So, you remember the Saturday Night Live skit, about moms who can’t correctly say celebrity names?
Well, you may think they’re overstating the problem, but I’m here to tell you that it’s real. Not only that, some mothers not only f*ck up celebrity names, but regular old, run-of-the-mill WORDS.
Case in point…my Ridiculously Cute Mom.
My mom is pretty cute for a 60-something–she puts the “sexy” in “sexagenarian”–and she’s also chirpy and lovable, and sweet (mostly), and this is a good thing, because just as the cuteness of babies keeps you from strangling them from all the trouble they give you, my mom’s adorable nature evens out the exasperation that comes from having a conversation with her.
Recently, my sister-in-law (let’s call her Dollface, since that’s what she is–a foul-mouthed, crazy-tough beauty with the face of an angel) and I were having a discussion with my mom, in her kitchen.
We were talking about a particular individual, and my mother–with her trademark knowing nod, which always adds an extra layer of humor to her verbal mash ups–says…”Yes, and isn’t he a Milano?”
Dollface and I pause, look at each other, and then I turn back to my mom and ask, carefully…
“Is he a delicious sandwich cookie with a chocolately center? No, I don’t think so.”
“No, no, no…” my mother waves off my comment and tries to explain it to me. “He’s part black and part white.” She enunciates it, with the patient expression of someone exercising forbearance with an intellectual inferior. “A Milano.”
“You know, Mom,” I can feel myself slipping into my own trademark knowing nod, “I really think you’re mistaken. In fact, I know you are; you mean a MULATTO. And also…this isn’t the 18th century; we just say, “mixed” now.”
It took a minute for it to sink in, but after she realized that she was indeed messing it up, she threw her head back and laughed her evil genius laugh (it’s bizarre to see a cute little Hobbit of a woman belly laugh a deep “MWAAAHAHAHAHA!” worthy of Cruella deVille, but this is also a standard of hers).
And then she said, “That must be why I’ve had to explain to so many people what that word is!”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen…my mom has been on a campaign of misinformation, telling unsuspecting citizens that the correct term for a person of mixed ancestry is…Milano.
It’s one thing when it’s just her, but to think that the general public is being influenced by this woman…but I can only do so much. I have five kids, and I have to earn a living. She’s loose for most of the day on her own, so…if you run into a small, cute, tattooed woman in her sixties and she tries to tell you that the correct way to pronounce the name of that popular Mexican restaurant is “Chipoultice”, don’t believe her. Trust your heart. You know what you know.