Saturday, May 31, 2014


Where do memories hide inside our brains? 

I dunno. 

Cerebellum? Pons? Medulla oblongata? 

Fuck if I know. 

They’re somewhere inside my gorgeous head, that much I am sure about. Another mystery, to me at least, is how those memories are conjured. Smells, sounds, familiar places … all that you know. 

What about a sensation? How does that memory rear itself again?

I had the best mother in the world. You read that right. The best. Your mom? No, no, no. Your mom is a bitch compared to mine. I said it. Your mom is a dirty pirate hooker when placed against my mommy. 

What made my mother so wonderful was her zest for life and good humor. She loved being alive, and she loved to laugh. My childhood, adolescence, and late teens with her were absorbed in constant revelry. No matter the insane circumstances surrounding us, she would find a light moment in them. That is a sincere gift. 

Hardly anyone has it. 

Today, everyone is a self-absorbed victim. They’re all racial victims of one kind or another, gender victims, sexual orientation victims, and they’re taught to think that way from an early age by parents and teachers. This, of course, takes away from REAL victims, people who have been truly and honestly brutalized. But this is the way of our careless society, and I cannot help thinking how my mother’s presence in it today would’ve helped a lot of these bratty self-righteous wankers sober up a bit. 

My mother could have been a victim of that sort. She certainly was a situational victim of the failed so-called Sexual Revolution of her generation (my father abandoned her). She was a single mother (a heavy stigma at the time) without more than a high school education, working two and sometimes three jobs to survive (today, academicians would label her a victim of class warfare).

Without an intellectual edifice of any kind, without philosophical theory, she muddled on, earning as much of her way in this world as she could. Not a lot of good came her way in the time she and I were together. What good there was she manufactured, she made happen. When weeks would go by affording us only the ability to eat eggs and cheese, she would broaden a smile and announce some new combination of the two staples for that night’s meal, that morning’s breakfast, or the afternoon’s lunch. 

It was a constant, running joke. It was sad and so very funny all at the same time. Even today, I hesitate to combine eggs and cheese, … as I’ve had my fill for a lifetime. 

She would work and work and work, coming home so tired she’d just collapse onto her bed. In the morning, I’d see her sleeping. 

Her mouth would be open on the pillow, and little globules of saliva escaped down the bulbous parts of the sheet. 

She never liked when I’d leave for school without at least telling her I loved her. I tried it a couple of times out of respect for her slumber, only to be castigated later. Got it. Must wake her up at any cost.  So I’d do that. Sometimes I’d softly pet her hair, but that usually took too long. Other times I’d whisper the phrase into her available ear, but that was usually met with the swatting motion one might give an annoying fly.

I had to try another tactic.

I did.

I’d slowly lift the bedspread covers, exposing her bare feet. With my index finger I’d climb the arches of her foot, causing the limp limb to contract suddenly. This would, of course, force her entire body to convulse. That alone would make me laugh. And me being me I could not help but continue the attack. After a few seconds, she’d totally give-in, and instead of awaking pissed she’d bounce upright with a toothy grin. Her eyes betrayed that smile, however. They were sunken and dark around the edges, signs I’d later learn were tell-tale signatures of chronic fatigue. To me she just looked like mom, tired. And this was a look she kept for nearly the duration of my life.

She’d then shake her hair, swing her legs to the floor, landing her feet perfectly into awaiting slippers. She shuffled off to get my breakfast, talking incessantly about what a beautiful day it was going to be (even if it happened to be raining) and how excited I should be for coming events.

This was our morning ritual. Mother and son. Slobber and a tickle. 

Nothing about her was morose or sad, negative or churlish. She was very at home in the world, in love with her life. Again, it wasn't something she told me to be. She showed me. She modeled it for me. And even today, when I am in some rather tough spots emotionally, everyone continually remarks I seem happy. That's my mother's example, living inside me.

This morning I awoke with my feet poking out of my blanket, and I could feel the morning’s chilly bite (I left my window cracked). My toes curled, cracking to greet the day.

I stared at the ceiling.

All the sudden, in an awakening haze, I remembered how I used to wake my mother nearly every morning.

I am so glad I remembered.

And I mean it.  


Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children.

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