Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Not Insane; I'm Just Paranoid Part 2

I’ve always said that if I have inherited even one of my mother’s characteristics then my existence will not have been a waste.

My mother had numerous good qualities. She was patient, artistic, silly, poetic, loving, intelligent, beautiful, spiritual, unselfish, and Irish! (She was German too, but she always said only the boys in her family were German—the girls were all Irish.) She could whoop my behind in any crossword puzzle and could find on a map countries that I had never heard of.

Which, oh which, of these lovely attributes did I inherit? None, actually. (Except maybe a wee bit o’ the Irish.)

I ended up with her paranoia.

She didn’t call it that. “I’m just being careful,” she’d say. Carefulness is a good trait, right?

We would be shopping together at the grocery store, when I would see my mom at the other end of the aisle, flagging me down with a frantic wave. I’d scurry down the row, trying to get to her in a hurry, when I would notice that she was trying to discreetly signal me with her own brand of sign language—the combination of eyebrow raising and hand movements that clearly said, “Your purse is an open gaping maw beckoning would-be pickpockets to lift your week’s worth of grocery money.”

I would be tempted to duct tape my purse shut, just to make her feel more secure, but would resort to making a show of fastening the magnetic clasp instead. “Don’t you think you should wrap the strap around your hand? I’ve heard that thieves rely on the fact that your strap is just hanging loosely on your shoulder. If someone were to try to grab your purse, having your strap wrapped around your hand would just be one more deterrent.”

My mother actually said the following things:

· “Maybe you should wear a man’s hat when you drive at night. Men are less likely to stalk a woman if they think she is a man.”

· “I’m just calling to make sure you locked your door.”

· “Don’t hold your money in your hand. Someone could walk by and just grab it.”

· “Make sure you look under your car before you get in. Someone could be waiting underneath your car to grab your ankle.”

· “Have your keys ready in your hand in case you need to poke someone’s eye out.”

· “Don’t assume a cop is a cop. If you get pulled over at night in a secluded area, just keep driving to a well-lit area. He could be a fake cop trying to rape you.”

· “The clouds are really dark. I’m just calling to tell you to head to the basement.” (It’s a Midwest thing.)

· “You need to buy an extra-large pair of men’s boots and put them by your door. That way if someone thinks about breaking in, they might think twice.” (What if they steal the boots?)

My mother would be proud of me today. Even though I live in a rural area where people leave vehicles unlocked, I remain secure.

* I always lock my doors when I am home alone, even in mid-day.

* When I go to Wal-Mart, I always put my keys in my jeans pocket. That way if my purse gets snatched, I can still drive my car home. Fie on you, o would-be thief!

* I tell my son, “Stop holding your money in your hand where people can see it.”

* If I leave home without my cell phone, I will return home to get it (or have hubby bring it to me.) The day I don’t have my cell phone will be the day that I need to be a crime-stopper.

* I do not flash my high-beams at an oncoming car. That could be a signal to a gang member.

* I never put freshly ironed clothes in the closet or drawer. The heat could start a fire.

* At dark, I close all blinds and curtains in my house. I don’t want people seeing in when I can’t see out.

You might think that my mother was an ex-FBI agent or something, with her vast knowledge of how to foil the evil forces of the world.

Nope. She simply read The National Enquirer.


  1. Oh, well that explains it!

    And here I thought my mother was a little obsessive compulsive!

    Thanks for a very amusing post!


  2. Hi Daisy!

    We kids always laughed about my mom and the "bogeyman" that she was sure was always waiting to get us. We would even call her at night to tease her by saying, "Did you remember to lock the doors?" Funny, now I find myself doing the same silly things.

    Thanks for stopping by again!

  3. Actually Randi, Sybella and Madonna always seemed German to me. I'm Iriish, so is Daryl, the spitting image of Grandpa Guertin. Vince was a little leprechaun. The twins are also Irish.

  4. Whew! I was afraid for a minute that you were going to say my mom was German too, and I KNOW she was Irish. She had a map of Ireland hanging in her living room. She knew St. Patrick personally.

    Yeah, I can totally see Vince as a leprechaun.

  5. Randi: Despite your uncle Danny's comment that I have "always seemed German," (whatever that means), color me green. The added comment that Daryl is Irish because he's the spitting image of Grandpa Guertin makes no sense. Grandpa Guertin was French Canadian.
    To rah loo rah loo rah....

  6. Auntie M.,

    Zhoo meen I have a leetle French in me too, Oui Oui?

    Nevertheless, I attest to my being 100% Irish. I know this because I hold my hands stiffly by my sides when I dance. I also think I would make a dang fine redhead.

    I know Madonna must be Irish because I believe her feet have actually touched hallowed ground.

    And Danny boy? How much more of an Irish name can you get?

    We rock.

  7. You probably don't want to know that the whole back side of my house does not even have curtains on its many, many windows....

  8. Jill,

    Aren't you afraid???? Or do you not turn on any lights after 5:00? Now I not only will worry about myself, I'll be worrying about you! :)

  9. Daryl is the spitting image of Grandpa Guertin, who is the father of Agnes Isabella, which is where the Irish in the family came from. The other side is straight German. Joe, Mike, Gary, Larry all seem German to me. The little red head Donald was probably Irish. Didn't know Norma so can't say. Pat & Mike were David and Dennis. In the end you are who you identify with.
    I feel Irish and relate to Yeats and Joyce but I also like German art. Years ago I was told that Dries was actually a Belgian name and I do also love Belgian art... so it goes.

  10. So anyway, my Irish Uncle Danny, did you have a good St. Patrick's Day?

  11. Okay, I'm still rolling from laughter after the comment about wearing a man's hat. That was too hilarious! As a note, my mom used to stand outside of the bathroom stalls when we had to go to the bathroom- unfortunately it was when I was 12 :P Being a mother just means you are naturally paranoid, every story you hear you imagine your kids in it and it terrifies you. I feel like I need a leash to keep track of Gulie half the time :P

  12. juliegoose: I always thought my mother was too compulsive about being careful until I became a mom. That's funny about your mom waiting outside the stall door! I've done the same thing. It gets harder when your son is 11 and you have to decide whether to scar him for life by making him come to the women's restroom with you, or leave him alone with the pervs in the men's restroom.


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