Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mining the laughs of despair

 Here we are nearing the weekend, and if I continue with my idea from last week, that makes today Crabby Pants Thursday.

We’ll see how long I can sustain this, though, considering my warring temperament of being an optimist but with a jaundiced view of her fellow man.

I suppose I could complain about donning my golf togs and driving over to the city course only to have it begin raining immediately after I’d paid. But it was all fine. I chatted with a few friends, got a credit toward next week’s league play, and ran a bunch of errands on my way home. Frankly, I’ve been playing so badly it was a relief.

No, I thought the delightful graphic novel I picked up at the library might qualify for today’s theme. But if it was so delightful, you ask, why should it appear on Crabby Pants Thursday?

The book is by Roz Chast, the wonderful cartoonist for The New Yorker.

Her mother could easily occupy the throne of the Crabby Pants Queen.

Chast takes you through her relationship with her parents, aging into their 90s, and the family’s struggle with impending death, complicated by their interactions with each other ingrained over the years. It’s been described as a “grim, sidesplitting memoir”.

Her mother takes domineering to a whole other level. With an IQ of 152, she ruled over her husband and daughter and was as un-nurturing as Roz’s father was kind.

 Roz writes: “I gave up on ever trying to ‘get my way.’ I barely knew it existed.”

And yet Mom Chast is funny and maddening as she plows her way past life’s obstacles. After her mother’s cataract operation, Roz learns that mom’s driving with one patch over her eye. Roz freaks out over the now-compromised depth perception. Her mother’s response: “Not a problem. Daddy guided me.”

As I read, I wondered how many things I do that drive my kids nuts. I saw how true my own mother’s maxim was of: “People don’t just get old, they get more so.”

This could be a primer for those of us dealing with aging parents (or ourselves) and all the baggage and heartbreak it can bring.      But funny! 


  1. I suspect this is a memoir that would make me laugh - and wince in rueful recognition.

  2. I am always thankful, in retrospect, how easy our mother was to live with and deal with the last several years of her life. I hope my kids can say the same. It ain't over yet.

  3. Sounds like a good read and I'm sure I could find myself in the story.

  4. It sounds like an interesting read.

  5. This is one I won't miss. Thank you for the recommendation. I love Roz;


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