Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Birthdays make me feel old...

...even when they are someone else's birthdays.

September is the month when the two women who gave me the most -- and took the most away when they split -- were born. At least that brings the me-to-them age ratio back in line (at least until next April).

I sent one a note, the other a card. It's a matter who whose departure left behind more pain....

And what do these female natal days make me think of? Not taking a swan dive out the window, because I'm on the second floor and I'd likely only break a few bones. Nope, it makes me think of a comedian.

Jackie "Moms" Mabley, that's who.

The same twisted high-school teacher who hipped me to the novels of Terry Southern, the songs of Tom Lehrer and the outrageous comedy of Redd Foxx hipped me to Moms. In each instance, the records and books were to be devoured in private; my parents wouldn't have dug what these people were laying down.

Moms was billed as "the funniest woman in show business." She was. She laid 'em in the aisles at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem for many years; she laid 13 year-old me in the aisles at home, too.

What I didn't realize then -- how could I, at that age? -- was that some of her great lines would one day apply to me.

Even more, the two women mentioned above, who share both birth month and first-name initials, are probably thinking of me in the same way Moms thought of her husband, who was apparently some years older:

"If there is one thing in the world I hate, it's an old man. My late husband--God rest his soul--was so old he got out of breath just trying to thread a needle. I told him: 'Honey, you're sick, why don't you take out some insurance?' He said, 'I ain't gonna take out a damn bit. When I die I want it to be a sad day for everybody!'

"I'm telling you, that man was pitiful...He was so old Santa Claus looked like his son. Why he was so old that when his sister died and we went to the funeral, the minister walked over, tapped him on the back and asked: 'How old are you, pops?'...'Ninety-one,' he replied,which prompted the preacher to add: 'No need of you going home then.' And ugly--my, that man was ugly. He was so ugly he hurt my feelings. He had to slip up on a glass of water to get a drink of water. He had a job in a doctor's office standing by the door making people sick. And if you want to make me sick, just show me an old man!

I thought he never would die...I shouldn't talk like that about him though. He dead. They say you shouldn't say nothing about the dead unless you can say something good. He dead. GOOD!"


Damn, Moms, you gotta hurt my feelings, too.

Can't stop laughing with you, though.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

How do I say this without anyone taking it wrong...I prefer old men?( cause I am no spring chicken myself?):-P
sorry this month holds sadness...
Lou

MrScribbler said...

Lou -- Moms was gettin' along in years when she was at the peak of her comedy form...but she was feisty!

I'm feisty, too. No one cares....

MrScribbler said...

Before I forget...I'm happy that each of them is having a birthday, and wish both many, many more.

Wish I could be there with either one....

Birdie said...

interesting, my ex was also born this month... hmmmmm, interesting.

but you sent both of them a note... that shows what a cool, thoughtful person you are. Neither my ex-hubby nor ex-bf of 7 years thought of ME! So, I decided not to think of them, either. Yeh, I know, 2 wrongs don't make a right....

The IAA just started and I can't help but think that you were supposed to be here *snif*....

betty said...

Like birdie said, you're a classy guy to send them notes and cards. They just don't know what they're missing..

John said...

Dang.

Anonymous said...

Well...I'm old and ugly too. So ugly I'd make a train take a dirt road. I think my wife considers it to be okay though...she knows I CAN'T stray! Most women ran when they saw me coming...(she wears glasses)

MaFan