What It Takes

What It Takes

Are You Ready For Mama?

By Callie Oettinger | Published: October 9, 2015

Luther and Bobby stole their cousin’s new lawnmower.

The plan: The cousin would file a claim. The insurance company would send a check. The cousin would split the check with Luther and Bobby. Luther and Bobby would return the lawnmower to the cousin.

Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff made scheming look good.

Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff made scamming look good. Credit: Movie poster for THE STING.

When their half-baked schemes weren’t landing them in jail, they were selling their plasma or sorting out other ways to make a dime.

Gaming the system was the one thing they came by honestly. Their parents had been working the disability arena their entire lives. They were raised as gamers. Mama had the mad scamming skills of Johnny Hooker and Henry Gondorff, but on the redneck, not-so-good-looking, side of the tracks.

Luther was Molly’s boyfriend and Molly was my best friend in high school. I watched their games as a third wheel, not wanting to be there, but not wanting to bail on Molly—which ended up happening anyway. I went from being amused by Scheming and Stupid to being scared.

It was amusing when Molly’s dad asked Luther where he went to college.

Dad: Where’d you go to school, son?

Luther: Penn State.

The reality: Switch Penn State to State Penn—or State Penitentiary. It wasn’t a lie. It just wasn’t the Penn State Molly’s Dad had in mind.

Amusing stopped and Scared stepped in when a gun came out during a routine argument. Usually they just called Social Services or another agency on each other—or on one of their family members. Pissed off at Mama? Call Social Services on her. Pissed off at Bobby? Call the police for a disturbance.

Jail seems a safe bet for where they are now.

The other option is trolling.

Mama was a wicked woman. Hate ran thicker than blood through her veins. Molly used to say that when she died, they wouldn’t have to embalm her because her blood was already 190 proof.

I imagine her behind a keyboard, spewing shit at every person she despises.

I didn’t want anything to do with her then. Now… She comes to mind all the time.

Mama and her clan of Crazy rise to the top when I’m facing trolls.

Mama don't mess around. Credit: Screen shot from the film THE GOONIES.

Mama don’t mess around. Credit: Screen shot from the film THE GOONIES.

I know that if I reply, Mama will head to the fridge for her box of wine, fill up her guzzler glass, and settle in for the long haul, a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face in the seconds before she unleashes the Hell that is her mind.

If you’re on the other side of her screen, are you ready for Mama?

The thing about Mama is that she don’t mess with small fries (unless they get in her way). Gotta be a dollar involved.

If she don’t know your name, she ain’t gonna bother. So if you’re still building your “thing,” consider yourself safe.

If your new book or film — or whatever — is about to launch (anything that puts you in the public eye), consider yourself forewarned.

The bigger you are, the bigger your target becomes.

Are you protected?

Having a lawyer on hand is healthy. On your own, though . . . Ignore Mama, which is the course we’ve taken at Black Irish Books. We don’t engage. Mama is hard to ignore. If you can get by her, great. If you engage . . . You’re gonna end up a mess, even if all you’re doing is defending yourself.

Sometimes Ego comes in and wants to shut down the Trolls. Mama will not be shut down. In an alternate universe the role of the Energizer Bunny is played by her. She’ll keep going until her battery has died, her cord unplugged.

If Ego steps forward, remind him of the time it takes to respond to Mama. Remind him that Mama is a professional scammer. She’s not lazy, but instead of putting her powers toward good and obtaining what she’d like through a career, she’s focused on destruction. She WILL wear you down. She WILL suck your time until you have none left for what’s important. She WILL keep going until she sees you destroyed or gets what she wants (which are usually the same thing). She IS a vampire and WILL try to take your life.

Consider yourself warned. Arm yourself with a lawyer and a troll shield. Mama’s out there ready to destroy you.

Are you ready to ignore Mama?

Posted in What It Takes

10 Responses to “Are You Ready For Mama?”

  1. Mary Doyle
    October 9, 2015 at 5:34 am

    “Do not engage.” Wise words to live by – glad that your exposure to Mama and her boys was just close enough to get your attention and leave an imprint. This was a great follow-up to Steve’s “Beautiful Losers” on Wednesday. Vampires everywhere. Thanks for another great post Callie!

  2. Kevin Worthley
    October 9, 2015 at 6:14 am

    It’s like wrestling in the mud with a pig. Don’t do it. The pig loves it and all you get is dirty.

  3. David Ward
    October 9, 2015 at 6:46 am

    i have spent much of my life a sucker for the trolls. i believe i’ve turned a corner, but, like resistance (maybe confronting the trolls is resistance?), i still have to fight it every day. thanks again for this support callie. and the fun way in which you’ve presented it.

  4. October 9, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Trolls are “Profiles.” From Steven Pressfield in Writing Wednesdays:

    “The cardinal rule… is Never Engage… That’s what (they) want… to pick a fight or start a “relationship.” Don’t answer e-mails, don’t return calls, don’t respond to heart-wrenching appeals. They are bad news.”

  5. October 9, 2015 at 7:05 am

    There is a lesson in this post, for sure, but there is also a good story. I would like to see the movie/read the book about Momma and her boys. Thank you Callie.

  6. October 9, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Amen to Anne’s comment!

    I think there are 2 elements at work here, at least for me:
    1. As has been mentioned (and maybe by Steve), this is a form of resistance. Oh the great sense of accomplishment in “giving them what for.” I fool myself into believing I’ve done something positive when I didn’t write a single word of fiction today.
    2. If you’re a “pleaser,” it drives you insane to think you’ve failed to make someone happy or feel better themselves or whatever ridiculous driver your brain uses to motivate you. Thus, you feel the compulsion to keep hammering that nail until they finally say, “Alright! You win. I was wrong to criticize you…” Only, they never will.

    Great piece, Callie. Thank you

  7. October 9, 2015 at 8:49 am

    well done, callie~

    thanks for sharing such a fabulous story with a requisite yet very profound ‘lesson’ in the the telling of MAMA and her GANG of GREASERS. heheheh…

    i try to IG the TROLLS…i’ve even thought of it as an ‘exercise’ in pumping up my muscles to get mo’ betta’ at out-witting and out-lasting the vermin.

    but..you’re right. it’s all negative..and a nasty, vortex of TIME SUCK. so…THANK YOU!

    THROW MAMA OFF THE TRAIN! :)

    peace and love,

    audrey

  8. October 9, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I suppose if a troll is unrealistic enough to be a troll (or a profile or a beautiful loser, etc.) then he or she isn’t realistic enough to be helped by me to see the light. Even a physician with an extra degree in psychology can’t help an alcoholic to see reason, not the way a fellow drunk can. (In AA)

    Besides, I don’t love a troll enough to help…. I want all my speaking (writing) to be from an intention to be nourishing and helpful, remembering that in a binary world anything not nourishing is abusive.

  9. October 10, 2015 at 7:56 am

    My grandma used to say (they always had such good sayings) “Don’t kick a turd, it just gets stinkier” And to deal with critics my dad used to say “The dogs bark but the parade rolls on”

    Thank you for your well written and thoughtful articles. I enjoy the insights.

  10. October 16, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Don’t feed the Trolls!