A Message From Beulah

Last month my mentor assigned Robert Wilder’s Daddy Needs a Drink. With reading assignments tailored to what I’m writing – in this case, humor – I approached Wilder’s book with an eye toward subject matter and paid attention to how his material compared to my own, especially in terms of gender.

Before I even placed the order for his book, I perused the reader reviews. What can I say? I was overcome with curiosity and needed to know how the average Schmo received “an irreverent look at parenting” in book form. That’s what I’m writing, right? Lots of irreverent pieces about my family.

For the most part, people loved the book. They laughed and appreciated the honesty of Wilder’s words, probably because they were knee deep in their own little kids when they read it. Either that or they maintain the ability to recall what it felt like to be a new parent and understand that toddlers are, at times, uncontrollable and challenging. Yup, the readers ate it up and appreciated Wilder’s irreverence.

But there’s always one in every crowd, isn’t there? The one who pipes in with a message of disgust that lets the world know that they are a smarter, better, more pious and evolved person than the rest of us. Wilder recieved a few angry reviews from these people and I thought, Well, I guess I’d better get used to the Beulah’s of the world writing angry reviews of my work if I plan on publishing. Then I thought, It says right there in the title, “An irreverent look at parenting” can’t these people read?

Today, approximately one month after reading those reviews, I experienced my own angry commenter. After 2.5 hours of sleep and nursing a fever, I opened my e-mail and found this response to Candy and Cussin’:

“What is wrong with wanting kids to be polite and well-behaved? Normally you’d expect kids to only take one piece of candy. You should thank that lady for trying to raise your child. And calling names? Thank goodness that it wasn’t my child, or that I wasn’t that lady. I’d be embarrassed if I where you” Eva.

Eva. Eva, Eva, Eva… is this even your real name? Fess up; its Beulah isn’t it?

I’ve never responded to hate mail before and don’t plan on doing so in the future but seeing as you’re my first, I’ll celebrate your angry rant. Allow me to answer you in the form of an interview.

What is wrong with wanting kids to be polite and well-behaved? Absolutely nothing. As parents, this is the goal David and I are working toward each and every day. In fact, our children know to say please and thank you and do so quite often. In addition, they are well versed in dining etiquette and regularly place their napkins on their laps before consuming their organic roasted asparagus and braised chicken thighs with cremini mushrooms.

You’ll have to forgive my two year old’s moment of indiscretion on Halloween night. You see…she’s two.

Bedtime was approaching and she’d been walking through a dark neighborhood filled with snow and a barrage of sensory experiences for an hour. I agree, most people do expect children to take just one piece of candy yet, in the family-oriented neighborhood where we were trick or treating, there were a whole mess of people encouraging kids to “go ahead and take two.” I don’t know about you, Eva, but I’d be hard-pressed to find many two year olds able to understand why some houses give out two and some just one. Also, if you see a toddler approaching and you’re firm in your “just one” policy, then pick one out of your bowl and hand it to said toddler to avoid confusion or strained candy budgets.

We’ve repeatedly tried to explain the collapsing world financial market to Kate, hoping she’d apply her knowledge on Halloween and approach candy collecting with some semblance of awareness. What can I say…my two year old is an idiot?

You should thank that lady for trying to raise your child. You’re right, of course. Clearly we aren’t doing enough as parents. The ballet classes, the art projects, , Mad Science, Jukado, reading to them for 30 minutes each evening, bathing them, feeding them healthy and nutritious food and trying to make sure they enjoy childhood rites of passage like trick or treating whilst clad in costumes that weren’t purchased from a discount department store makes us horrible parents. We simply aren’t raising our children properly, if at all.

That woman sitting on her lawn chair in a darkened driveway that grabbed my two year olds wrist and tried to pry her fingers apart did her best, dammit! She tried but let’s face it, Kate is doomed.

And calling names? Thank goodness that it wasn’t my child, or that I wasn’t that lady. Yes, Eva. Thank goodness! You seem to infer that if Kate was your child, you might have beaten her with a hot poker right there in that lady’s driveway. Are you suggesting that if you were that lady you might have physically harmed my two year old child or yelled at her? Well, Eva…again, thank goodness you weren’t that lady because you would have experienced my size 7 shoe kicking your ass. Yes, I just said “ass”.

I don’t know where you live, but in my neck of the woods (The United States of America) it’s generally frowned upon to beat children,not to mention, illegal.

For the record, I sternly reprimanded my two year old daughter, apologized profusely and said thank you to Stingy McCheapo. Personally, I’m not a member of the club that thinks pouring Tobasco sauce on your kids’ tongue is a good idea. Plus, I think Kate might be a bit young for that type of punishment. To each his own.

I’d be embarrassed if I where you – Somehow, your statement leads me to believe this was your first visit to No. 7. If you’d been around awhile, you might have some semblance of understanding that yes, I’ve been entirely mortified that our little girl latched on to a naughty word. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be horrified but if I can’t look back at this phase with a bit of humor, then I’m in for a long ride.

By the way, it seems that by the end of your rant you were getting rather hot under the collar which led you to make two serious grammatical errors. You forgot a period and its “were” not “where.” Check yourself.

In the interest of time, for those of you (EVA) who don’t quite get the gist of irreverence, let’s brush us on some simple vocabulary courtesy of Miriam-Webster.

ir·rev·er·ent adj \-rənt; -vərnt\

Definition of IRREVERENT

: lacking proper respect or seriousness; also: satiric

ir·rev·er·ent·lyadverb

Examples of IRREVERENT

He has a delightfully irreverent sense of humor.

<irreverent behavior during church services>

Origin of IRREVERENT

Middle English, from Latin irreverent-, irreverens, from in- + reverent-, reverensreverent

First Known Use: 15th century

Related to IRREVERENT

Synonyms: blasphemous, impious, profane, sacrilegious

Antonyms: pious, reverent

Sadly, while I can supply you with a simple definition, I’m unable to beat you over the head with it with the hope you’ll develop a sense of humor. In your case, I think its best if you forget Narragansett No. 7 entirely. You’re clearly a very literal person who read my humor piece and assumed that, at my house, we’re walking around dropping F-bombs and swillin’ cheap beer while our dirty unattended saggy diapered toddler eats nothing but hot dogs mixed in Wal-Mart’s generic macaroni and cheese and hollers “ahhssole” at…well, people like you.

While the above scenario would be mildly entertaining if one were watching a comedy (Randy Quaid’s family in Vacation and Talladega Nights come to mind) I too would be horrified to know that this is how people really live. There’s something nice about walking away with some understanding that I just watched a funny movie about fake people. I get it, Eva. I do. Some people have a hard time understanding satirical writing. It’s a complicated blend of reality, sarcasm, humiliation and humor. You get or you don’t.

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Comments

  1. Why some people feel like they need to troll around the internet to find people who they disagree with and then crap on them is beyond me. What an incredible waste of time. I hope you really haven’t let the comment bother you, because you made a good point–“Eva” obviously hasn’t made a point to read anything else you’ve written, nor does she understand irreverence (one of the major reasons why I personally like your blog). It’s just too bad some people can’t appreciate that, because they’re missing out!

    • I will admit that at first, in my state of fatigue and illness, I wanted to punch Eva in the face. But as the day went on, I began to appreciate the fact that Eva was so moved by my words that she felt it necessary to post her rant. By the end of the day I was laughing and wrote my irreverent response 🙂

      Somehow, I doubt Eva will be back to read it.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. That’s what I kept thinking as I read this glorious gem of a post, Kelli “It is such a CRYING shame that Eva won’t see this!” Man, a sense of humor is a glorious, wonderful gift….

    • At least we’re all laughing, right? I hope Eva stays away and finds some blog about perfect cookies or whatever it is that tickles her funny bone.

  3. LMAO!!!! Beautiful.

  4. Eeek…that’s my sweet little girl’s name! Boo hiss to THAT Eva for bringing a negative connotation to an otherwise beautiful name. 🙁 Kelli, you are a bigger person than I. I wouldn’t have been able to “apologize profusely” to a person who put her hands on my child and then laughed when my child started to become upset!!! If it had been my little girl, I would have gone all Adirondack on her ass. Oops, I said ass. 😉

    • For clarification, I meant that I would go all Adirondack on Stingy McCheapo’s ass!

      • I get it. It was hard not to go “Adirondack” on her ass…maybe it’s the deadly combination of Adirondack and suburban NYC acting to cancel each other out. Rest assured that your little Eva probably cancels out any negativity from the woman who commented on my post.

  5. Oh Beulah. So crafty of you to come up with the pseudonym!

  6. I love a good old fashioned hate mail celebration.
    Would you like a box of pink zinfandel now? Or shall I just grab a 40 form the bodega and leave it in its paper bag for ya?
    We need to toast this post. Foshizzle my tizzle.
    You GO girl.

  7. I’ll reiterate what I said the first time around… you want the child (no matter what age) to only take one piece of candy, you hand it to them! Or you post a sign for the older kids! You can’t expect a child filled with candy-itis to restrain themselves with an open bowl of candy…

    You Go!

  8. Love it! Some people just need to get over themselves and get a sense of humor-but if she did, I wouldn’t have gotten to read this wonderful piece of *satire*.

  9. And this, Kelli, (among many other reasons,) is why I love you. 😉

  10. Bravo. This is the kind of post I’ve dreamed about writing. Way to go, Kelli.

  11. wonderful response to such a wasted mind! one who cannot revel in your words, is one who is missing out on a whole world of laughter and light! and anyone who is a mommy knows….don’t go there!…”those are my babies and if you criticize my work, you will get whamped!”
    so you go girl, keep Beulah comin’, I love her! oh, and by the way, is she up for hire? I have this nasty ex-husband who terrorizes my life and Beulah would be great for getting back at him & his nasty e-mails!!! She might even finalize my divorce!!! who knows?????? love ya Kell

  12. My husband lives in terror TERROR that our kids will some day notice that I’m cursing like a sailor right in front of them. And yet, the other day, I picked up my son from preschool, the struggling kid who is sincerely on the verge of getting thrown out, and had this conversation with his teacher.

    Teacher: “He had a pretty good day. Just a little bit of potty language.”
    Me: “Well, he probably learned all that from me.”
    Teacher: “Oh. It was just butt”.

    Wait. Since WHEN was “butt” a potty word????? Take away our assholes, and we make buttholes. Take away the butts and …. will “bottom” be the next swear??

    I think she thought my rolled eyes were a response to my son’s language. She. Has. No. Idea. None. I’ve taught my kids some real gems. Yet, for all that Sam has serious behavior problems, even he only spits them out on appropriate occasions. Ones where even Scott has to admit that was the right word to say.

    And let me say. I showed him your post, and he agrees with Kate. The woman was an asshole. And so was Beulah.

  13. I just read the original post, and now this response. Clearly EVA was a troll, but this was great!

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