Archive for the ‘Stuff My Mom Said’ Category

The Thinking Viking isn’t going to write a long piece, but I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I would share this.

I was a.. kinda rebellious teenager, and my mom got breast cancer when I was 16.  This was before her diagnosis, but after I was a quasi adult with a job and an old used POS  BMW model 2002.


<HUGE ARGUMENT ABOUT BULLSHIT like not taking out the trash within 30 minutes of being asked.  It was weird, she’d see me reading, interrupt me, ask a question about the kitchen trash, I’d say I would take out the trash after I finished the chapter, 45 minutes later and she is SCREAMING   at  me for ignoring her, meanwhile, the epic sci fi fantasy chapter I was buried in had three pages to go).>I point out the fact I am reading the book she gave me.</HUGE ARGUMENT ABOUT BULLSHIT>

Then..  she blows up about the dishes….

And she says :”You god-damned-son-of -a-bitch”..

I agreed, and quietly closed the door.

Nine years later, no more mom.

Cancer sucks.

I will add more to this later.


The Thinking Viking has a brother (and a step brother, but that is for later).  He had flown in from Memphis, TN to Stapleton Intl. Airport in Denver, CO, and I was driving us both back to Boulder to meet mom (I was living with her again since I started school). It had been years since we had all been together.  It’s been a while since this went down, heck, Stapleton Airport doesn’t even exist anymore.  I think it is a parking lot.  DIA is much better. Anyhow…..  We’re cruising through backroads of Colorado in an 89 Honda Civic, catching up.

Then, a rail crossing. A train is already there. And it’s doing the slow for five minutes – stop- backup- business that freight trains do. Fuck.  We chat some more, I bitch that the car has no radio (not broken – original owner didn’t want one).  The train finally moves forward steadily… good 15 or 20 minutes killed.

I drive home in a hurry.  We don’t speak.

We get to the apartment.  The nurse meets us at the door.

“Thank God you made it. She’s waiting for you both.”

We rush to mom’s room, each of us taking one of her hands.

“Mom, I’m here…” I manage to blurt out…

“Matt?  Is Jeff here? ”

“I’m here, too Mom.” my brother replies.

“Thank you..”

Those were last two words she spoke. She squeezed our hands, and died.

Cancer sucks.

She died bankrupt, uninsured, due to her pre-existing condition of “cancer”.

Think about it.



The Thinking Viking was once an unemployed student.  Living with mom again at 21, helping her through her last days after the cancer returned again. I had been fired a couple of weeks before, because they needed to fire “someone” –  they could not figure out who was actually stealing from the loading docks, I was the new guy, so I was out.

Mom was sick, and tired, and had decided that after fighting cancer for over ten years, only to find it returned with a vengeance and that she would be facing more surgery, more chemo, and that even then, she could not expect to live more than a year, she decided to live out her end days in dignity.  She would take drugs etc to ease her suffering, but would not fight again. She didn’t have it in her. I understood.

Having me unemployed was not good. We were silently terrified about the situation.

The phone rang. Friend looking for something. Didn’t have it.

Cook lunch for mom.

Phone rings again – oddly same question. Same answer. Can’t help ’em.  Don’t have any myself.

Then my mind kicks in.  Math starts rolling. whirrrrr – click. click. click. PING!.

“Hey mom, can I borrow $100 until this afternoon?”

Mom – “What for?”

“So I  buy an ounce of weed for $100 and sell it for $160.  Pay you back in two hours.”

“OK.  I love supporting cottage industries.”

I paid for tuition at  my community college with the job she helped create with a $100  loan.  She had no income beyond SS disability.  She was a 47%’er.

Thanks Mom, you helped me out a lot.

Fuck you, Mitt Romney.  I know what a job creator looks like.


PS Mom died about a year later, before I got my 2-year degree.  Dad died not much later, but I can’t write about that now.  Missing details.

The Thinking Viking was, again, 16 or 17 at the time.  Mom had been planning on taking me to a midnight Christmas Eve service at the nearby Presbyterian Church.  I wasn’t religious even then, but I went to make her happy, and hell, I’d never been to one of these things,  should be interesting, at least.

You betcha.

This was a medium-biggish church, least a 300 people, walls decorated with wreaths lit by candles in the center of each wreath, there were dozens of them. This is important information.

About half an hour into the service, I’m bored, my gaze is wandering. And it lands on a point of light a bit brighter than the rest. Bigger flame, flickering more.

Some smoke.  One wreath is, well, on fire. What happened next was not deliberate, and in fact until a little bit later I didn’t even realize I had done it.  I smiled silently.

Before you get mad, I had already noticed that some ushers were pointing and talking about this little …problem, so no one was put in danger by my inaction.  They put the fire out and decided that open flames next to tinder dry wreaths made of fine needled resinous plant material was not wise.  House lights came on,  low and dim.

After the service while we were driving home, mom turns to me and says “I thought you were smiling about the service and the hymns.  You weren’t. You were smiling because the church was on fire.  I am never taking you again.”

Miss you mom.  Cancer sucks.


The Thinking Viking was maybe 16 or 17 at the time.  I was sitting there, in my bedroom, reading, and I recall I had just cleaned my room – a rare thing for me…still.  On the wall behind my bed I had also hung a STOP sign that I now cannot recall how I came to have.  It had been leaning against the wall for months, and I really didn’t think much about it.  I didn’t take it, but somehow, this bit of contraband signage wound up at my place. I vaguely recall a poker game?  So – rare clean room, and a good book, little redecorating.  Read, read, read….

So there I was, when Mom knocks on the door.  I open up, ready for her to be surprised that I actually had cleaned my room.


I didn’t realize that, until I hung the sign on the wall, it was pretty much hidden from the doorway.  Mom hadn’t seen  my piece of road system infrastructure yet. But to me it was no longer novel.

She looked at me, raised an eyebrow.

Dramatic pause.

“If you are trying to get any action with the girls, you really should have stolen a “YIELD” sign.”

And she left. I facepalmed.  She was right.

Think about it, and good night.


PS -the STOP sign didn’t actually make the girls stop. OK so there were only a couple while I lived with Mom, on and off.  OK, four.  I wasn’t promiscuous but I wasn’t a saint either  🙂  Miss you Mom.  Cancer sucks.

It’s 1988. I’m a teenager, living with Mom.

Things are kind of rocky.  I’m turning into my Dad. The man she divorced when I was five. The genes just have too much power. I talk like him, even argue like he did.  It is driving her nuts.

Anyhow, we had just gotten into a huge fight about some bullshit.  Probably my untidy bedroom or leaving car parts on the table.

Then it happens.

Those words. Five words.  She is about to regret not thinking more about what she is saying.

She says “You son of a bitch!”

I had just walked into my bedroom.  I turn and grin.

“You’re right, mom.”

The look on her face as it sunk in was priceless.  I just shut the door, slowly. The grin won’t go away.

(Charlie Sheen would say I was “WINNING!”)

I wish she could say those five words to me today.  Cancer sucks.