My mother knows all there is to know about living in the modern world. And she never lets us forget it. From The Great Depression to the world’s biggest shopping mall, from silent movies to talking ovens, from men on roller skates to men on the moon, she’s seen it all. Whenever I have a problem in any area of modern life I refer to the appropriate section of Mom’s Guide to Life.
Fashion – Put on some clothes without holes in them.
Music – Turn down the stereo!
Education – Do your homework or no TV.
Sex – After you take out the garbage I’ll talk to you about it.
Dating – Don’t forget to put on your rubbers. And your scarf.
New Products – I don’t care what they said on TV, we’re not buying any.
Natural Resources – Don’t stay in the shower too long, you’ll use up all the hot water!
Health Clubs – You want exercise? Go mow the lawn.
Diets – I don’t like how thin you’re getting, you’d better eat something.
Work – Nobody does good work nowadays.
Politics – They’re all a bunch of thieves.
Conservation – Turn out the lights in the dining room.
Pleasure – Don’t go looking for trouble.
Happiness – Don’t get your hopes up.
Advice – If I wanted your advice I would have asked for it.
Fun – If you keep doing that you’re going to break something.
Celebrations – If we don’t get going soon, we’ll never find a parking space.
New Movies – Don’t waste your money, it’ll be on TV next year.
Travel – Don’t go, it’s not safe.
Going Downtown – Why bother? I can get it at the mall.
Shopping – You’ll never remember the thing you went to the store to get until you come home without it.
Neatness – If I see this laying on the floor one more time, I’m throwing it in the garbage!
Making an Impression – Sit up straight and don’t talk with your mouth full.
Modern Communications – Wait till after 11 when the rates go down.
Homemaking – Every time I turn around there’s another mess to clean up.
Home Cooking – What do you think this is, a restaurant?
Discipline – Wait till your father gets home.
Wealth – It’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Doctors – None of ’em can tell you nothin’.
Romance – Get off the telephone, I’m expecting a call!
Children – What can you do?
God – I’m not going to worry about that right now.
The Future – Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This column originally appeared in 1992. My mom, Ethel, passed away last month at the age of 93. Although she is gone, her guidance lives on, in an endless series of suggestions, pleas and warnings that I hear in my head all day, every day. She will continue to be an inspiration to everyone that ever had the privilege of having her tell them what to do.