In search of story

September 21.22: Coping, but barely


My mother had a habit —

endearing it was not —

that ended every argument

abruptly on the spot.

“That’s just dumb!” the guillotine,

no gentle, soft word cuddle,

the end, finis, the fortress wall

to onslaught of rebuttal.

To consider rank stupidity,

deserving of disdain,

to her was waste of time

and energy and brain.

I’d messily implode

when she Mommed me in this way,

but I must admit I hear me

quoting her today.

“Don’t cook chicken in Nyquil,”

the headline black and bold,

bewilders and confounds —

is it just because I’m old?

Besides the who-cares? key

that’s lacking on my board,

the that’s-just-dumb key’s missing

and I’d like it underscored.


Really, dear reader? Don’t cook chicken in Nyquil? Did you ever wish your parents, grandparents, or others in their generations were around to react to the things that assail us on the computer screen? I do. I think I’d laugh a lot.


Cookbook by Betty Crocker, 1940. Which you probably guessed.

I like to keep things that are older than I am, even if squeakingly so.

18 thoughts on “September 21.22: Coping, but barely

  1. I love “she Mommed me.”

    Our parents had a way of ending arguments, too. Some of the things I see these days has me searching my keyboard for those keys. And, oh my goodness do we need better emojis.

  2. Well, if chicken soup is good for whatever ails you and Nyquil can put you to sleep, I think we can all figure this out for ourselves, Maureen…😂😂😂 A ‘that’s just dumb’ key would be so perfect.

  3. I wanted to scream when I saw that warning in the headlines.

  4. Every time I think my mind has been boggled as much as it can be, something like cooking chicken in Nyquil comes along and proves me wrong! There truly is no cure for stupid.

    Your poem is perfect. With my mother it was “How stupid are you.” It was said as a statement, not a question. End of discussion.

    I still have my Better Homes and Garden Cook Book that was a wedding present in 1961. Unfortunately it looks as old, worn out and frayed around the edges as I do. Lol! But the spine is in better shape than mine. Not fair!

    I’m on board for those computer keys Maureen, or in my case, iPad keys. I would simply add that both your key suggestions should be underlined AND in bold print! And I agree with Dan, new and better emojis.

    Ummmm, as fate would have it, we’re having chicken for dinner. No Nyquil used here for anything, so I’ll just have to muddle through with my usual herbs and spices.

    • I’m sure your chicken is disappointed not to be cooked in Nyquil! I’m sure it is all the rage — somewhere. Apparently not in the kitchens of anyone I know in blogdom! I think your mother and mine would have got along together well. And you are so right about spines — it isn’t fair that a cookbook holds up better than we do! I understand perfectly about the perpetually boggled mind: these things just don’t stop!

  5. I read that very early this morning and told Hubs rather loudly that we had to be the stupidest people in the world to even consider that and then be proud of the social media traction on TikTok. I’ve never had an interest in TikTok, and I think this could be one of the reasons. Your Mom would have put this in its place – ‘that’s just plain dumb’ because it is. It also solidifies my position as a dinosaur, and I’m okay with that in this instance. 🙂

    • Hooray for the dinosaurs! I think our generation did one or two stupid things — I seem to remember something about stuffing Volkswagens with people — but surely we weren’t THIS stupid. If there are any remnants of us a thousand years from now, the archaeologists will just shake their heads and bury it all deeper. They won’t want to know!

  6. Omigosh! I’m too old to remember phone booths!

  7. The Nyquil headlines eluded me and I even had to look up what it was. It doesn’t sound like the best idea. ‘Your grandmother’s method of skinning a goose’ sounds like a joke along the ‘don’t teach your grandma to suck eggs’ line. I suppose in those days, grandmas did not need to be taught, but these days we have TikTok.

    Mama’s way of stopping arguments was to say ‘Don’t contradict!’

  8. “Don’t contradict” sounds a little less like the guillotine, but the thing is that moms have a certain way of saying things and the words themselves don’t capture the whole mom tone. As for not teaching my grandma to suck eggs, that’s a new one on me! You are right, I’m sure, that, back in “those days” of skinning geese, grandmas didn’t need to be taught. I did laugh to imagine my grandmas with TikTok. (I can’t even imagine ME with TikTok.) Aren’t you glad you now know about cooking chicken in Nyquil? Sometimes people on this side of the water are hard to explain.

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