The Mona Schreiber Prize for 
Humorous Fiction and Nonfiction

Scrape Him Off...He's Mine
by Mona Schreiber

(Foster City Progress)

I don't want to knock today's generation, but I wouldn't let my daughter date a boy who looked like my son.

Actually, there's nothing the matter with his features. In fact, if I say so myself, he's rather nice looking, but he dresses like a Salvation Army reject. Today, to be "in," not only do you have to wear jeans, but the dirtier, the better. His would stand up by themselves, if there weren't so many holes in them. Did you ever see faded, blue Swiss cheese? When he wears them, it's almost immodest, for the gaping holes are in the most inappropriate places. Well, at least people can see that he wears underwear.

Department stores would go out of business if they had to depend upon his patronage. One memorable time, we went shopping together. I do believe it was the last time I was ever to accompany him when he shopped. The sales person brought out dozens of pants. One was too "gay," another too shiny; some were too stiff and a few didn't even merit comment. When we finally left the store, I noticed that the poor salesman had developed a facial twitch. Yes, I remember that event, for it was while I was seated outside the dressing room, my face buried in my hands, that a strange woman came up to me.

"Is your son sixteen?" she inquired.

I nodded and she said, "I know. I have one, too. He went to an elaborate wedding in pants with paint on them. His hair is so long, that I haven't seen his neck in years."

We get our son to bathe by accidentally spilling something on him and then quickly washing it off. He's beginning to get wise, though. If you spill soup in his lap, he doesn't see why you have to end up cleaning his ears.

He's bright, though, and we finally got to go to his graduation. We had the last seat in the last row of the balcony. All the students in cap and black gown looked like penguins from where we sat. I knew that even being his mother, I could never recognize his face at that distance. As it turned out, I had no trouble identifying him at all. He wore white sneakers without socks and it was evident to all.

I am not going to give up on him, however. The other day, he asked for new pajamas. I was thrilled. It wasn't until he came home from school that I saw he wore the top instead of a clean shirt. "It's cooler," was his explanation.

I have a surprise planned for him. I plan to meet him at the door in an old pair of gym clothes, a cast-off Army helmet and fangs. Man, you gotta fight fire with fire.