing. Nobody dared go near it.

After Christmas, she'd give the untouched cake a good scrub with detergent and put it back in the cupboard for next year.

Simon from London, UK

 
At January 23, 2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous DeannaInCanada said...

Grandmas rock.

My grandma has not phoned me since 1994.

In 1994 I was a university student, living in my first apartment. One Sunday morning my gran called me, and a *gasp* boy answered the phone. When she asked to speak to me he told her I was still asleep. She demanded he put me on the phone that "very instant". When I answered the phone she went off on how it wasn't appropriate for me to have a boy at my house. I told her to calm down, that I had had a party and he had drank too much and I didn't want him to drive so he slept on my sofa. I thought I was being responsible!

She kept insisting that it didn't look right for a boy to be at my house. I finally said "Gran! It's no big deal he is gay"

This little fact was met with total silence. She quietly said "You are friends with a homosexual?! Is it that Seth boy, I always thought something was wrong with him"

Now-- 13 years later, I am married, own a home and she still won't call me. When my mom questioned her about it my lovely Gran said "Well I don't know what sort of things they do!"

hhahah God I love that woman!

So how was the processed meats?

 
At January 28, 2007 9:55 AM, Blogger The Assimilated Negro said...

OMG!! Mulgrew sent me over here!!! you are soooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

actually your grandma is pretty awesome. Please save dome dark meat chicken chunks for me please.

 
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