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Friday, October 29, 2004
Make it a dozen and I'll throw in a kid.
We had thought that this week's America's Worst Mother would be about the horrible things that Meghan and her clutch of children (Praline, Uric, Chifarobe, and I Told You I Was Ovulating) were planning for the neighbor children on Halloween. But Meghan has other plans, realizing that she could do much more damage to the neighborhood by having a bakesale.
And what a bakesale it is, full of witty signage slogans supplied by readers of NRO, or at least by the ones with the opposable thumbs (which kind of rules out Clifford May) who were able to figure out this internets thing and send them in.
"The Right Bake Sale in the Right Place at the Right Time!" I read aloud in a voice like a circus barker's.
"Liberally Packed with Goodies, Conservatively Priced!"
"These Cakes Pass the Global Test"
"A Vast Icing Conspiracy!"
I'll pause here while you take a deep breath and wipe the tears of mirth from your eyes...or stop cringing. Whichever...
Okay. Anyway Meghan is having this "Bipartisan Bakesale" to help celebrate a local park that she probably won't let her kids visit because they'll most likely get their asses kicked for talking like Martin Prince and calling her "mummy" and the livingroom: the "sitting room". But with an election around the corner, Meghan feels the need to bake the Macaroons of World Peace because we're all getting so darned polarized:
The nice thing for me, what with buying all the red-white-and-blue bunting, and laying in vast supplies of butter, sugar, dried cherries, chocolate chunks, pumpkin puree, allspice, and walnuts sufficient to pave the National Mall, to make many dozens of Laura Bush's Oatmeal Chocolate-Chunk Cookies and Teresa Heinz Kerry's Pumpkin Spice Cookies, and drawing these posters, is that it redirects my anxieties away the desperate contest that has caused all of Washington — and, I expect, much of the country — to walk around these last few days with one hand cupped protectively over its collective chest, as though we are all in the midst of a long-running, badly-intensifying heart attack, which, unfortunately, we are.
I've been surprised by how much adrenaline shoots through me when I see a "Redefeat Bush" or "Bush/Satan" bumper sticker. It's like getting jabbed in the chest by some angry stranger's forefinger; it's being on the receiving end of the sort of public excitability that used to be the lonely realm of frothing end-timers. Now grandmothers walk around wearing insulting buttons and bird-flipping tee shirts. The other morning I was forced into proximity with an aged dame who was wearing a shirt with a picture of an elephant crossed out and the slogan, "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican." Whatever happened to United We Stand?
I think that went out the window with "You're either with us or against us" but I'll have to check my notes.
And what would a AWM column be without a Father Knows Best cameo by Mr. Meghan:
"This one is good," my husband remarks, pausing by the dining-room table where Molly and I have strewn markers, scissors, and construction paper. "Chewy Defeats Truman." What else have you got?"
"Enough," my husband demurs, warding off the attack of baked goods. He disappears upstairs...
Son Uric capers by doing something manly because, well, you know...:
"Bleah," puts in the equable Paris, as he dribbles a soccer ball through the dining room, under the piano, and into the sitting room. "Hey," I chide automatically, "That is not an indoor toy."
...and youngest daughter and burgeoning criminal I Told You I Was Ovulating shows off her tagging skillz:
I am musing cheerfully in this outraged fashion, when Paris rushes back into the dining room.
"Uh, oh, look what a Naughty Girl di-id!" he cries, waving a large hand-lettered now-besmeared red-white-and-blue poster that reads, "A Nation Bitterly Divided Still Loves Sweet Treats!"
"Phoebe!" I squawk, correctly, capping my marker and seizing the sacred signage. "Oh, argh. Sweetheart, why did you scribble on Mummy's poster?"
"I didn't scribble," she says with dignity, swishing her tail with one hand. "It's a princess picture. For you."
Okay. Whatever you say kid...
Next week: The CDC investigates an outbreak of muffin dysentery...