Wednesday, June 10, 2009

So's Your Mother

Time: 1969
Place: Chattanooga, TN

He came from New York City. He was our neighbors’ cousin and he stayed with them for two weeks. I will call him Phil in honor of Phillip Roth.

Phil was 16. He had an overbearing personality and a thick New York accent. Under most circumstances, he would have been annoying, but we neighborhood kids had never met anyone like him before. He fascinated us. It was like having a platypus show up and do tricks.

One day Phil went on a tear about how he’d had sex with all the Jewish mothers in our neighborhood. His description of how he came to know each of our mothers in a biblical way followed the same basic pattern. He’d stopped by one of our houses and found only the mother home alone. The mother forced him to come inside and soon she was naked and demanding sex. Or she was already naked. He would describe our mothers’ bodies in the grossest terms possible. He gave each mother a particular defect. Mrs. Blumberg was fat with lots of loose flesh. Mrs. Greenberg had foul body odor. My mother’s breath was so bad, Phil almost passed out. In every story, he would start screwing the mother, but then something would happen that forced him to leave in a hurry. Our favorite was when a mother would fart so loud and smell so awful, Phil gagged and ran for his live.

I was 12 at the time and had never heard anything so dirty. We didn’t for a moment believe his stories were true nor do I think Phil expected us to believe him. After a few stories, we realized that he only had three basic plots that he used for all the mothers. The stories were entertainment. Instead of being offended, we started to demand that he repeat stories or include a mother he missed.

“What about Mrs. Alpert? Did you visit her?”

“Oh right, Mrs. Alpert,” Phil replied. “Yes, I was walking by her house when she flung open the door and there she was, stark naked, her tits hanging down pass her bellybutton, and her vagina covered with so much hair I thought she was had a raccoon in her crotch. ‘Phil,’ she called, ‘Could you please come here.’”

Everybody laughed and rolled their eyes. I didn’t laugh. When someone tells me a story or a joke of any kind, I try to visualize it. I didn’t want to visualize Phil’s stories, but I couldn’t help myself. I kept seeing our Jewish mothers prancing around naked and farting. It was the first time I thought of female naked flesh and was not excited in any way. It was just odd and wrong.

Phil’s two week visit ended and I never saw him again, but from time to time, I still see the naked mothers and they’re still dancing and they’re still farting.

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

That last line is so great.

Philip Roth is so great.