Self Can Be Funny! A Response to That San Francisco Chronicle Reviewer Who Said You Would Need a Margarita to Get Through Her Book

The below passage is from the story “American Milk,” in self’s collection Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press Fiction Series, 2005)

In the morning I drop my son off at school, pleased because I have made it before morning prayers.  He clambers reluctantly out of the car.  On the way to school I played a tape about Perseus and Medea and my son is still in the dream state induced by imagining Perseus flying about on winged sandals, fighting gorgons backwards while staring into a burnished shield.

Mrs. Stevens, the mother of one of Enrique’s classmates, comes huffing by.  As she passes, I hear her muttering :  “I’ve never been this late before!  Five minutes to the bell!”

“Now, Enrique, your homework is in your lunch box,” I say at a propitious moment, when we have moved a few steps closer to the Grade 1 classroom.

“What if my teacher doesn’t ask for it?” my son says, and mutters:  “She didn’t yesterday.”

Since school started, I have anxiously asked Enrique, “Any homework today?”  And when he replies that he has to cut this or that word beginning with this or that letter from a newspaper, to make some sort of a collage, I triumphantly bring out the scissors and make sure he does it.  This makes me sleep much better at night.  I am actually beginning to feel I am a competent mother.

This morning, however, as we approach the classroom, I hear my son muttering:  “This is her last chance.  If she doesn’t call me today, this is the last time I am going to do homework for the whole year.”  I pretend I haven’t heard and press my hand firmly against my son’s back, giving him an encouraging shove.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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