She's a Real Mother

Mutha's got eyes in the back of her head.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pity and Nutrition

One of the great disappointments of my childhood was that my mom would not let me get a cool lunchbox. Paper bags had served her well through 5 children and she was not about to change course for the sixth one. But she underestimated my ability to beg.

I wanted a Brady Bunch lunch box something awful. I dreamed of bringing the Partridge Family to school with me every day.
But my ma would not budge.

"I'll spend all that money," she would say (meanwhile, how much could lunch boxes have cost in the early to mid-'70s??) "and then you'll end up liking some other TV show and want something different the next year."

So my mother disagreed with lunchboxes in principle, and even if she DID change her mind -- she wanted me to take one lunchbox to the grave. Hard to concoct an argument to counter that when you're 7.

But then I saw the lines of reasoning she would go for: Pity and Nutrition.

Pity: Milk cost a dime. I explained to my mother that when she sent my lunch in a brown bag, the dime would routinely slip between the folds of paper at the bottom and I would be reduced to tears. Could she imagine her only daughter going without a healthy, vitamin and protein-packed beverage? Sniffle.

Nutrition: Lunchboxes have Thermoses. You can pack all sorts of wonderfully nutritious soups in Thermoses, Mom. (P.S. I hated soup -- that is how desperate I was.)

But somehow it worked! The next August she said I could get a lunchbox! But then declared that SHE would pick it out. Tearful, I agreed. And what did I get? The classic red plaid.

My embarrassment at carrying that lunchbox for the next three years would only soften in my late teens when, consumed with punk chic, I carried a replica as my purse.


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Very funny post. My brother had an Incredible Hulk lunchbox, the lucky bastard.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Clowncar said...

We give our kids paper bags, but often draw pictures on the outside.

I had a Lost In Space lunchbox.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Mutha said...

But what about you Doug! What did you have?!

Lost in Space!! get out! No way! Jealousy consumes me.

At 12:52 AM, Blogger Here I Stand said...

I remember you carrying that lunch box all through CJHS AND GHS.

Do you still have it?

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Awesome post! But unfortunately you've brought up a painful I'm forced to share.

My parents finally bought me a Fantastic Four lunchbox and two days after I got it I set it on the ground at the bus stop so I could play with the other kids...and some jackass backed over it with his car.

Everybody laughed and I had to carry a smashed lunchbox to school..and had no lunch. I wasn't really hungry anyway...

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Mutha said...

H.I.S.: I hate to contradict you but I did not carry the lunch box in junior high. By then, I was exhausted by how uncool I was. But -- YES I did carry it in high school, when (if you'll remember) I hung out with the foreign exchange students (authentic punks from Berlin and London), the art wing kids, and drama production kids.Wait a minute -- I'll have to share the rest of this story for another post.

Jackie: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Oh the humanity! The Fantastic Four intrigue me so much. I was never into comics as a kid -- but my husband loved The Four and has turned me on to them. They are real head-cases. Especially The Thing! Poor guy. And why is the rubbery guy Mr. Fantastic? Quite an ego.


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