Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Mother Is a Terrible Person

I know Mother's Day is usually a time when one says nice things about one's mother, but I must be honest: My mother is a terrible person.

I always suspected there was something suspicious about being born eight months after my parents were married. It turns out my mother was a bit of a libertine in her younger days and birth control was against the law back then. Thank goodness my father made an honest woman out of her and saved me from being a bastard. At the time my mother was working as a commercial artist, but once her employer found out she was pregnant, she was fired. There was no such thing as maternity leave back in those days and besides he didn't want someone with my mother's dubious morals infecting the workplace.

But that just gave my mother more time to take care of me and my ten brothers and sisters who followed in rapid succession. Shortly after my tenth sibling was born, my father divorced her because she had lost her figure and took up with a younger woman. So my mother returned to work. It was pretty embarrassing having a mother who was divorced and had to work. Was there no end to the shame my mother brought to me? The only job she could get was as a secretary, since she had been out of the workforce for so long, but she didn't keep it very long. Her boss made repeated sexual advances to her, which she rebuffed, and he fired her. Of course, there were no sexual harassment laws back then so there was nothing she could do. Until she found a new job, money was tight and I couldn't get the new pair of sneakers I wanted because she said she couldn't afford it. I really resented her for that.

Everyday she would wake up very early and get us off to school, then rush to work, then rush from work to take us to afterschool activities, then rush back home to cook dinner and clean the house. Although she never missed a single baseball game, school play or concert, sometimes I would see her in the audience nodding off. Was it really too much to ask for her stay awake for just a couple hours and pay attention to me for a change?

I'm sure if my mother were raising us today she would have been brought up on charges of child abuse and I would have been sent away to live out a much happier childhood in a series of delightful foster homes. I can't tell you the number of times she slapped me, never really hard, but hard enough. I was slapped when she caught me shoplifting candy from the drugstore, when I used a racial epithet like all kids do and once when I made fun of a poor child whose shoes were worn out. My mother was always teaching me quaint old-fashioned values like the idea that it is not poor people's fault that they are poor. I'm not sure where she got these ridiculous ideas from. As she got older, her ideas got even stranger. She became a feminist and joined NOW and started subscribing to Ms. magazine, which she would leave lying around the house where my friends could see them. She even went to protests and political meetings and campaigned for women candidates. I prayed that none of my friends would see her on TV at one of these rallies burning bras. I certainly am glad that so many younger women say they have rejected feminism. It doesn't seem to have actually achieved anything anyway.

Many years later my mother is still embarrassing me. She has her own successful web design business, which is really undignified for a woman of her years. She is quite outspoken about politics and says the most terrible things about President Bush so we usually avoid this subject when I see her. She is even thinking of voting for Hillary Clinton! I often wish that I had a normal mother, but despite the fact that she is such a terrible person, I must admit that I love her anyway, faults and all. She is my mother, after all.
Crossposted, with other Mother's Day wishes, at Shakesville.

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Anonymous said...

What a laugh riot.

I don't mean to laugh, though. You, having to deal with your horrible, terrible mother for all these years. I laugh merely out of respect for your strength in dealing with her.

Good for you for making it this far!

Bravo to you, Jon Swift!

Anonymous said...

Reading your post, it doesn't seem like you have much gratitude and compassion for your mother. Is she a 'terrible' person because she was victimized by both her boss and her husband (leaving her for a more attractive woman)? Was she a terrible person because she tried to teach you not to be unsensitive to people less fortunate than you? Was she a terrible person, because she was angered when you tried to SHOPLIFT?

Now that she is actually doing something successful, you say that that is 'undignified' for someone her age? Is there anything she CAN do right?

I don't want to sound rude, but just because someone is old fashioned, believes in being nice to other people who are less fortunate, was dumped by a husband, and advanced upon by a boss, is a liberal, etc., does that mean they're a terrible person?????

Listen: I am surrounded by people who disagree with my politically all the time, but I separate that from how I assess their virtues.

I would be sick to my stomach if I were your mother and were reading this post.

Anonymous said...

God, I love it over here.

Threat Assessment & Response Canada said...

uh... verani - Jon was using a certain type of humour to make a point.

I like it and will be posting a link to this blog on my carnival for heroes. Those who don't understand the way it's written... well, oh well. :)

Thanks for the submission, Jon. You'll see it tomorrow morning.


Larry said...

Great post.

So much meaning weaved within satire and truth.

Doodle Bean said...

Dear Mr. Swift,

How courageous of you to become such a stalwart conservative paragon despite your upbringing by such an perversely obstreperous parent!!

As always, I am in awe of your fortitude and writing skills.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible choildhood you had to endure! Some Moms just don't know how to validate feelings and supply all the needs of their kids (iPods, field trips to Monaco, $5,295 sneakers with a 7' freak's endorsement).

I bet she wouldn't pay for the limo to your prom either. It's amazing you turned out so unscarred; I bet you had to sell several siblings just to afford the counselling from Pat Robertson's Creationist Counselling Clinic & Grill.

Bully for you, Mr. Swift. Maybe someday you can send her to Paris or someplace similar where she can be kept away from civilized self-made men like yourself. Till then, grit your teeth and send her a dozen white roses. Maybe that positive motivator will convince her to change her ways.

Unknown said...

God, I loved this post. It was by far my favorite mothers day post.

Thanks SO rock!

I would love to have your mum design my new group do I get a hold of her for that?

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Jon, your mother could have solved all her problems in life if she had eaten you shortly after you were born. Eating babies -- it's the solution to so many of life's problems.

If your mother had disposed of you after birth, along with the afterbirth, she would not have been trapped in a loveless (although obviously not sexless!) marriage. And if she had thus not spawned all your brothers and sisters, she might have had a figure and gotten a better job. Who knows, she could have accepted the affections of that boss and ridden his leg up the corporate ladder. She could have been a happy, fulfilled human being instead of a sad liberal who wastes her days dinking around on something as insubstantial as websites.

So you see, it was YOUR existence that destroyed your mother's potential as a human being. I would suggest that you eat yourself, but unfortunately, the damage to your mother has been done.

Perhaps you could send her a card on every future Mother's Day with the sentiment: "Mum, I'm so sorry I was ever born." A small gesture, I realise, but we must do these things to make our parents smile. Even unworthy mothers such as yours.

Anonymous said...

Ioannus de Verani, seriuosly get a sense of humor, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

I meant seriously, not seriuosly. Geez- maybe I need to learn how to spell! HA

Brando said...

This was far better than anything I've read in the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs. Well done.

Holly Schwendiman said...

Here's to terrible mothers. I hope my kids are as fortunate at my hands. ;)

Here via the Carnival of Family Life ;)

Anonymous said...

With countless millions of conservatives addicted to the daily spin of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Micheal Savage, G. Gordan Liddy, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, John Gibson, etc. it’s not too surprising they have little tolerance for the “mainstream media.” So the creation of Fox News, an ideologically-driven ‘news’ network tailored to their viewpoints, isn’t too surprising.

But what can be more democratic than Wikipedia? By design it’s maintained by a community of all users. Not good enough it seems. Apparently, Wikipedia is infested with those darn stinky liberals you just can’t trust. So now we have Conservapedia branded as “A conservative encyclopedia you can trust.” In other words, it brags it’s biased by design. Only then can conservatives trust it!

But wait, there’s more! Did you realize YouTube is another web site conservatives can’t trust? Yep. It, too, is sadly a hotbed of those darn stinky liberals. No problem. Enter QubeTV. Their banner reads the sarcastic (one hopes) “Starring The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.” It’s a self-described “conservative version of YouTube.”

Fox News. Conservapedia. QubeTV. Conservatives are building their own version of reality. Well, not exactly “reality.” It’s a sanitized, politically correct filtering or spinning of the facts to build a comfortable mythology. Not that conservatives seem to care. In fact, they’re thrilled. Reality for them bites.

Anonymous said...

I swiped what I just posted above from another blog, but if I were you, Jon, I'd be pissed. They left you out.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I swiped what I just posted above from another blog

I'm sorta thinking you should at least credit the other blog.

Anonymous said...

Giving credit?!?! Pshaw!!!! I always appropriate the work of others without giving credit!

DigitalRich said...

Thanks for participating in the Carnival of the Storytellers! The 9th edition is up and running at:


Anonymous said...

God, I know exactly what you are talking about. My mother had a campaign poster for George McGovern up in our kitchen. Our KITCHEN! Try to live that down at school!

Jon Swift said...

I'm sorry, Anonymous, but I don't approve of stealing things from other sites without attribution and I'm afraid if my mother was here she would slap you. The words you stole came from here. My apoligies S. Knabt’s Overflow for your bad behavior.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Mr. Swift, I am impressed with your honesty. You are a true conservative.

Everyone knows that a liberal would never apologise for the mistakes and thievery of which they are guilty. And while conservatives are never wrong, and thus have nothing for which to apologise, their hearts are compassionate enough to express regrets for the bad behaviour of anonymous snarking liberals who besmirch your site.

Perhaps your mother should NOT rue the day you were ever born. Good onya, sir, good onya!

Liza on Maui said...

Here from Digital Rich's Carnival of Short Stories. This is a great piece! Clever!

Abledragon said...

I do agree with Bukko_in_Australia that you should eat yourself, Mr Swift - after all not only would you show your mother how terribly sorry you are for all the trouble you've caused her but you would solve all your own problems to - at a single sitting.

Abledragon said...

sorry - that should be 'too'

Miss Cellania said...

I wanna hang out with your mom.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit late for La Dia de las Madres, but I want to relate one mother of a story that will wormm its way into the corkholes of your heart.

On our ward we recently had a 64-year-old patient who had been found at 2 a.m. on Mother's Day babbling incoherently on the main downtown shopping street. Not all that unusual in this town, except for the fact that a few hours earlier she had dropped off her 29-year-old daughter at a local police station. The daughter is autistic, has a mental age of about 3 years old and suffers fits of uncontrollable violence. She had been in the headlines recently for stabbing a 9-year-old boy who had been teasing her. It's a small enough city that such incidents make the TV news: "Deranged woman-girl slashes local boy..."

When the police put one and one together, the daughter was transferred to the psychiatric ward of our hospital, but would make regular visits to our floor when the aides could not control her. She looks like a well-formed, rather lithe and attractive 29-year-old, except for the infantile babbling and the stuffed Shar-pei dog she carries.

We had thought the mother was just drunk or drugged when she was found. But a urine toxicology screen showed no drugs or alcohol. After two nights on the ward, she was rational and had stopped talking of suicide. Not that anyone would blame her for killing herself with such a daughter to look after. (Her husband was a foreign navy man who had been killed in a shipboard accident.)

A head X-ray showed the mother might have had a recurrence of the brain tumor she had had removed several years earlier. (In addition to being the widowed mother of a violent mental defective, this woman had a number of other problems, such as being on welfare and going through four government-subsidized homes since moving her from another state 1 1/2 years ago.) The hospital wanted to keep her an extra day so the neurosurgeons could do an MRI and examine her more thoroughly.

But the daughter was becoming uncontrollable. She understands speech, and when told that her mommy was sick and needed to stay in the hospital for another day, the daughter swept all medical charts and a kidney dish full of syringes (capped, luckily) onto the floor with a deliberate flick of her arm. She then grabbed a stapler and threw it full force down the corridor while shrieking.

The mother was so embarrassed that she checked herself out of the hospital against medical advice. She's out there somewhere, with a growing brain tumor and an uncontrollable child, in a government hovel trying to survive on public handouts.

Your account of your horrible childhood brought all this to mind. A belated Harpy Mother's Day to this woman and your mom. I'm not sure which mother is worse.

BlueKat said...

Wow, I was going to whine to you, Jon, for not posting more recently, myself being in dire need of cheer due to my own sorry state of affairs, but after reading that last comment, I think I'll just count my blessings instead.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Swift,

I surmise that writing that post about your irrationally abusive mother has caused you to initiate radio silence. So, I'm just here to say that the [wink wink] zucchini shipment is on its way. You may retake your normal form.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You must REALLY hate your mother to leave this post at the top of your high-traffic blogspot for so long. But have you not shamed her enough for her failings?

It's getting closer to Father's Day. Surely you can heap some Swiftirony upon dear old Dad. Forgive me if I assume incorrectly that you know who your daddy is.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Swift,

This is off topic. I have a question.

I'm a white person living in the northeastern U.S., in the southern Iroquois Confederacy (it's now called New York State).

This spring I've been thinking a lot about our genocide of the Native Americans. As a white person I think I was brought up to think of a really complete, well-executed genocide as restoring the land to a pristine state, a kind of garden of Eden.

And then but here's the problem. Somehow many of us here don't really feel so good a lot of the time, no matter how beautiful Eden looks to the eye.

Why do you think that might be? Do we need to take more Prozac or something? Save up and go to the Bahamas?

(I'm a huge fan of your blog, and never thought I would dare to offer a suggestion. But I don't feel qualified to to much with this one myself. I would be very flattered if you tossed this one into your idea pot.)

Darryl said...

Wow. Finally someone calls out Mother's Day. I love it. Do we really need a day to celebrate Mothers, or Fathers? Especially in light of your post? I can sympathize, being the only conservative in a long line of liberals. Quite frankly, it doesn't feel like home. Yea, I love me Mom, too, but....

Interestingly enough, in the novel I am about to get published I have a very similar scenario- It's called Call of the Tree- anyway, Vaughn comes from a long line of fearful, neurotic mothers; they kept passing their sick psychology down through the generations. His mother was the true, man-hating, controlling feminist any miserable soul would be proud of. Stephanie, on the other hand, comes from a tyranical father who had the kind of Mom Vaughn has. She asks Vaughn how come he's not at all like her father. And here is the point: He says, It has to stop somewhere, Stephanie. It stops with me. I refuse to be controlled from the outside by anything wrong, even if it is my parents. We have a greater responsibility to Life, with a capital L...

I also chuckle to see your news sources. i have listened to Rush since 1986. I knew he was good when it took three months for little hints of his stories to show up on the regular tv channels, and his was always in far better detail. You might be interested in a blog from someone else that I happened upon. OneCosmos.

Darryl said...

With tears in my eyes I share the following excerpt from my best friend's recent email. He is a High School teacher.The problem is FAR WORSE than what you indicate here.

Before I go I want to share something with you about school that may or may not shock you. As you know, I teach at ****, which is a rural, all-white, christian, high-achieving school. The school uniform seems to be Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch (fashion retailers). And the right of passage is now porn. Yes, PORN. The new trend - and I mean trend, not just a few select cases - is for girls to send picture-texts of themselves naked to boys. They also make strip-tease videos and post them on youtube and myspace. It's gotten so bad, that the district FINALLY was forced to acknowledge that this was taking place (they tried really hard to deny it) when pictures surfaced of two kids having sex in a bathroom at school. The admin even sent a letter home to parents about the dangers of possessing and passing child-porn and banned having cell phones in class (an edict that is mostly ignored and just encourages the kids to do it more). I had a conversation with a girl who was bragging about her video and tried to explain how she'll be very embarrassed about it one day. That strategy failed because she sees a world in which celebrities get rewarded for their sex videos and naked photo-shots and her world is now one in which that's actually cool, and why would she ever regret being cool. It's unbelievable. And this is the country in ****** county. Imagine the state of city schools. And here's something else of interest. My senior girls find this as appalling and despicable as I do. They can't imagine what's going on with those slutty freshman and sophomore girls. And what I've realized it that the younger girls were very young and impressionable (10-12 years old) when youtube and myspace hit big and when Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton and others got lots of positive reception and press for naked photos and sex tapes. The culture is to reward for that behavior, not ostracize. So these girls have grown up with that being positive and something that is trendy and accessible do to the WEB. My senior girls, on the other hand, are just old enough to still perceive that behavior as deviant and to have not grown up with using those technologies for pornographic purposes. In other words, thanks to technology, the generation gap seems to have been whittled down to about TWO YEARS! Every two years, the next generation is hip and the old kids are obsolete. And the age keeps getting younger. Junior high kids are now the trend setters and the techno-masters and the high-school kids are over-the-hill. Sometimes I think school is where I'm needed and sometimes I think the ship is sinking and it's time to get out of education.

I have passed this around to as many as possible. If you think it will help, pass it around some more. Truly tears in my eyes. For my part I have written a novel series which, instead of glorifying this degredation, puts it into real life context. It may be found at

Do you think it is about time that we who have a conscience should at least put forth as much passion and energy into protesting vehemtly all that garbage, as much passion as those who promote it? Of course that would mean taking some serious time to ORGANIZE a large front against it. Not just blog. Noit just talk radio. take a lesson from the libs propaganda machine. This doesn't have to be about religion, how 'bout INTEGRITY. An integrity movement and the only qualification to get in is that you have some or want some and want others to have it, too.

Darryl said...

One more comment, please. I also read your hillarious blog on abstinence sex-ed. The idea of misinforming kids about sex is brilliant, along with raising the legal age for porn participatiuon to 65. Your satire powerfully makes the point. But let me also make the point directly.

What is a person? The person lives inside the body ALL THE TIME. Joining bodies together to mate,or cojoin in some way, wihtout loving the person inside tht body, this actually puts down the person inside that body because they don't want to have anything to do with that person. The closer the bodies get with no love, the deeper down the toilet the person gets flushed in their feelings of being a human being. The person just simply has no value. After sex, you have to live with that no value. So, go out and have more sex to forget untill...ooops, you can't forget and the sex isn't even enjoyable any more. Ever wonder why so many of the lib women who liberated themselves but are now dried up prunes, ever wonder why they are so bitter? Hey young sexed up girls, your future awaits you! Teach them that and bring into class for show and tell these bitter, ugly and loveless women. Then go out into the countryside or other places and find decsent women who are at least 10 years older than the bitter women. Show and tell them and they will see shining, vibrant faces full of love, beauty and respect for life and that they look a heck of a lot YOUNGER than the dried up libs.

Anonymous said...

I think Darryl is talking about people like yo mama when he mentions dried-up bitter "libs."

It seems he realizes you are being satirical, but after reading the earnestly liberal-lampooing comments on his many blogs, I don't think Darryl realizes WHO you're satirizing. Does he have a brother named Darryl? I think I saw them together on Bob Newhart's show (second generation version.)

Darryl said...

Ouch! A personal attack on poor little me. Well, at least your using your own words to express your feelings. Seriously, aside from a high IQ, what doesn't your heart understand about the devestating affects of immorality? What don't you understand about the insidiousness of glorifying it to children who still think in terms of playing with toys, their bodies included, forgetting that there is a person inside? I realize Jon loves his mother. That is from the heart, as well as I love mine. But the terrible irony of such love is that it is IN SPITE OF our understanding of the harm they also bring about. Can you say as much for the moral developement of your own heart? Judging from your insulting remark toward me...I think not...and that is a shame. Because there is still much about you to respect. God Bless you.

Darryl said...

I have to weigh in again, because I took time to read ALL the comments here. It seems there is a pattern, or rather a split. There are those who conduct themselves civilly, decently, reasonably responding to the content of ideas and empathies, but there are those who in their immaturity, somehow feel the need to sling some of the most creatively nasty insults. I would like to point out that Jon's article is a marvelous balance in attitude. While he shows his Mom's short-comings, he also shows her achievements and woven in the background of all this we, who are human beings in our hearts can feel his feelings of love in relation to it all. It is an unfortunate confusion that many liberals judge contemporary conservatives by a yardstick drawn from a time when 'Christians' or rather those using the name, did terrible things. I can partly understand this in relation to the liberal socialization (brainwashing) in public schools. But the quality of thought of contemporary conservatives demonstrates both a conscience for past misdoings and an openess to rectify and improve. But liberals seem to be stuck in fear mode of a past monster, and thus because they are so fearful, lash out irratiuonally against....what? What are they afraid of? A conscience? For no one who has a conscience could hurl the grossly offensive insults I just read. It is unfortunate that in the past there were those 'Christians' who did very ungodly things. Modern conservatives have leaned to seperate the good from the bad. Liberals seem intent on keeping a dead monster alive. Why? Which do liberals hate more, the evil the so called 'Christians' did in the past, or do liberals hate the CONSCIENCE that good Christianity still keeps alive? You see, in their immature hearts, I do not think they discern the two different feelings. It's all in one. So they cannot tell that they oppose their own selves through such hatred.

Anonymous said...

I wish your mother had spanked the laziness out of you. With so much worth lampooning in the news you have nothing to say for half a month? Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

Hey! Who needs blog post from Mr. Swift when we have comments from Darryl and Anon.?

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that you had to be clueless to be Christian and/or conservative. Thank you for affirming me, Darryl! I love you, man...

(Yes, it's THAT anonymous.)

Bald Headed Geek said...

Man, you are one hell of a writer!



Anonymous said...

That was a very sad story. Did you ever consider having her kidnapped and sent to a re-education camp?

I guess that would cost money though and she's certainly not worth it. Maybe you could sell her somehow.

Doubtfull you'd get much for her though, with the considering voting for Hitler and all.

Anonymous said...


I would consider it a privilege if you would add my blog to your list of links if you feel the quality is high.

Happy June.


Joe said...

I have to say, I threw up a little bit when I read this. Your mother makes me sick! There is no excuse for any of her actions.

A woman entrepreneur, not paying for expensive tennis shoes for her starving babies, sexually ensnaring her boss, getting FAT? I'm disgusted!

(Just found and subscribed to your blog. Funny post, I also love the second comment to it.)

BlueKat said...

Jon, please come home from Shakesville before Darryl takes over your blog.

No one loves you there like we love you here.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me for both going off topic and blog whoring, but I thought you might be interested in a post which was partially inspired by your classic work. Please see A Modest Proposal for Beheading Journalists:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon, great post. It has been included at the Carnival of Housewives inaugural edition. All the best.

الايفون said...

i think you are the Terrible Person

mainlymilitary said...

It will not succeed in reality, that's exactly what I think.

Scabies said...

Thanks for sharing that. It was fun reading it. :-)

Dr. Kiran Banda said...

That was a VERY interesting one! Seriously interesting.

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