(Another “Big Mama Speaks” Column)
Do you know what I’ve discovered? The poor choices you make in your teens can derail your life into your twenties, and the poor choices you make in your twenties can kick your ass until your forties, and Lord have mercy on the poor choices made in your forties, because they may just end your life.
I wish someone had told me when I was in my late teens/early twenties to guard the gift of free will as if it were the fairy tale goose that laid the golden egg in my life. If I had known how significant one’s choices are when I was in my junior year in college, I would have chosen differently when some ersatz Black Panther and his white SDS counterpart said, “We know we’re next door to Kent State and it’s only been two months since the Kent State Massacre, but let’s keep this protest movin’ across the country by taking over the Administration building on our campus. Eleanor, you and the sistas are assigned to make a boat-load of fried chicken for the brothas so that we can hol’ up for a while once we’ve barricaded the doors.” Without missing a beat I would have said, “Hell to the no, Negro, I’m going home to take a fucking nap because this could derail my scholarship and my future!” Instead I ended up being surrounded by a SWAT team of angry white men with rifles while my bowels lost all control, and fried chicken went flying into the air and cascaded down upon the heads of my fellow revolutionaries like deep-fried hail as I threw up my arms in hysteria (“Jesus, Jesus, Lord have mercy, don’t let the po-po kill my sorry-ass”) as the police yelled: “FREEZE! WE WILL SHOOT TO KILL IF YOU MOVE!”
Photo by J. Tomczyk//”Big Mama Speaks” Hideout
“BIG MAMA SPEAKS” ADVICE COLUMN
Because I am so interested in the concept that there are no insignificant choices, this week I decided to publish my second advice column as “Big Mama,” but I’ve asked my readers to send in questions that only pertain to poor choices and how they have changed their lives or the lives of others.
Dear Big Mama:
Last year I attended an ATO fraternity party at a college in West Virginia. One of my drunken frat brothers fired a bottle rocket out of his anus. This action so startled me that I jumped back and fell off the deck and hurt myself. I’ve chosen to file a lawsuit against my frat bother and my fraternity because the choice to “fire bottle rockets out of one’s anus constitutes an ‘ultrahazardous’ activity?” Do you agree with my decision?
Boy, I don’t even know where to begin since you and the ass-rocket propeller don’t seem to have the brains you were born with! What would possess someone to do something like that? Whatever happened to fraternity boys lighting a fire to their farts like in The Farrelly Brothers’ Dumb and Dumber? That was bad enough, but sticking a rocket up one’s ass? WTF!
But Big Mama’s not here to judge. You asked for advice, so advice I’m going to give you: fuhgetabout it! How drunk did you have to be to fall off a deck from an ass-propelled rocket? You’re not telling Big Mama the whole truth—I can feel it. Don’t blame that dumb-ass fraternity brother for your inability to stand up on your own two feet. Blame yourself for not picking more intelligent friends and a better fraternity. ATO guys were the “animal house” even in my day. I can’t imagine anything has changed.
Dear Fat-ass Black Mama (who would never be able to wear my clothes, thank God!):
Everybody suddenly hates me and I don’t know why. All I did was make a choice to tell the truth about some chubby-ass singer and now everybody’s all over my ass. My Tweeter feed has blown up with hate tweets, Anderson Cooper has put me on his RidicuList and attacked me on his show, and some writer has started a blog to boycott Chanel. “C’est quoi cet argument foireux”? How do I get these people off my back? These chubby people are your kind of peeps. Tell them to stop torturing me. My philosophy as a designer is that “no one wants to see a curvy woman,” anyway!
Signed: Put Upon in France—Your Majesty, Karl Lagerfeld
Google Image/Getty Images
Karl—you bleached, designer blowhard:
You know exactly why I and every other woman around the world want your head on a platter: you’re an arrogant asshole. You verbally attacked that sweet baby, Adele, and for what? What did she ever do to you except bless you with great music? Who died and made you God?
I’ve never met you nor have I worn your clothes. (You’re right; my fat ass couldn’t fit in a thing you design.) I have worn Chanel perfume, of course. However, I feel as if I know you, because you’ve been described as a 78-year-old shrunken prune of a “mincing pantomime dame of couture” and as “Karl, King Bitch of the catwalk.” (I’ve met so many people like you in the theater world.) Who are you to say that (and I quote) “the thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice.” Who asked for your opinion?
I’m not callin’ off the attacks of anybody because I don’t feel sorry for you. Everybody knows you “bat for the other team” and what “floats your boat” are slender hips and no breasts. That’s your prerogative. But Lago, here is a news flash: you design for women and most of us have sizable tits and round asses. The true beauty of a woman lies in those curvy hips you hate and those breasts you once contemptuously joked about when you said: “What does an old woman have between her breasts? Answer? ‘A navel.’” We were designed to sustain life, something you couldn’t do if your life depended on it. One of those curvy women gave you life—be grateful. I hope the women of the world hound your heroin-chic ass into the ground. And you know what: living well truly is the best revenge. The six Grammys, the 95% spike in the sales of Adele’s songs, her picture on the cover of Vogue, and her response to you about being “fat” is so “priceless.” Adele made the right choice to choose herself and her values over your misguided judgment.
NOTE TO FANS OF BIG MAMA’S ADVICE COLUMN: Let’s Boycott Lagerfeld products until he gives a sizeable donation (I mean seven figures) to a foundation that deals with Anorexia Nervosa.
“I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines,” Adele told People. “I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”
“I’ve seen people where it (physical image) rules their lives, who want to be thinner or have bigger boobs, and how it wears down on them,” Adele told British Vogue. “And I don’t want that in my life. I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”
P.S. Karl, my heart towards you has softened a bit. I don’t know if it is going to help your cause with the other Chubbies-R-Us on the planet, but I did some research about your mother and I am beginning to understand why you’re so weird:
- “When a pre-pubescent Karl Lagerfeld informed his mother that he had been sexually molested by a man, her response was ‘It’s your own fault – look at you!’ Mama Lagerfeld apparently took the stance that Karl’s dress and demeanor encouraged such attention and stoically said no more about it.”—Shine Anthony-Dharan/Culturekiosque
Dear Big Mama:
I just heard that my picture, which was always featured in a place of honor in most black homes in the early 70’s, has been removed from your living room wall. I’ve also heard that many of my white peeps no longer believe in the “Camelot” era of my presidency. You are a child from that era, Big Mama. What happened? If I were still walking amongst you people, I’d give you all a call and find out why you no longer hold me in high esteem. But since I passed on years ago, I need a champion to course-correct my downfall in your eyes as well as others throughout the nation. Will you find out for me why the tide is turning? I was the “first black president” in the hearts of the Negro before Bill Clinton ever was. Remind your people of that. My presidential legacy means everything to me. Besides, I hate it when everyone doesn’t adore me.
Please advise. Anxiously awaiting your reply.
Signed: Jack, your favorite President until Barack
Google Image/File Photo
Dear President Kennedy:
So you’ve heard about Mimi Alford’s book, Once Upon a Secret: My Hidden Affair with JFK. I knew you were no angel, but I had no idea that you were a “dog,” Mr. President. I’m not thrilled with this ex-intern’s lack of conscience and/or lack of morality in the way she chose to handle this scandalous revelation and her affair with you, but you’re the one who was the President and she was only 19 years old. Even though she didn’t accuse you of rape, from the details of her account of your sexual interaction with her, I certainly do. And the thing that is beyond the pale is the cruel and degrading way she says you made her service other men while you watched, not to mention the drugs she says you allegedly made her take. After the release of Ms. Alford’s book, the media rehashed a slew of information about all the women you had affairs with (10—at least one claiming to have aborted your baby) while you were challenging us to reach for nobler causes by asking “not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” I know what you could have done for your country and your wife: kept your one-eyed monster in your pants. I personally believe that a man’s character does influence his choices; and if you disrespect your wife that way, what in hell would you do to me? Your serial adultery calls into question your ability to have chosen wisely as a leader.
So that’s it—I’m over you. I can’t speak for all the other black folks in the country, but when I was in my late teens there were only three pictures that graced the walls in all the black homes I knew: Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., and you, Mr. President.
Your picture’s in the trash!
Photo by J. Tomczyk/Author
I am discovering that free will is a bitch. It’s arguably our greatest gift from God, but it’s also volatile because, if not properly harnessed with self-control and humility, it runs amok and can wreak havoc that is irreparable. The ability to choose is the impetus of our greatest ambitions and our worst holocausts. Most, if not all of us, make unwise choices, at one time or another, which can slide into addictions through food, gambling, drugs, alcohol, shopping, video games, pornography, sex, work, exercise—just about anything that causes a physical and psychological dependence in order to cope with a life we feel we can’t handle. On Saturday, February 18, 2012, one of our greatest talents will be laid to rest. A lot will be said about her struggles with drugs and alcohol, and many people will be blamed for her demise. Knowing what I know about life, Whitney didn’t die the night before the Grammys; she died the day her choices made her lose control of her actions. No matter who else is culpable in her final demise, no one put a gun to her head to abuse drugs and alcohol—those were her choices and they were a bitch.
If we can teach our children, early on, how significant it is to guard their choices in life, we will have done them a great service. Whitney’s decisions robbed a daughter of a mother, stole a daughter from a mother (Hell is having one’s children die before their parents do), destroyed the bonds with real friends, and cratered a once in a lifetime talent. This is a “screamingly” teachable moment if we all remember that our free will makes us capable of choosing just about anything that can destory our destiny and our humanity, and that only by the grace of God go us all.
Whitney Houston (1963-2012)
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