The Boss

I refer to my mom as “Boss” in the studio because, well, I like refering to her that way and also it clears up any kind of nepotism problems we might have anywhere outside of Utah. In Utah, if you aren’t hiring your family members then you don’t have enough kids.

The main knock on my mom is her apparent arrogance. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but the only time people get angry about my mom’s behavior is when she says stuff like “I’m too talented to take out the trash”, a wildly out of context misquote often attributed to her. Her adult ADD and her bad driving and stuff like that is all laughed about, but people have accused her of being haughty and judgemental.

The fact is, my mom is just a punk. Y’know that girl in high school? The slightly chubby one with the quick wit and the loud unreserved laugh? The girl with the mohawk and no money who bums cigarettes off you and invites herself to dinner and then makes you laugh? Wanna know what happens to her if she lives another 60 years? She becomes my mom.

I mean, the truth is, she couldn’t give a fuck. Every once in a while I think she feels slightly underpolished, slightly tubby and ungraceful. And truth be told, she does run into stuff, a trait she handed down to me and my brother Kent. But you wanna know why she fedexes her underwear to her next gig? Because she doesn’t want to carry them. Simple. It costs her ten bucks, and she’s figured out what ten bucks buys her. It buys her the ability to not have to carry her crap around. She couldn’t give a shit about that ten bucks.

Wanna know why she lost her keys and found them in the fridge? Because she was unloading the groceries, she set her keys on top of the cottage cheese, and she couldn’t give a shit where her keys are. You can hang up your little key chain rack or put out a silver bowl, my mom is gonna put them wherever the hell she feels like it. Because she is actually punk. She’s not doing it to be cool, she actually doesn’t have the capacity to give a shit.

How much jewelry does she have? No clue. Floating around the United States there are gold chains and silver hoops, diamond earrings and opal necklaces, all of them owned at one time by my mom and set down in restaurants and on top of phone booths. Where are her nice clothes? In a box. Maybe in Oregon. Where’s she’s never lived. She doesn’t know why. Even God doesn’t know why. And neither of them care.

Wanna know why she’s too talented to take out the trash? Well, she just is. But do you wanna know why she said it? Because it was a waste of her time. It was a fucking waste of her time, and her time was too damned wasted as it is. She should have had her trash taken out for her.

(Man, it’s no wonder my parents marriage failed. Neither one of them should have been taking out the trash, and since all of us kids thought we were better than everyone else, none of us wanted to do it either.)

Yesterday, I woke up and made breakfast for everyone and then I cleaned the kitchen. I set the mouse traps and sat down and worked for about six hours. I worked with Jordana for about half an hour on her audition. I worked for an hour or so on my script for Lucretia. I took out the trash. I watched the end of Alias with Jordi, washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, talked to some friends on the phone and went to bed.

I did these things because I am very talented, but I am also useless unless I am being of service to someone. I know that about myself, I went years thinking I was too talented to take out the trash, and those were sad years. Jordana picked up dinner after her audition. She is too talented not to get cast, too talented not to go to auditions, but not too talented to pick up Chinese food. She has taught me the value of service for people like us. Amazing people, brilliant people, but not rare, once-in-a-generation kind of people like my mom.

My mom is too talented to waste her time with bullshit, with dinners and jewelry and nonsense. If you get the chance to take some of her time, you’d better understand the quality of it, because she’s also too kind to tell you to your face. If you get to be part of her family, if you get to eat with her, or if you get to work with her on music, then know that you are getting to be part of her non-wasted time, because these are the things that she is too talented not to spend her time doing.

Someone’s got to take out the trash, I understand that. If all I can do for my mom while she’s at my place is to be the guy who does that so she doesn’t have to, then I hope I continue to do it.