(downward dog photo from shawnradcliffe.com)
“It’s an exercise position in ‘U-ga’ – the new, personality work-out, derived from Yoga by some people at Ohio Presbyterian University,” Wendy says. “So it’s both a total, self-image stretch, and the expression of U-ga self-revelation.”
She’s on the phone with “The Momster,” also known as Joyce Frisbee, Mom, Mooter, Mommaries, or sometimes just “Mother.” The last one often said in an exasperated held-back shout, as in:
THE MOMSTER: He sounds nice, dear. But how does Crunch-Bang rate with regards to the Big 3 reqs: Has a job that has a future, is looking to get married, and have kids?
WENDY: (exasperated) Mother!
The Momster pauses for a moment on the phone, before responding. She’s standing in the kitchen of the 4-bedroom, 5-bath, 2,800 square-foot empty nest she shares with Wendy’s step-Dad twice-removed – as in the co-signatory of her mother’s second remarriage agreement, after leaving Wendy’s bio-Dad, Harry “Hayburner” Lindholm. Which became just another in a string of life’s disabilities that Hayburner Lindholm would encounter in his life, after playing outside linebacker for the Dolphins for seven seasons, until a blindside late block by Dallas Bengal of the Falcons left him walking on 1.43 legs for the balance of his non-career.
“Ohio Presbyterian University?” the Momster finally says, in the lead-in to an incisive comment that’s not too covertly dressed in question clothes. With “incisive”, in this happy time of ad hominem in ad nauseam, having more to do with slicing up another’s sense of self than sharpening the actual focus of ideas. “Oh, right. In higher education circles they call it ‘O, P-U’ – right?”
“Funny, Mrs. Frisbee,” Wendy says. “Your wit floats like an outdoor air-toy, looking to make a good impression on a passing set of canine teeth.”
The reference being to Harold Frisbee, The Momster’s husband no. 3, and someone who often sidesteps questions about his family lineage, just to leave some air of doubt floating in the conversation air as to his connection to a possible inventor. With Harold, in point of birth, having no immediate familial connection to the Frisbee whose light-bulb moment occurred after watching a flying dinner plate leave his hand, during an argument at the table with his wife about the proper way of cooking schnitzel.
The actual Mrs. Frisbee in the idea scene, ducking her head down low beside a bowl of buttered peas, as the Corelle “featherweight” plate sailed above her chair and through the doorway to the living room, before being plucked from the modern-American decor ether like a dinner bird come home to roost, by Roscoe, the family’s 4-year-old black Labrador retriever with a still-fetching sense of fun and games.
Enter the ghost of Julia Child, carrying a platter full of artfully-arranged sliced beets with toasted almonds, nestled beneath a cloud of Hollandaise sauce that’s a model of Left-Bank Puritan restraint. “Good boy, Roscoe,” she comments in a shaky ice-skate alto, before tossing a thick sauce-covered beet slice onto the tile floor beneath the tv. As Roscoe drops the dinner plate and leaps, downward dog, onto the bon appetite.
“Mom,” Wendy finally says, “just say you’re happy for me. So I can go have sex without the image of you scowling in my head.”
The phone connection is silent, save for the “Easy Listening 103.9” playing in the background on Joyce Frisbee’s kitchen radio.
“Really? And this silence is the sound of the easy-listening emptiness that is now your life?” Wendy says, smiling, before she disconnects.
2017-02-27 18:09:48 (625 words)
▸ “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” 2015, wtr/Jesse Andrews, dir/Alfonso Gomez-Rejon