Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Heather Has a Mommy and a Daddy, Part Two

One night there’s a dance at Heather’s school and her parents offer to chaperone. While Heather’s dancing with Danitra she sees from the corner of her eye her mom and dad moving onto the dance floor. She watches in horror as her mom just sort of stands there swaying, her gingham granny dress limply hanging to the floor. She grimaces as her dad starts chopping at the air like Jackie Chan being attacked by locusts.

Occasionally their movements coincide with the beat. Heather runs to the bathroom crying.

“Heather, don’t feel so bad,” Danitra says. “Lots of kids have embarrassing parents.” She starts to lead Heather out of the bathroom, then stops. “Um, maybe we should stay in here a while longer. They just started doing the Bump.”



One day the class projects are due. Heather brings in the model she’s made. It’s a lump of brown Play-Doh with ketchup poured over it and dotted with marshmellows stuck on with toothpicks. She sets it on the table as her teacher comes over to look.

“Why, Heather! That’s . . . nice! Very very nice!”

“What the hell is it?” Tommy asks.

“TOMMY! Heather’s parents had me over for dinner once. This is what they call ‘Salisbury steak.’”

Heather bursts into tears. “NO IT’S NOT! It’s a VOLCANO! That’s lava, and that’s steam coming out.”

Mrs. Weinberg-Lopez comforts Heather. Danitra enters and places her project next to Heather’s on the table.

“Why, Danitra, what’s this?”

Danitra delicately removes the sheet protecting her project.

“Versailles.”

Heather takes one look at the tiny replica of Louis XIV’s summer home, constructed by Danitra and her two dads out of two hundred cubic yards of teak plank, thirty square feet of gold leaf, sixty pounds of Italian travertine marble from the same quarry Michelangelo used, tiny topiary and functional miniature fountains, and cries even harder.

“Why did I have to have a mom and a dad?” Heather sobs. “Why can’t my family be like all the rest?”

Mrs. Weinberg-Lopez pulls Heather close. “Children,” she says,”every family is special, including those conforming to the rigid, stereotypical standard of male domination.” She starts to tell the class about her own family, including her hearing-impaired Hispanic mother, her height-challenged Israeli father, and her Gypsy recovering-substance-abusing brother-in-law and Armenian sex-addict half-sister, but stops, realizing the school year is only 4,074 hours long.

“Just because Heather’s parents are heterosexual doesn’t mean they’re slow-witted philistines, though there are strong correlations you don’t need a PhD in statistics to understand. But Heather is lucky to have a sweet mom and a wonderful dad and a dog named Molly and a hamster named Samson, and they all live together in a lovely house. They’ve got interesting avocado-colored appliances, carpet as long as your hair, and furniture that‘s by-and-large wood that must have taken them hours to assemble. There’s a big plastic sofa that turns into a bed, and a La-Z-Boy -- ”

“A what?” Keanu asks.

“A La-Z-Boy,” Mrs. Weinberg-Lopez repeats. “It’s a big vinyl chair that reclines.”

“Oh, man!” exclaims Keanu, covering his face with his hands. “And I thought our Herman Miller reproductions were embarrassing!”

Mrs. Weinberg-Lopez continues. “But the important thing is, they’re a family. They’re a group united for a common purpose, where each individual is given a sense of empowerment and their shared bonds are formalized in a ritualistic manner.”

“Oh,” the students respond in unison.

Everybody hugs.

THE END


If you enjoyed this story about Heather, ask your local bookseller for these titles:

“Heather’s Mom is Narcoleptic”
“Heather’s Dad Has Epstein-Barr”
“Heather’s Sister’s Problem Still Puzzles Specialists”
and the latest,
“It’s No Picnic Being Related to Heather”

2 comments:

Y | O | Y said...

Poor Heather!

David said...

I think I love you.

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