My mother has a special talent for embarrassment way beyond the normal spectrum of public humiliation that most people are used to.  There are so many examples that I could not hope to cover them all in one post. Today I think I will cover my mom’s failed espionage, the smell of the phone, and how much she loves Beefaroni. The first two are fairly run of the mill embarrassing, the last is probably worthy of a bumper sticker.

Mom’s Failed Espionage

Years ago I had invited my best friend over to hang out. I had not seen her since high school many years prior and we thought catching up would be a good idea. We decided to sit in the living room and just talk about life in general. At least that is what I think we were talking about, I honestly don’t remember. For good reason I cannot recall a single thing about that afternoon other than my mother trying to eavesdrop. Mom always loves to listen in on conversations that have nothing to do with her and her skills of being inconspicuous fail her greatly. True to her nature of needing to know everything, she had planted herself in one of the chairs directly across from my friend. She was poorly pretending to read a book. It was such a bad act that the book was about two inches below eye level and she was very clearly staring right over the top of it at my friend. Even when we looked at her she just stared right back over the top of the book and didn’t move. I guess she assumed that if she did not move we could not see her. She had probably watched Jurassic Park one too many times and figured if it works on a T-Rex it would work on people. This was probably eight years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday, so does my friend. She must not have known that to read a book you need to actually look at it once in a while.

Smell My Phone

Years ago when we had just a landline and one phone, I was at the mercy of the other people who used the phone and the weird things they did while on it.  Often times when people were having a personal conversation, having a five foot cord, they would shut themselves in the bathroom to try and deter others from listening. The problem is that when you can only go as far as the bathroom and you have a two hour conversation, the list of things to do gets pretty short. Usually people would look at themselves in the mirror, make stupid faces, pace, or brush their hair. Options were sparse. Unfortunately for me someone during a previous conversation must have been playing with perfume or some other flowery substance. When I had picked up the phone to talk to a friend I noticed the phone smelled quite strongly of something  you might find in a florist’s shop in hell. I was irritated with the stench and asked the most likely candidate, my mom, if she knew anything about it. When I told her that the phone smelled she walked up, put her nostrils right on the receiver, and sniffed as hard as she could into my friend’s ear. Apparently it made quite a sound, to this day we  ask each other to smell our phones.


A few years ago my family decided to go see a ballet of The Nutcracker. It turned out to be a pretty bad production starring many children with pipe cleaner wings and the like.  The majority of the people attending were way too posh to even smile. During the ballet my sister and I got bored and started making fun of these people. My sister started frowning and saying “The weight of my fortune is so great it pulls down the corners of my mouth.” We continued this for most of the night but whenever an act finished we would clap and yell random words in Italian. We started with things like bravo and bravissimo but seeing as how neither of us spoke Italian we quickly ran out of words. That was when we started shouting anything that could be even slightly thought of as Italian like fettuccine, prego, and alfredo. When it was my turn to shout a word I could not even think of another pasta to shout so I yelled “Beefaroni!” Of course mom had not been paying attention to us and had no idea as to why we were yelling about pasta and Chef Boyardee products. She only heard the last word “Beefaroni.” With the best and worst timing in the world she looked over at us and said “hey I LIKE Beefaroni!’ This happened at the exact moment everyone had gone silent and every single person in that audience had heard her. Many people turned to look at her with their posh frowns. We have not gone to a ballet since.