January 28, 2012

"My mother tried her best, but was saddled with many fears that she passed onto me with the highest anxiety."

Writes Fred Stoller:
I'm pretty sure I'm the only nine-year-old who set up a lemonade stand, whose mother reacted by panicking: "What if it goes under? Don't do it, Freddie." And my mother also panicked about my imminent rejection when as a teenager I wanted to work at Burger King to earn my own spending money. "Yeah, right! They're waiting for you," she brutally informed me.
From "My Seinfeld Year," a Kindle Single book that I blogged about — and read in its entirety — yesterday.

21 comments:

vet66 said...

My Mom and Dad taught me early on that there was no "money tree" in the back yard. In no uncertain terms I was informed that if I wanted something extra or special I would have to earn the money for it. Turned the paper route into a lawn mowing and edging enterprise, box boy and babysitter.

Then I was drafted, but that is another story. I did learn the value of a dollar and life is precious. Thanks Mom and Dad...and one Drill Instructor.

Curious George said...

Ha...paper route too. From age 8 til high school. Penny a paper. About a dollar a day. 1 1-2 to 2 hours every morning before school. My parents let me keep $5. The rest into savings.

In high school worked at my dad's employer, or pumped gas, or both.

Like vet66, grateful too.

sydney said...

The thinigs a mother can do. I am constantly asking myself if I am being another brick in the wall or a door.

Darrell said...

Do these ring true?
No. Sounds like stuff for a comedy skit. But do go on . . .

sydney said...

Do these ring true?
They probably are exaggerated for comedic effect, but it's surprising how the slightest turn of phrase can be picked up and interpreted by a child, especially if it an emotion/opinion that gets repeated in subtle ways, even when meant lovingly. Angst and subtle criticism are probably the most common ones we communicate unintentionally to our kids. (Or at least I do)

Jeff with one 'f' said...

I can relate.

ricpic said...

Stoller's next book: How My Mother Effed Me Up

robinintn said...

And yet, he seems pretty successful.

madAsHell said...

He pitched one idea, and they didn't like it. They tried to re-direct him, and he failed to heed the advice.

dbp said...

I remember a bit Fred Stoller did on an early Comedy Central show, I think Dr. Katz, that had to do with his mom.

My mom says I should go to college, and I say, "Ma, why should I go to college"? And she says, "Then you can tell people you are a college graduate". "Oh, like I can't tell them that now"? "If I don't go to college, then it will come out--I'm a college gagaba"?

Note: The quotation marks are for the sake of grammar. The above is from memory and are likely not exactly what Fred Stoller said.

Pogo said...

Maybe a bit of reverse psychology, causing you to redouble your efforts.

Whenever I would bitch about football practice, my Mom would say, Oh honey, just quit. Made me a little ashamed, and I never quit.

sydney said...

Pogo,
Ha. My husband did that to me in residency when I wanted to give up and quit. He told me I could if I wanted to. I didn't, and I'm glad. Good thing I still have his help with our kids.

edutcher said...

My mother's Catholic faith taught me I had worth; my father insisted I have a good education.

Self-esteem I got from my uncle Bill, my uncle Alec, and from my aunt Claribel.

Craig said...

My dad always called me a schnook when I did or said anything he considered substandard and we weren't Jewish. Our religion was German.

Synova said...

If someone tried the reverse psychology thing on me I would have just quit. There are too many other interesting things to do. I was watching a tv show once (it was Fame) and the music teacher was all "you suck!" and the girl got mad and tried harder. I'd have responded (but only in my own head) "Eff you!" and walked out.

I'm also inclined to not encourage my kids to do things that I'm certain won't work. I try not to do this too much, and realize that I should have encouraged the hopeless lemonade stands when they were really young, even though they wouldn't have made any money at all. Still, I can bear to imagine my kids facing disappointment.

I think this is why kids need more than one parent. If they're lucky the other one will decide that falling down is good for them and reign the over protective parent in a bit.

Chip Ahoy said...

Those two examples are hilarious, made up or not.

Chip Ahoy said...

When I look back I realize my parents abetted the things I thought up. They were wonderful facilitators as if that was the whole point of having kids. I see now how they arranged their lives for us.

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Then there is the teacher who "inspires."

Penny said...

"It sucked being a good kid."

Sucks even more being a bad adult, those sleepless nights and all. ;)

The Crack Emcee said...

It sucked being a good kid. I don't recommend it. Kids, disobey your parents. They are WRONG sometimes. You don't want to be hypnotized by their miscalculations.

Don't make me start talking about being raised in foster care. Your folks did the best they could with what little they had - intellectually or otherwise - but, most importantly, they were there. Shit, they bought you a fucking car? Good lord.

I just shake my head reading some of you guys,...