Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) resorted to schoolyard tactics
this week on the Senate floor when debating health care.
In reality Stabenow's "your mom" statement was accidental, but even Salon was unable to resist a few chortles over this one. I certainly stood up and read it to my coworkers, and then examined the text again to see how Stabenow could have thrown "your face" in there somewhere too.
I admit I can't resist a good mom joke, or a "that's what she said," "so's your face" or my current favorite, "in my pants." Especially when it's spoken accidentally like the politicians above, or merely imagined
But with Salon.com blogging, albeit amusingly, about mom jokes, it seems that They Might Be Giants
may have been right to include things like "that's what she said" among their list of phrases that need be retired,
which also included "phone tag," "my bad" and "(fill in the blank) on crack/steroids/acid."
My wife isn't here, but I already hear her saying "Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it," when I declare that perhaps it's time for me to find a new outlet for absurd amusement. We've enjoyed the childish jokes for the last decade (or more), but we may have reached a level of excess.
Already I've worked "phone tag" and "on crack" out of my vocabulary, as evidenced by numerous phone messages I've left at to sources at work stumbling over myself as I say "Oh, hey, um, I guess we keep missing each other" just to avoid saying "phone tag" one more time. Why not drop the frequency of "your mom" and "that's what she said?"
The timing is ripe with the Onion's recent declaration
that Western civilization would actually reach rock bottom at 3:30 p.m. today. Did you feel that strange urge to go rent the Jonas Brothers 3-D concert DVD just a bit ago? That was it.
As encouragement, I'm remembering the first time I threw a "your mom" joke to someone. Anyone that knows me can't really imagine me having any malice toward the recipient of a mom joke or the mom in reference. I've stated since my teenage years (have these jokes been going on that long?) that a good "your mom" line is purely in the abstract. But the good people of Oklahoma don't deal in abstract. These are folk who really are offended at the suggestion that the women who bore them for nine months would ever wear army boots.
My comment was not only innocent, it was stolen from Calvin and Hobbes. I said it only to get chuckles from the people around me whom I had hoped never heard the line before. I did this a lot at 12, and even threw out one-liners I didn't understand. Picture my skinny-ass self in Oklahoma stumbling over my words saying, "That shirt's very becoming on you, if I was... wait... that shirt's... hold on.... how does it go?"
To the boy sitting behind me at a Boy Scout meeting I suggested that his mother was so repulsed by his face that she sequestered the assistance of a grocery bag to kiss him goodnight. He yanked the chair out from under me. I learned several things soon after making the comment:
- Clipping your head on the seat of a chair and than having it drop to a linoleum floor hurts. A lot.
- This boy's mother was dead. I swear I did not know this. Even outside of a state where "your mom" jokes are considered the worst insult, this would garner a negative reaction. I can't remember the boy's name now, but if you're out there reading this harboring any resentment, understand that when I remember this moment today I still feel really guilty. I also have it on good authority that your mother was a saint.
- The kid with the physical injury always gets the attention, even if he did just poke fun at someone else's dead mother. The sympathy did not make me feel better about the situation.
I'll take this story with me as I try to come up with cleverer, wittier and less childish come-backs and one-liners in the coming weeks. I can assume that each time I insult someone's mother, they may as well pull the chair from under me and leave a lump the size of an egg on the back of my head.
It may involve some failures, some duds, but it'll not only enhance my own character but I consider it my duty to help bring Western Civilization back up after the Onion's cruel assessment.
(eds. note: tee hee! I said "doody!")