Every now and then, I threaten to embarrass my children. I don’t often carry through on this threat, although I’ve inadvertently embarrassed them plenty over the years. Which is fine. As their mother, it’s my job to make them cringe on occasion. More than my job, it’s my duty, my métier, my calling. Singing in public once sufficed to embarrass them. Singing behind the wheel at a red light along with some moronic, auto-tuney, overproduced pop song while writhing to the beat in herky-jerkalicious nerd-o-mom convulsions still suffices, although they swear it doesn’t.
They also swear they HAVE NO MEMORY of those many times, recalled quite vividly by moi, when I and/or their late father danced in public. I remember doing so at the Victorian Stroll in downtown Troy one December. Right on Second Street, I think it was. The sight apparently caused the three of them so much physical and psychic pain that they blocked the memory for good, or at least until they undergo hypnotic regression therapy at the age of 50. (I see. . . my mother. . . . shaking her booty. . . near a hairy old man in jingle bells. . . someone, help me. . . )
I haven’t danced in the street in a while. What I do enjoy, on occasion, is expressing a desire to purchase some hideously awful item of clothing, especially shoewear, with the suggestion that I might actually walk around near people in it. I had some fun back in the mid-2000s when I declared an interest in purchasing rocker-bottom sneakers, and I was so convincing in this declaration that my No. 2 daughter howled NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO until her eyes bled. I think. Or something like that. It was a little scary. And then, if I recall correctly, she made me participate in a pagan blood oath with sharp kitchen implements while I throat-sang I PROMISE NOT TO BUY SKECHERS SHAPE-UPS in Tuvan overtones.
I never did buy them. But last week, I was with her when I saw this awesome pair of Adidas hi-tops, and I mean awesome, all tan and suede and ringed with fringe. Fringe! No fooling! On a pair of sneakers! David Crockett’s own, baby! Who wouldn’t want to wear those things?
Oooooooohhhh, I said as though I meant it (and I’m not saying whether I did). Ooooohhhh, look at these! I want them! I need them! I’m gonna buy them! Yes!
And my No 2. daughter howled NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. I think. Or something like that. Although her eyes didn’t bleed this time. Also, this time she added, just in case I didn’t get the point: MOM. IF YOU BUY THOSE, I WILL BURN THEM.
I didn’t buy them. The shoes had already served their purpose — and I’d already done my job.