Seeing as it’s mother’s day I thought I’d relate a tale from the early eighties concerning two influential mothers from my childhood. This story is a reprint, having run in Funny Times a few years back. Of course, it’s old news to my mom.
Onto the influential Mothers.
(Not these Mothers, who would only be influential a few years later)
The first mother was my own.
She’d been divorced from my father for a few years at that point, and had been
dating a guy for a couple of months.
My mother’s paramour – Bill? Chuck? Who can remember these things? – decided to take her to see at movie at one of those second run movie theaters that once upon a time could afford to exist in Brooklyn.
My mother couldn’t find a babysitter, so, being a good and liberated 1970’s parent, she decided to take me, her 11 year old son, along on the date.
Enter the second Mother:
My mother’s date (Bert? Ernie?) picked the movie. He decided to take us to see Alien. A movie about a very different sort of mother, with very different mating habits.
It was an evening show on a school night, and I think the ticket seller looked askance at my mother and her date as they brought me into what was considered among the most frightening movies made to date. But the eighties were a more permissive time, and would get more permissive still.
It’s worth noting here that the Alien’s children would have needed no babysitter, pouncing as they did into the world fully equipped to take care of themselves.
Myself, lacking claws, fangs or acid blood, was less equipped for self-protection from whatever sort of dangers might have awaited a young boy, so Rob or Charlie or whoever convinced my mother that bringing me along would be a reasonable show of good parenting.
My mother and her date settled in the back of the theater. Bob or Eddie or whoever gave me a few dollars for popcorn and soda, encouraging me to sit as far away from the grownups as possible. Perhaps there was a wink involved. This is not the part of the evening that sticks out in my memory.
Neither, ironically, do the next 98 minutes. It was just a surreal nightmare of blood and terror as the crew of the Nostromo were stalked and killed by the titular Alien, described by the Nostromo’s android shipmate as “the perfect organism”.
Actually, this line was said by the android’s severed head, through a pool of its own semen-like goo after being reanimated by jumper cables.
Also, there was a computer called “Mother” in there somewhere. “Mother” the computer was about as much use to the crew of the Nostromo as my own mother was to me at that point in the film, being fondled by Archie or Jughead or whatever his name was twenty rows back.
They were younger then than I am now. Who can blame them?
When the movie ended, I had to be pried from my seat. I think the imprints made by my fingers clutching the armrests tightly for 117 minutes were there until the theater itself was gentrified along with the rest of Brooklyn.
I remember the drive home, not to my own home (which would have been a small comfort), but to the Brooklyn home of Jones or Brett or whoever. He’d managed to convince my mother to spend the night, and thought that my sleeping on the lower bunk in his daughter’s bedroom was a reasonable idea.
I spent the entire night with my eyes open, staring at the underside of the upper bunk, listening to a stranger’s breathing mingling with unmentionable sounds from the rest of the house.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
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