Category Archives: Advice and How To

The Talk


Lisa: What’s Santa’s Little Helper doing to that dog?
Bart: It looks like he’s trying to jump over her but can’t quite make it.
Come on, boy! You can do it!

During a major purge of my hoarder daughter’s room yesterday, she suddenly pipes up with “Do people have to have sex to have children?”

I knew this day was coming bound to arrive, however I admit to not being exactly prepped for it.  So I responded, “Er, well, the short answer is that yes, yes they do.  We should talk about it. However, I’d like us to finish up here, and then later today, we can discuss it further.”  Patted myself on the back for buying myself some time.

But she was already starting to make the inevitable connections, and as we all know, once the connections start to be made, there’s just no stopping them.

“Soooooooo….” she went on, right on the cusp of The Great Truth that explained her and her brother’s existence, “Does that mean that you and Dad had to (pregnant pause)…to have us?” She was unable to bring herself to say the actual words, and was looking at me with an expression that said, please, God, don’t let this be true.

I hated the idea of bursting her bubble, I did.  I can’t imagine, given that it’s been over three decades since I myself learned The Great Truth, how horrifying it must be to imagine one’s parents doing the unimaginable.

I took a deep breath, and began, “Again, the short answer is yes…” at which point she feigned blacking out.

Cut to today.  There was a quiet moment this morning when I thought it might be a good time to continue our conversation, and went to my girl to say so:

Me: Hey.  We could finish that talk we started yesterday.  I have the time now to tell you the full story and answer any questions you might have.
The Girl: (fiddling with the blinds) No, I don’t want to.
Me: (surprised) Really?  Yesterday you seemed eager to know.
The Girl: I did.  I decided I don’t want to know, now.
Me:  (persisting) But it’s always good to know things, important things.  Knowledge is power. (yes, I really did say that last bit)
The Girl (still fascinated with the blinds):  Yeah, but I don’t want to hear about the s-word right now.
Me: Well, all right, but I’d like for us to talk about it soon.  I’ll tell you everything you want to know.
The Girl: (cheerily) Okay! (scampers gratefully from the room)

I have resigned myself to the fact that my little girl is growing up, but I have to say that I allowed The Talk to sneak up on me.  Funnily enough, when the kids were wee ones, I’d insisted on an early introduction to using the technical terms for one’s bits, because I couldn’t bear the thought of them using euphemisms into their teens; I wanted them to be comfortable with the words from day one.  I recall clearly the day I berated my husband for teaching the boy to say “weenie”; it took a good two weeks to erase that from his two-year-old, comedy-centred consciousness.  Henceforth, it was always vagina and breasts and penis (oh my!)

I know that in the future, this will be a mere blip on my daughter’s Life radar, but I’m determined to do the best damned job I’m able…I just hope I can avoid giggling like a school girl.

How did you convey The Great Truth? Throw me a note and tell me how  The Talk went down with your kids!

I will leave you with a clip from Woody Allen’s outstanding film Midnight In Paris, in which Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, finds himself at a party in 1920s Paris, listening to Cole Porter singing “Let’s Do It.”

I’ve heard that lizards and frogs do it
Layin’ on a rock
They say that roosters do it

With a doodle and cock
Some Argentines, without means do it
I hear even Boston beans do it

Let’s do it, let’s fall in love


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Filed under Advice and How To, The Mama Goddess

The Tao Of Charlie (Life Lessons From “So I Married An Axe Murderer”)

The film So I Married An Axe Murderer , starring the inimitable Mike Myers, is a work of pure genius, combining physical and cerebral comedy with exemplary instruction in navigating this mortal coil.

You may be thinking whaaaaaat? but hear me out, okay?  Okay?   Okay.

Warning: Here there be spoilers.

1. Trust Your First Impressions
Case in point: Charlie meets Rose.
Can anyone play nutjob better than Amanda Plummer?  I think not.

Charlie: (as Rose attempts to hit him with an axe) What the FUCK?!

Life Lesson: So many of us take pains to ignore our gut instincts when we meet someone.  We’re told it’s not fair to pigeon hole others (at least not before getting to know them better).  However, there’s a damn good reason we have gut instincts to begin with, so by all means keep an open mind, but when your first impression screams ‘this person is batshit crazy!’ trust that you could be on to something.

You are a total nutcase, completely deranged, delusional, paranoid. Your thought process is all fucked up. Your information train is jammed, man!

2. TV and Movies Are Better Than Real Life
Case in point:  Tony.  Poor Tony.  He became a cop with visions of chasing guys across a crowded city square, hanging on to that part of a helicopter. (You know that part? Underneath the thing that it lands? Do you, do you know that part?)  And he’s never even commandeered a vehicle.

Tony Giardino: Excuse me sir, I’m with the San Francisco police department, this is official police business. I would like to commandeer this vehicle!
Commandeered Driver: No.

Life Lesson: Watch movies constantly.  Avoid real life whenever possible, it’s bound to disappoint.

No. No, there’s not.

3. Relationships Are Hard
Case in point: Charlie and Harriet.  Charlie is a commitmentphobe.  Harriet is possibly Mrs. X., who kills off her husbands.
It’s a match made in Heaven, obviously.

Charlie Mackenzie: I’m afraid you’re gonna ki – leave me.
Harriet Michaels: That I’m gonna cleave you?

Life Lesson: Oftentimes in life, people need to step back and get their shit together before they can make a relationship work.  At least, this is how it pretty much works in the movies: good times, followed by conflict, followed by conflict resolution = better times.  No guarantees, though (refer to Life Lesson #2).

4. The Unknown Is Usually Best Left That Way
Case in point: haggis.
Exception: Paul Haggis.

Harriet Michaels: Do you actually like haggis?
Charlie Mackenzie: No, I think it’s repellent in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

Life Lesson: Avoid the unfamiliar.  Nothing good can come from eating food simmered in an animal’s stomach.

5. Be Honest
Case in point:  Tony the cop, attempting to go undercover

Charlie Mackenzie: So Tony, what’s the deal with your clothes?
Tony Giardino: What do ya mean?
Charlie Mackenzie: You look like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Life lesson: No matter how it may hurt their feelings, never let a friend go out looking like a 1970s pimp.

6. Coffee.Is.The.Best.Thing.Ever

Case in point: Scene 1, Charlie being served at Cafe Roads.

Charlie Mackenzie: Excuse me, miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* cappuccino. *Hello!* Look at the size of this thing.
Tony Giardino: It’s practically a bowl.
Charlie Mackenzie: It’s like Campbell’s Cup-O’-ccino!
Charlie Mackenzie: [laughing at his Campbell’s joke and wiping his tears] Oh, My sides. Please. Aidez-moi.

Life Lesson: No amount of coffee is too much.
MM Coffee

7. Poetry And Alliteration Go A Long Way When Wooing
Case in point: Charlie attempts (and succeeds) in getting Harriet back

Charlie Mackenzie: Harriet. Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis. Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher. Un-trust… ing. Un-know… ing. Un-love… ed? “He wants you back,” he screamed into the night air like a fireman going to a window that has no fire… except the passion of his heart. I am lonely. It’s really hard. This poem… sucks.

Life Lesson: Learn to rhyme, or at least put together some interesting stream-of-consciousness prose. Ya never know.

MM Poetry

8. Things Can Always Be Worse

Case in point:  Stuart’s anniversary speech to May.

Stuart Mackenzie: Thirty years ago today, May and I were married. Some of you were there, some of you weren’t born, and some of you are now DEED! But, we both said “I do,” and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.
May Mackenzie: That’s true!
Stuart Mackenzie: But I’m glad I married you, May, because hey, could’ve been worse.

Life Lesson: Groove on what you got, not what you don’t, because it could really suck more.  Really.

May, shut it!  Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game's about to start!

May, shut it! Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game’s about to start!

9. The Scottish Are The Undisputed Extreme Party Champions Of  The Universe

Case in point: Stuart Mackenzie

Stuart Mackenzie: [after Charlie and Harriet have been married] Let’s get pissed!
Stuart Mackenzie: [after exhausting a bagpipe player at Charlie and Harriet’s wedding]
We have a piper who’s down! Repeat, Piper Down!

Life lesson:  Don’t try to outdo ’em.  Just sit back and admire.

Why,  yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

Why, yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

10. And last but not leastSometimes The Conspiracy Theorists Are Right
Case in point: Stuart conveys his unique worldview to Tony.


It’s a well-known fact, Sonny Jim!

Life Lesson:  Listen to the crazy people.

And here’s The La’s to sing us out with There She Goes:

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Filed under Advice and How To, Film, Life In General