Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mother's Day

I had a tortured relationship with my mother. When people ask me about my mother, I say, "My Mother? She is not living." She died in 1980, twenty-six-years ago. I don't have fond memories of my mother, unlike most people. I remember the day Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, he said, "My mother was a saint." If I ever resigned the presidency or any high office, I certainly would not say my mother was a saint.

Several years ago I read of the arrest of a forty-year-old man -- a bachelor -- for having a Librium pill in his pocket without a prescription bottle. The police handcuffed him, took him down to the station, stripped him, booked him, brought him before the judge. The judge fined him and slapped him in prison for three months.

Now the man is suing the police and the courts for humiliating and embarrassing him. It turned out he was on his way to see his mother, whom he visited once a week. It was his -- or her -- birthday, I don't remember which.

When I read of this, my mother had already been dead twenty years.

I sympathized with that man. If I were visiting my mother, I thought, I certainly would take a Librium along -- and probably without the bottle, just as he did.

A question: why did the police notice this fellow on the street, decide to frisk him? What was so extraordinary about him? Did he look so menacing? So pathetic? Was it an impulse of malice or sadism on their part? Was he wiggling his ass, thumbing his nose at them -- this forty-year-old bachelor? It hardly seems likely. It must have been his utter dejection, misery, and loneliness. And sure enough -- there, ensconced in his pocket, the little green and white pill to lighten his load, to help see him through. Aha! they got him in the nick of time.