Commentary, Wolverine, Dead West and Tales from a Smoker: Me Verses My Mom

Monday, August 01, 2005

We dropped an Elk’s Run #1 commentary on our server for those that dig the behind the scenes stuff. I think it came out pretty good; we have more planned for the future. It’s 18MEGS so either save it to your hard drive or, you know, don’t.

I got another auction listed, this one for 69 Wolverine comics. It’s actually quite liberating, once you start looking through your books and realizing that you’ll never read 90% of them ever again. It becomes refreshing to put them on the chopping block. I’ll save a good amount of books, I’m sure, but I think I’ll be getting rid of at least half of them over the next couple of weeks. I think this house cleaning mentality is feeding into my buying habits. I went last week to the shop and had one book on my pull list and it was Dead West by Rob G and Rick Spears. And that was it. Speaking of…

Dead West is a campy sort of fun – Clint Eastwood type verses zombies. Some of the action did tend to get a bit murky from time to time but the storytelling throughout the rest of the book and beautiful artwork more than made up for it. I say check it out. Also turns out these cats are pretty damn close to where I grew up according to their website. It figures that I move out of Brooklyn and a comic scene blows up in my old neighborhood. Fuckers. All of you. Roots, bitch. Roots.

Story time…


I think you know enough about my family to get an understanding of the fact that we are a bunch of tragic mother fuckers. My mom is a bit of a worrier and by “a bit” I mean she worries her ass off. Let’s take a step back and see everything our family had to deal with and how it played into my mother’s fears.

1) Three family members that died of HIV = endless lectures on safe sex, drug use and cleaning the toilet seat in public restrooms.
2) One family member dies from complications due to alcohol = endless lectures on responsible drinking and detecting signs that I’m becoming an alcoholic.
3) Diabetes runs rampant in family = endless lectures on eating right, yearly check-ups, etc.
4) Prison time for several family members on both sides (we would always joke about how my mom’s family reunions should be held at Riker’s Island to get a better turn-out) = endless lectures on being a responsible citizen.
5) Drug addictions that completely destroyed family bonds = endless lectures on the evils of drugs and how it can ruin your life.
6) Family in-fighting that results in none of us talking for years = lectures on the importance of family and how it relates to my sister and me.
7) Three family members died from complications do to smoking (including my mother’s parents) = endless lectures on smoking, obviously.
8) A bunch of heart attacks due to the prevalence of Coronary Artery Disease in my family = taking all of those lectures on smoking, multiply it by ten, adding crying, shouting and claims that I “just want to kill myself”.

Getting caught smoking by my mom was always a nightmare. She wouldn’t talk to me for weeks whenever it happened. She always took offense to it, as if every time I smoked I was doing it purposely to hurt her. I even remember one time, and it sounds comical now, where she threatened to not let me see my sister anymore if I continued smoking. She was like the Rambo of anti-smoking techniques.

And the thing was, I always got caught. It’s impossible not to. Smokers always think they don’t smell where the truth is 99% of the time you smell all stale and nasty. So I’d have a cigarette, do that thing where you air out your shirt, and go home. And then I’d wonder how she knew I was smoking.

In college it was easier to hide, technically. Whenever she would visit I would clean all of my clothes, my sheets, hide all of the paraphernalia and spend the entire night with the windows wide open to air the apartment out (that was especially awesome during those frigid Boston winters).

Never-the-less one out of every two times my mom would visit she’d catch me smoking somehow and it was always something stupid. Like she forgot something in my room and I thought she was gone so I light up. Five minutes later she knocks on my door and I just finished chain smoking three cigarettes. She runs out of my dorm crying, my father gives me that look and says, “You couldn’t have just waited.” Now he has to deal with her all the way back to Brooklyn.

One of the all time classic getting caught stories was when she was visiting and I showed her pictures from our trip to Maine. Robin and I made sure that we never photographed ourselves smoking because her father was even worse than my mother. My mom’s looking through the pictures and then just like that she starts crying. “I thought you quit smoking,” she manages to say through her sobs as she shows me this picture:

Mr. Smooth that never photographs us smoking has a picture of Robin on a computer with an ashtray and a fucking CARTON of Camel Lights. Not a pack. A carton. And not just any carton, Camel Lights, the cigarette her mom used to smoke two packs a day of before dying.

The best part of that particular story is that it happened at the very beginning of her visit so every conversation for the rest of the weekend sounded just like this:

Me: So I have an interview with Mathworks, good company to work for right of school. (I didn’t get the job.)

Mom: Oh? Yes, that would be nice. Too bad you’re going to die of lung cancer.

Robin: Uh…where’s the waiter with our drinks?

Elizabeth: Jason’s going to die?

Mom: That’s right. He doesn’t love us enough to quit smoking.

Robin: No, really, where is the waiter with our drinks.

Dad: Jason’s not going to die, Elizabeth.

Mom: Yes he is. Just like my parents. I’m going to have to bury my own son. (Starts crying).

Dad: Jesus Christ, why do you have to be so dramatic?

Elizabeth: I don’t want Jason to die!

Jason: I’m gonna get the calamari, I think.

Robin: Excuse me! When are our drinks coming out?

Mom: Looks like you’ll die of alcohol poisoning before the lung cancer gets you.

(Uncomfortable silence that lasts the rest of the evening.)

Always a good time. As much as I make fun of it now, my mom’s constant pestering and persistence was one of the things that helped me quit. She was just so good at the guilt trips. I didn’t feel guilty; I just wanted her to shut up, which in the end accomplishes the same thing.


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