And by “we”, I mean me. And I shouldn’t have said tricks. I meant illusions. As I’ve mentioned in this space before, my long list of pseudonyms is mostly an annoyance to my wife and to my office manager, who has to constantly update the phone list and print new business cards. My most recent wonderous and inspiring name for myself is Burhan Robusta. It needs to be said in a deep voice with an exotic accent, as said by a man with a dense black goatee, broad chest, and a large sabre. Somehow my wife doesn’t see the importance in all this, so she conveniently “forgets” my new names. Maybe I’ll “forget” to take out the trash. Then who will have the last laugh? Burhan!
One other long-running trick involves the scandalous implication that my mother smokes pot. This is not, repeat NOT, true. But my sister and I have been plaguing her for years with this accusation. It began over a dozen years ago when my mother was dropping off my sister at a friend’s house, missed the turn, and said, “Oh sh#t.” My sister and I took the opportunity to finger-point and fling acrimonious and completely hypocritical commentary at her about the Importance of Using Proper Language. This cussing incident was recounted at home, with a few artistic embellishments, like the fact that a police officer was chasing us, and that she was busy chucking empty beer bottles out the window. Over the years the story included a heavy joint hanging out the side of her mouth while she screamed obscenities at policemen and passers-by. Even now when my wife and I go to the garden center to pick out clay pots, I say we shouldn’t let mom know they have a great pot selection or else she’ll be on a plane the same day, jonesin’ and all.
Poor mom. She was the head of the ethics committee or some such thing in college. Though how anyone got through college in the sixties without a cloud of blue smoke around their head is a head-scratcher. Little did she know that one missed turn in the mid-nineties would forever brand her as a toke-head. But this is what we do for family—we make fun.