I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.
No, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, I am not going to look at you. Stop telling me to look at you. I’m not looking I’m not looking I’m not looking.
Are you painting me right now? You’d better not be, Mister. When someone says, “I am having a bad hair day, do not paint me,” you DO NOT PAINT THEM. See this bonnet? This is my I-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-two-weeks-because-we’re-out-of-eggs-and-rum bonnet. This bonnet means: none of your “candid” shit. Not today.
And, while we’re on the topic, if someone pays three thousand big ones to send you to West Point, you FINISH THE PROGRAM. Do you even KNOW what I went through to have you? Do the words “nausea gravidarum” mean nothing to you? I did not barf Johnnycakes every day for four months AND forego anesthesia just to pop a painter out of my gal canal. Come on. After what I suffered, I deserve better than some sissy artist. I want a four-star General. Or at least a Sergeant (not John Singer).
Who are we kidding? I’d take John S. S. over you any day. I bet he never forgets to pick up his mother’s ear trumpet from the ear trumpet place even though she reminded him and reminded him about it. I bet he loves his mom’s beef goulash that she slaved and slaved over while he was off gallivanting with his dandy artist friends. Honestly, James, if I hear one more story about you and that bum Manet or that meatball Oscar Wilde I’m gonna ground you from now til the centennial.
That’s right. Have fun celebrating America alone in your GARRET. You know what that means? No sparklers.
I repeat: No. Sparklers.
And speaking of flaming hot rods, I saw a photograph of your little friend Oscar the other day. (Have you seen this photography thing? It seems to be really catching on. I’d worry about that if I were you.) Let’s just say that in this photograph, your friend Oscar looked very… decadent. A little too decadent, if you know what I mean.
It’s not that I don’t trust you, James. It’s that I don’t trust everyone else (Oscar). If everyone else (Oscar) jumped off a cliff, would you do it? If everyone else (Oscar) started wearing slutty capes and hanging out in opium dens, would you?
Quiet! I don’t want excuses, James. Don’t even TRY the old, “But Moommm, my tonalist aesthetic allows me to subtly yet poignantly express the fundamental melancholy and mystery of the natural world.” That will not work on me. I wasn’t born yesterday. As long as you live under my roof, you live by my rules. And my rule is: you can never, EVER say the phrase “art for art’s sake.” It doesn’t make you sound smart. It makes you sound like an asshole.
You know I gave up a career as a nun to have you? Or, well, I could have. Ugh. I would’ve been a great nun. But now I’m a mother. You try keeping a vow of silence and chamber potty-training your child. You try breastfeeding through a habit. You try having it all. Spoiler alert: Society won’t let you.
God, if I’d known you’d become a drop-out painter, I wouldn’t have been so worried about the whole anesthesia thing. “Knock me out, Midwife Lou,” I’d have said. “I don’t care if I get some zooted druggy-drug stoner-baby. He won’t need those brain cells anyway. And please, let’s not futz around with this laughing gas bullshit. You got ether? Chloroform? A good stick to bite down on? I wanna be baked like a three-cheese ziti. I wanna be turnt and burnt like motherfucking crème brulée. I don’t even wanna remember that I had this baby.”
Okay, okay. Maybe that was a little harsh.
I’m sorry I said I wish I didn’t remember having you. So maybe I am a little angry. Or hungry. I can’t tell anymore. Hangry? Yeah, I’m hangry. Sometimes a mom needs a snack, too.
That’s why I come to this corner. This is my Hangry Corner. This is my sacred space. I come here and I stare at the wall until I can remember where I hid my pack of soda biscuits. But now here you are, all up in my Hangry Corner.
Okay. I KNOW you’re painting me right now.
No no. Do not give me that shit. I can HEAR IT. I hear you mixing that black and white, and that other black and that other white, and that other other black and that other other white — you know, there are other colors, James. Like, for instance, colors.
Oh, so you want to call this painting Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1? Is that supposed to make me feel better? I have a name, you know. But I bet like everyone else in the world, you don’t remember it, either. That’s cool.