On April 5th this year, Nagymama turned 97-years-old. To celebrate such a momentous occasion, I decided to make a platter of ninety-seven of her favorite Snacky Cakes® for her to enjoy.
“Snacky Cakes®, mom, yah know, the Little Debbie kind that she pretends to bake for all the neighbors.”
“You know, Nagymama, she just von’t eat! Your aunt cooks her all dese nutritious foods, spinach, soft paprikas, everyting, and for some reason she just don’t eat!”
“But she still eats cake, right?”
“Yes, vell, but she should eat more than just cake.”
“Okay, then, I’ll put some brownies in there, too.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in health food, but once I am 97-years-old, I’m not going to eat spinach, either. If you make it past 90, you should be allowed to eat whatever the heck you want. If Nagymama asked to eat nothing but Cool Whip, chocolate sauce, and vodka off the tanned body of a male stripper, I’d wouldn’t really blame her. It would just give me more to write about.
Despite my mother’s apprehension, I went to the local grocery store to pick up Nagymama’s ninety-seven little gifts. I must have looked like a lunatic in the pastry isle:
“Okay, Zebra Cakes come in packs of ten, but Honey Buns come in packs of six, and Butterscotch Krimpets come in packs of twelve. Which Snacky Cake® combinations should I use to get to ninety-seven without going over? The square root of the Cosmic Brownies divided by the radius of a Swiss Roll is…pie?”
After trying to do the math on my cell phone, I decided to just buy buttloads of them and feed the excess Snacky Cakes® to my roommate. I put together a fabulous spread in a big Tupperware cake saver (pictured above), put the lid on, and decorated the top with a pair of “Sock” Papucs (the socks with the little plastic grippies on the bottom). I also added to the Earth’s growing trash problem (pictured below).
The next day, I called my mom to let her know I was “dropping by”. My cousins get mad at me if I give more than four hours’ notice before coming home because my mother frequently panics endlessly about my hour-and-a-half commute. “Did you talk to Stephie? Vhen is she comink? Is she brinking anyvon? Who’s drivink? Are you goink to vatch movies? How many? Is Richard Gere in dat von? So did you talk to Stephie? Vhen is she comink?”
I was surprised when my aunt answered the phone. “You know, Stephie, your mom is upset with you because you never call.”
“Uh, I talked to her two days ago, after attempting to call her three times this week and getting no answer. Why don’t you hook up the answering machine I bought her?”
“You didn’t even remember to call on Nagymama’s birthday.”
“I’m on the phone now. Today is her birthday. What is the problem?”
“But it’s late now, why didn’t you call earlier?”
“What the crap are you talking about?! It’s three in the afternoon! Next time, I’ll call at three a.m. so I don’t miss it. Let me talk to Anyu for a sec.”
I could hear my mother in the background, “Who is dat?”
“It’s Stephie, hold on, I’m talking to her. You know, your mother says you never come see her.”
“Oh, my gosh, I was just there a few weeks ago, and you people haven’t even seen my ‘new place’, which I’ve lived in for two years now, by the way. Let me talk to Anyu.”
“You didn’t even come see Grandma for her birthday.”
“I am freaking loading presents into the trunk as I am talking to you, for the love of God and all that is holy, let me talk to my mother so I can come by for dinner.”
“Oh, you’re coming by? That’s good.”
I heard my mother gasp in the background. “Stephie is coming over? Noooo!”
My mother wrestled the phone away from my aunt. “Don’t come here, Stephie! The house is a tornado from Grandma, I can’t handle it!”
“Don’t worry about the house, I just want to say ‘Happy Birthday’ and give her cake. She’ll be happy. It’s fine…”
“Don’t come over. Today’s no good. I wasn’t expecting to see you until our family vacation in May. I can’t handle seeing you ’til May. The house isn’t clean. Here, talk to Grandma.”
I heard Nagymama’s familiar breathing on the phone.”Hallo?”
“Boldog születésnapot, Nagmama!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. “Happy Birthday, Grandma!”
“Tank you, tank you. I am very busy now, you call backs tomorrow. I talk to you den. Bye-bye.”
Click. And that was it: I’m damned if I come over. I’m damned if I don’t come over.
Moral of the story? Yah try to do something nice, and all you end up with is a pile of dead flowers, melted cake, and a pain in the ass.
Happy Birthday, Nagymama! I tried!