“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.” — Sir Walter Scott
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.
And so, my friends, it seems the fact is, all of us could use more practice." — perhaps Odgen Nash or Dorothy Parker, I don't know
(Note: this post is a sequel. For the full effect, read the post below first.)
My mom can sniff out deceit faster than a pig rooting for truffles.
Not 24 hours had passed from the moment my son Jack committed his musical fender bender on the very lovely trumpet my parents gave him for his twelfth birthday before my mother called an impromptu musical family reunion. Every now and then my mom likes to pretend her offspring are the Cowsills or the Partridge family. This is usually fueled by visits from my airline pilot brother, who is a drummer in a band when he's not inconvenienced by having to fly planes.
"Your brother's in town for only one night! We're re-stringing your dad's guitar. I'm calling from the music store right now. Tell Kate to bring her guitar and Jack to bring his trumpet! We want to hear the solo he played today."
"Uhhhh, okay, Mom, I'll see if we have room for all that. Um, Jack may be trumpeted out for one day."
"Just bring it. I promised your brother that Jack would play for him. Go pack it right now."
I swear, this was no coincidence. I know in my bones that some radar inside my mom was going off, "Alert! Alert! Have you checked that expensive trumpet you bought for your grandson lately? Something's going on and you need to know about it!"
I wearily packed the crumpled trumpet for the trip to Mom's. There was no use trying to come up with anything other than the horrible truth.
When I was in junior high, Mom would ask me what I had for lunch that day. As casually as possible, I'd say, "Oh, breaded veal cutlet, mashed potatoes, fruit cup and let's see...one of those mellorine bar things."
"Tracy, don't lie to your mother. You had a corn dog and a raspberry jelly roll. And two Dr. Peppers!"
How did she always know? And why did she only ask me on the days I ate the crappy stuff? Thirty five years later, I'm still terrified of her Truth-Seeking-Radar.
My mom loves to spend great gobs of money on my children. She also loves to remind me of that fact. ("Is Kate wearing that sweater I BOUGHT HER?") After the lengthy hoo-hah my folks went through in order to acquire the perfect trumpet for Jack— phone calls to music stores all over the country and finally their frenzied involvement in various Ebay auctions, I could not bear to think of their reaction when they discovered what had become of Jack's horn.
"Did you bring the trumpet?" Mom demanded shortly after I arrived at her house.
"Uh, yeah, I think so."
"Well, don't you know? Who packed it, you or Jack?"
"I think I did."
"Well, then, go get it! Your brother wants to see it!"
"Uhhh, Mom, about Jack's trumpet. I don't want to bring it out; I don't want Jack to be upset. Yesterday he put a dent in it and he feels so lousy about it, he was crying like crazy. Even though it plays fine, I've got to take it to be repaired. I don't want him to see you looking at it; he just feels terrible. You understand."
"Oh, okay. That poor baby! But I wouldn't have been mad!" (Oh yeah? Now who's fibbing, Mom?)
Shoot. I meant to ask her not to tell Dad.