Walking out of a Best Buy to my car, my mother passes me a piece of paper with the name Jennifer E. and two phone numbers written on it.
"What's this?" I ask.
"It's a girl I met at work. Her name's Jennifer. She's really cute."
My mother is a nurse. She currently acts as a floater, working in numerous hospitals in Reno whenever one is in need a substitute caregiver. I'm guessing that in preparation for my month-long homecoming, she's been spreading the word about how handsome/smart/polite/creative/adventurous/heroic/house-trained her son is and . . . oh, my, wouldn't you know it – he's single!
"What's the matter?" she asks, noticing that I'm looking at her in disbelief.
No, I'm not concerned that my mother is trying to get me a date with any number of cute candy-stripers in the northern Nevada region. I can appreciate the thought. I'm worried that she might have gotten these phone numbers in a more nefarious manner than gabbing about her wholesome, respectable, law-abiding, well-adjusted son. (Where does she get this shit?)
"Who is this?" I ask.
"She's a CNA I work with. I met her last night. Why?"
Why? Because I'm worried this girl might be occupying a bed in the Burned Victim's Unit with first-degree burns over 78% of her body and sucking green JELL-O through a straw, that's why!
"She better not be some girl you met in the ER."
"What does that mean?"
"Oh, nothing. I just want to make sure that this isn't some poor, unsuspecting girl who suffered head trauma and gave you her numbers thinking they were for insurance purposes."
"Nooooooooo!" my mother protests with a long laugh. "Jesus, Justin, you're such a little shit!"
Yeah, Mom, I bet you tell that to all the girls.
"I told you, she works at the hospital," she continues. "I met her last night and told her about you. She said she likes guys who chill with their mothers."
What! This is likely the only time I plan on seeing my mom during this visit, and now we're chillin' together? How wonderful! Move over, Norman, the Bates Motel is under new management!
"Oh, no!" I exclaim.
"She used the 'C' word."
"What's wrong with 'chill?'" she asks.
I begin ranting, "Mom, do I look like I fuckin' chill? Am I chillin'likeavillain? Do I look like Chill Master McG here?"
She starts laughing at my little tirade.
"What are you talking about? I don't get it!" she says in between loud chuckles (with a few snorts thrown in for good measure).
"It's a long story. Let's just say I went out with a 'Chiller.' Didn't really go anywhere."
"She drank beer on the back porch all day and sported a bullring."
"A bullring! You know, a hoop that goes right through the nostrils. A goddamn bullring!"
"Yep. I asked if she had a brand to go with it."
My mother is laughing so hard that my car is shaking.
"Don't laugh too hard, Mom. You might have a heart attack."
"Hey, don't say that to your mother!” she scolds between more guffaws.
"Why not? If anything happens, I can take you to the ER. Finally meet Jennifer E. Make a date while they're giving you a jumpstart."
Now she's roaring with laughter.
"Oh, you are a little shit!"
Yeah, Mom, now I'm certain you say that to all the girls.