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Throw Momma from the Train--RiPost #1

Posted by cdonegal on June 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Re: Post RiPosts #1 


Throw Momma from the Train (a kiss)

Actually the title of a 1956 Patti Page song before the DeVito film appropriated it.

   I confess that my sole source of printed news is the Washington Post. Although I watch television news and read it on the Internet (I am not, after all, a barbarian.) I read the Post front to back (other than the financial section which seems only to mock me) every day. When I am out of the country, I read whatever I can find, often the International Herald, more often Nice Matin.

   As an erstwhile columnist, I often have the urge to write about an issue, event, or situation. I have done so under more than one byline, but often I just want to make a quick response without a full-length 800-word essay. That is how the idea of RiPost, a title of which I am smugly proud, a rapid response to something that struck a nerve but didn’t merit a full-blown response. (That adjective always struck me as especially unfortunate when applied, as it often was to AIDS.) Now that I am in my dotage and have returned to freelance writing in addition to public affairs consultation, I find that I am inclined to jealously guard the time writing a perfectly composed column or blog would require. Time has literally become money again.

   So, although these pieces are not as beautifully composed as my columns in previous years, I hope that they entertain and inform—or at least prove cathartic for me. I hope that you will check in from time to time to see what I have to say so that I am not talking to myself in writing. Writing to myself. Be that as it may (I always have loved that archaic expression.) I humbly submit Re: Post RiPost #1:

   Yesterday, for example (I am writing this today.), I read a response from Carolyn Hax—whose regular feature apparently has no title but limps along only with her name and what seems to be an oddly leering mug shot.

   Ms Hax (Forgive me, I do not use a period after Ms because it is not an abbreviation.) was responding to a “Frustrated Father of the Bride” (Hereafter FF) who worried that his 84 year-old mum, whom he described as a “hard-core feminist and atheist” (I am in love already.) who “views religion as an oppressor of females….”

   As Gene Weingarten so eloquently doesn’t say:

   Well, for those who think I forgot to complete it, Weingarten leaves a blank for speechlessness.

   It loses something in the translation.

  FF relates that Mums hasn’t spoken to him since she had said that she would ‘walk out of the ceremony in protest” when the officiating clergyman read Bible passages, and he responded, “Then leave.”

  She also returned the cheapskate’s Mother’s Day Card unopened. He said. (Actually, I included the epithet, not he.)

  FF added that Mumsie also stopped speaking to his sister when she “tried to reason with her.” He said that even though Mommie Dearest has agreed to be civilized during the ceremony, he wants to exclude her to preclude drama that detracts from “the joy of the day.”

  P.S., then he adds that Herself suffers from poor health and depression, that she “seems determined to be unhappy and find things that offend her.”

  Oh, the setup took so long!

  Ms Hax responded by wondering what the writer would gain by excluding the old piranha.

   “Is the joy of the day so very fragile—and ceremonial perfection so important a goal—that it can’t withstand an act of generosity to an ailing family member?”

  She advises that FF apologize for getting angry and lashing out at the dear old soul.  She opined that he had missed his chance “to exercise restraint and good judgment” and advised him to “champion exclusion.”

  It took her well over 200 words to respond in a way that made me fume.

  All of this is mere prelude to my offering what my response to FF:

  Let the old bat stay home and wallow in her misery. Show her pictures if she decides to start speaking to you again and kill her with kindness in doses you can handle.

  Oh, that feels so much better!

(Haters may address their vitriol  to Clive Donegal at [email protected]. Compliments and kudos to [email protected])



Craig Lancto is a freelance writer and public affairs consultant.


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