I am the green bean casserole

Looking for this picture made me really hungry…

As with most things, I blame my mother.

She’s always been the queen of grammar, scolding innocent passersby for their ignorant misuse of lay and lie. I would never describe her as “subtle;” she used sexual references to teach her eighth grade Catholic class (“‘Lay’ needs an object. You can only ‘lay’ someone or something…”)

Lately I’ve been referring to her as “The Tornado.” Wherever she goes, whatever she feels or thinks, she whips everyone and everything within arm’s length up into her wild tempest of feeling. I’ve been spinning around in her stormy wake since conception, and I can’t get enough… but I digress.

When I had trouble sleeping in high school, she asked me why. I explained that I had so much spinning around in my head: music and feelings and stresses, oh my. And she told me to write it all down. So I did.

Sometimes when I have a stray thought, I like to entertain myself by tracing it back through the conversation in my head, charting how I got to thinking so intently about, say, why green bean casserole has those oniony chips in it.

Suppose I am the green bean casserole right now, sitting at my desk at one of the most highly acclaimed papers in the country. How did I get to this point, why am I writing?

And it all comes back to her. There have been others along the way—teachers and mentors and authors and experiences. But it all started with an overly loud head, a brown lined leather notebook, and my mother.

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