Lead Butt and The Local News

Credit Paul Brennan

I messed with the universe at 4:45am when I decided not to walk the dog. This is a big deal. Trust me. I walk the dog every morning at the same time, the same route and usually in the same clothes. A real serial killer's dream: a creature of habit who is still half-asleep. I figure the morning breath will save me if the dog doesn’t.

But I just couldn’t do it One. More. Day.

So, I made coffee and sat in a chair instead. The day had not begun and I was exhausted. After pretending to write and faking general productivity for a few hours, it was time to get my son to Driver's Ed. I should have freshened up, but who was going to see me? I didn't even look presentable enough to take my computer and fake some more writing at Starbucks.

After dropping him I was alone in the car. I blasted 80’s music; channeling the 8-track in my '70 Mustang like back in the day. In the middle of some rockin’ 38 Special, I noticed I had missed two calls. Not recognizing the number, I sang on. When the same number came through again moments later, I figured I better answer. As a mom, any time I get a call that has to do with my kids, I assume they did something wrong. Which bears out my #1 mothering mantra: “Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you.” So, when the caller identified himself as the owner of the driving school, my heart raced. Accident? Lack of skills? Did I leave him at the wrong location? My son was safe. Phew. He explained that the local news was doing a story on distracted teen driving and wanted to interview my son. And me.

Whoa. Hit the brakes, mister.

Filming. With a camera. Without Photoshop. In daylight. For the free world to see. I was living every 50 year-old woman’s nightmare.

Glancing at the car clock, I calculated I had 30 minutes to lose 20lbs and grow 5 inches taller to appear even reasonably attractive on camera. My #2 mothering mantra is “Never let them see you sweat” so I agreed to be interviewed. Thirty outfit changes and one pair of heels later, I teetered over to the van with the extended boom. Did you see what I did with the tv lingo there? They filmed him driving with his instructor, asked us questions that we answered into the big honkin’ microphone and chatted afterwards.

I was crushing this gig. They had no idea I was a slightly taller, primped-up version of my daily self. I mean, there are moms who actually make the effort to look that good every day. I just don't associate with those moms. I knew one thing for sure. I looked too good to just go home. So, my son and I went to lunch. And that is when the email hit my inbox. An email from the school nurse is like a notice from the IRS. It ain’t good and someone is going down. That someone was my middle son. It went like this: “I don't know how to say this…. It seems Drew sat down on a pencil and has pieces of lead in his right buttocks. I am not allowed to retrieve anything or attend to it because of the location. It will need attention when he gets home.”

Apparently, I should have walked the dog because now karma bit Drew in the ass. That is the #3 mantra of motherhood, “Somehow this is my fault.” After a conversation with Drew not covered in the mom manual, he assured me he could survive the last few hours of the day leaning on one cheek. We are pitching a new reality show “School Sent Me to the ER.”

Now, the reason I spent the entire morning pretending to work was because my husband was home doing actual work. So, my morning routine of Trivia Crack and Bravo was all busted up. I was still annoyed at him for lurking around and messing up my schedule. That is until it came time to take tweezers to someone’s rear parts. This job had his name all over it.

See, this is why you have sons. So daddy can take care of strange injuries to boy parts and sex talks. I gathered tools. Tweezers, check. Rubbing alcohol, check. Cotton balls, check. Band aid, check. And then I ran for the hills. No 14 year-old boy wants mom in the vicinity of dropped trou’ and general picking in the privates. Ten minutes later, three pieces of lead were extracted and everyone appeared medically unscathed.  Psychologically, the jury was still out.

In all the hub bub I almost forgot to turn on the news for our 15 minutes of fame. No sooner had my husband slapped a band aid on Drew’s cheek, the trailer for our story appeared. Moments later, my beautiful boy filled the screen. He was eloquent and didn't say “like” or “um” a bunch of times. I was so proud. And then they flashed to me.

It was a horrible side view filmed while we were chatting after the real interview. Where was my eloquence and casual head tilt when I was looking right at the camera? My easy breezy answers? My furrowed brow to show concern about this important topic? I got robbed.

I have no idea what I said. The visual of my enormous face on the television screen shut down my hearing. No shot of my carefully chosen outfit. I didn't look tall. Or even smart. I looked like I always do. Which was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

And that, of course, is the moral of story. Be who you are. Do what you do. Because posing as anything different just turns out to be a pain in the ass.