The Shredder

Phone call transcription:

“Anyu, what do you want for your birthday?”‘

“A man…”

“Walmart is fresh out of those, what else?”

“A nice rich husband to take me out dancing.”

” Yes, that’s located in the same isle as ‘Man’, and that isle is closed due to severe shortages…Seriously, mom, do you need anything?”

“I vant a paper shredder.”

“Wait, didn’t I already buy you a paper shredder a while ago?”

“I gave it avay.”

“Well, if you didn’t need it then, why do you need it now?”

“I don’t vant anyvon to go through my trash and find my social security number.”

“Then why did you give away your paper shredder?”

“I vanted to look good.”

“…so you gave someone a USED paper shredder?”

“Yah, so I need another von.”

“Are you going to keep it this time?”

“Yes. But your aunt might need it. And then you can just buy me anodder von next year.”

“Well, why don’t I just buy you TWO paper shredders so you can keep one and give the other one to her for her birthday? You know, from both of us?”

“Vhat are you talkink about, are you crazy? I don’t need two shredders! Just buy me a good von, not some El Cheapo von from dah Dollar Store.”

“They don’t sell shredders at the Dollar Store.”

“And don’t you dare give me YOUR shredder, Stephie, you need dat! For your important documents.”

“I don’t give people used paper shredders as gifts, Anyu, I think you’re the only one on the planet that does that.

“You make sure you shred all important documents, you hear me, Stephie?”

“Yes, okay, I’ll shred all my important documents. And while I’m at it, I’ll shred my driver’s license, birth certificate and social security card.”


“Oh, my gosh, I’m kidding, Anyu. Don’t worry, I shred what I need to shred.”

“Don’t photocopy your social security card, Stephie. Don’t give it to anyvon, you can’t trust it! If you copied it, make sure you shred it. But don’t cut your fingers.”

“Okay. I have to go now.”

“Vatch your fingers!”


“And shred credit card offers, don’t just throw them dah garbage.”

“Okay, mom, I gotta go.”

“So, did you buy your aunt a shredder, too?”

“No, Anyu, please, I have to go.”

“Because I don’t tink she needs one now, but her burstday is not until September. You remember, right?”

“Yes, September 1st, I remember. Listen, mom, I really gotta go.”

“Are you still coming for my burstday?”

“Yes! That’s why I was calling, to see what you needed!”

“Vait vait vait! It’s your burstday, too! Vhat do you vant? Be honest, do you need a shredder, too?”

“We are not exchanging shredders for our birthdays! I told you, I have a shredder! To be honest with you, for my birthday, your gift to me should be you buying YOURSELF a shredder so we can never, ever speak about shredders ever again!”

“So vhat do you vant?”

“Just some Poppy Seed Beigli (Hungarian Dessert Roll) from the farmer’s market. That’s all I want. Really. Don’t buy me a shredder.”

“No shredder?”

“Seriously. No shredder.”

“Vhat if dey don’t have the poppy seed?”

“Then get me the walnut kind, I don’t care.”

“But vhat if they don’t have it? Sometimes they don’t have it.”

“Mom, I really don’t need anything…”

“But the valnut…”

“I’m sorry I asked! Um…pineapple. I like pineapples. Just buy me one pineapple and put a bow on it, that’s all I really want.”

“Pineapple? I’m going to look cheap if I only give you a pineapple.”

“Then buy me 500 pineapples! Anyu! I gotta goooooooo! Please! Don’t worry about my gift! I’ll see you later!”

“Okay. You bring the shredder. Don’t forget it at your house.”


“…and not a cheap von.”

“Okay, bye.”


For more funny conversations with my mother, check out American Goulash, a coming of age story about adolescence, art, and awkwardness at Barnes & NobleKindle StoreAmazon BooksNook Store, and iBooks.