Skip to main content
This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

“Don’t sully my reputation.”

Words texted to me by my mother after she read one of my blogs.

She took exception to something I said, so she let me know.

The thing my mother took exception to was not finding out, 37 years later, in a blog post, that I kissed a boy when I was 15.

The thing my mother took exception to was not any of the four-letter words that have escaped my fingers.

No, the thing my mother took exception to is that when my brothers and I were kids, she used to let us have four cookies. And in my blog about cookies, I stated unequivocally that it was three.

“Ask Kevin,” she said.

If anyone will remember a thing, it’s my brother Kevin. He has a memory like an elephant, and will tell you exactly where you were and what you did on any given day in 1982.

“The mean lady allowed four cookies,” she said.  “Ask Kevin.”

Ok, I’ll ask Kevin, but he read the blog, too, and didn’t correct me.

Besides, my memory is flawless. How could I get something that fundamental wrong?

I mean, it’s not like I open the pantry and then stand there and wonder why I opened the pantry. It’s not like I go shopping because I ran out of milk then come home with $75 worth of groceries, none of which include milk. It’s not like I send the “whoops, I missed your birthday” card to my mother every single year.

“She let us have four.”

That’s what Kevin said.

Well why didn’t you tell me!

“I didn’t want to correct you on your own blog.”

I think, if there is anything worse than being corrected on your own blog, it’s not being corrected on your blog and finding out two days later that you were completely delusional about your own childhood.

The good news is that I can correct the record, and I get a word out of the deal.

Memories are funny things like that. You could swear a thing, and then find out you were wrong even though your brain still insists you’re right. If it’s just you and your memory, there is nobody to correct you so you can go on remembering whatever you like.

If another person opposes you, you can drink wine and argue about who’s memory is correct.

But when you’re the odd woman out, you have to sift back through your thoughts for a minute and try to remember things the way you’re supposed to.

I guess we were allowed four cookies. I have no basis in the faulty reality in my mind for believing that, except my mother said it’s true, and Kevin backed her up.

I’ll console myself knowing that my mother allowed us some finite and specific number of cookies even if I don’t remember it properly, and correct my official statement lest the world at large think my mother was some sort of monster.

Also, I get to go eat another cookie now because normally I’d eat three and remind myself that mom would say “enough.” So being wrong worked out pretty well this time.

My mother is not a monster. I’ve been corrected. My word is done, and now I have plenty of time to go eat an extra cookie.

Photo, left to right: Ralph, me, Kevin, mom. My brother Eric passed out on the couch in the background. Christmas circa 2016.