So yesterday we had this big end-of-season soccer thing for, I dunno, six hours? Three days? A LONG TIME, is what I’m saying. It was a SOCCER EXTRAVAGANZA! With extra soccer! And hotdogs! And staying out entirely too late on a school night.
And after you’ve played several billion hours of soccer (Monkey) and run around the fields with your BFF (Chickadee) and eaten your weight in potato chips (both of them), you are maybe a little tired, right? The kids sat in the back of the car, vibrating slightly from the large cups of lemonade they’d consumed (Countrytime Lemonade: Less Lemon Flavor, More Hunks of Sugar), but largely silent and spent after the evening of excitement.
Otto and I held hands (can I just tell you that one of my FAVORITE PARTS about being married is holding hands in the car? AM DORK) and chatted quietly about the week’s events. “I just wish the emails would die down,” I said to him.
“What emails, Mama?” piped up Little Miss Nosy from the back seat.
“Oh, honey. Well, you know that thing I did that was on TV?”
“Oh!” said Chickadee, clearly remembering now some OTHER conversations she’d eavesdropped on. “Right, they took that whole day you did and cut it down to you saying you make ALL KINDS OF MONEY! And now people are emailing you about that!” She had that evil glint in her eye, the one that comes from understanding exactly how irked I am.
“That’s right,” I said, laughing. “They want me to BE THEIR MONKEY!” And we all laughed, except MY Monkey, who was instead filled with a righteous indignation.
“YOU CANNOT BE A MONKEY,” he boomed, and I thought he would protest because we often call HIM Monkey, but instead he ended with: “Because you are a PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER! And that is HARD WORK!”
We all laughed, and I may have offered to hire Monkey to handle my PR in the future, but Chickadee had already moved on to the next comic opportunity.
“Mom. Mom! What if those people called you up instead of emailing? That would be like… ‘The number you have reached is not available. Please leave a message at the tone. To leave a callback number, press 5. BEEP.'” We were momentarily struck silent by her uncanny impersonation of her father’s voicemail message, and then she cleared her throat. Loudly. “One of you be the caller!” she demanded.
“Oh, um, yeah, hiiiii…?” began Otto, in a voice best described as 80s stoner. “I, uh, well, I saw you? On the television? And… man, I love television. But I’m hungry. Do you have anything to eat…? Because I could totally go for a snack right about now.” The kids giggled and I smacked his leg. “Oh! Um, so ANYWAY, I saw you? On the TV? And you said you make lots of money? And if I had lots of money, I could probably buy some snacks?”
“BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP,” said Chickadee. “Okay, that message is over. Now I am going to be YOU, Mom, calling back. Okay, I am dialing. RING! RING!”
“Uhhhh… hello?” said Otto.
“Hello!” she began, briskly. “I am returning your call, and—”
“Ohhh DUDE! You’re the dude… lady… ladydude from the TV!”
“Yes, well, that is what I wanted to talk to you about. Don’t you know that they EDIT those things, and that you can’t always believe what you see on the television? I work VERY HARD and I don’t think you understand that I WRITE FOR A LIVING, for lots of different people!”
“Ohhh… but dude? They said you make lots of money! And I want to make lots of money, too,” pressed Otto.
By this point, I was laughing too hard to speak.
Now Monkey joined in. “The only way to make money is to WORK HARD! Do you have ANY IDEA how much time I spend at the computer? I WORK ALL THE TIME!”
(It was right around here that I swallowed my tongue.)
Chickadee took over, again. “ALSO!” she said, “I have been doing this for years. YEARS! You don’t even speak proper English! GOOD-BYE! Okay, Mom, now you call up and leave me a message.”
“Hi there,” I began, as ordered, “my name is… uhhh… Cherise. And I saw you on the television and I was thinking maybe I could make some money with one of those there blog things. Could you call me back and tell me how? Thanks. Bye.”
“Wait! Mom, you forgot to leave her phone number,” Chickadee hissed in a stage whisper.
“Oh, right. Sorry. Um, okay, so, my number is 866-H-O-T-G-I-R-L-S. Please call soon.”
Now it was Otto’s turn to guffaw, while Monkey wondered why that girl was hot. Heh. Chickadee called back and gave me a VERY STERN LECTURE on how writing as a career is like anything else, it takes HARD WORK and PERSISTENCE and PATIENCE and also maybe I should think about changing my phone number.
This was followed by multiple other “phone calls.” My favorite was when Monkey said “Oh! Oh! I have a REALLY GOOD ONE!” Amidst many giggle he finally managed to get out, “Hi! This is Tootsie Farklepants!!!” (Sorry, Tootsie. He saw your name in my comments once and has been obsessed with you ever since. You might not know this, but you have the funniest name in the history of the world. So says my Monkey.)
Each time, my children—badly damaged by their exploitation on Da Innernets, clearly—worked in tandem to educate the buffoon on the other end of the line. “You know, I went to college for, like, YEARS!” was one of my favorite lines. Because we all know awesome writers are very fond of the “like” construct. Also, if any of my undergrad or graduate professors knew what I was doing now I’m sure they would respond with, “Who?”
Maybe I shouldn’t have found it so amusing (and I did tell them later that I’ve ALSO received many LOVELY emails from nice people, too), but it is good to know that my family’s got my back.
It’s probably because of those big buckets of money I’m earning, but whatever.