She: My mom got the worst Mother’s Day present ever.
Z: A broken pelvis was definitely not on any of the gift wish lists that I looked at this year. I’m pretty sure it’s not even on any of those anniversary gift lists, and those lists have everything.
She: While my sister and I usually compete to see who can get her the best gift — and I always win — I don’t think there was much we could do to compete with the misery of a broken pelvis.
Z: I do think there was one sunny side of immobilization for your mom.
She: What’s that?
Z: She got to order everyone around in the kitchen for a night. Instead of cooking the dinner she was in the middle of making when she tripped in her kitchen, she directed you, me, Koss and your dad on how to make it.
She: And somehow the four of us still weren’t able to do everything. We had four people running around in the kitchen, and we didn’t do it anywhere near as well or as quickly as she can.
Z: There was an impressive lack of competence. I marvel in particular at the complete lack of cooking and cleaning skills that your father has developed.
She: I think that half of that is genuine incompetence, and the other half is a strategic decision.
Z: I admire the man for both. Even watching him wipe down a counter makes me think that if he ever lived by himself, the health department would shut him down. Home of a future Superfund site.
She: But I also think he’s made a very clever decision to not learn how to do any of those things. If he knew how or was able to, then he might be expected to.
Z: I think you’re confusing him with Koss and me.
She: This is true. Right after dinner I had a conversation with Koss, because I wanted to make sure that he knew how to do some basic, domestic chores. He tried to plead the Fifth.
Z: What was so incriminating?
She: Until he got a promise of immunity, he refused to reveal that he knew how to do laundry or how to clean a shower. He said, “If I tell you I know how to do these things, I’m not going to have to start doing them, am I?”
Z: That’s my boy.
She: You messed up a long time ago, back when — for maybe all of five minutes — you were trying to impress me. I know exactly what you can do.
Z: I should have washed your whites with your reds, or wrecked a couple of sweaters. I never would have had to do laundry again.
She: At least you’re still incompetent in the kitchen.
Z: You say the sweetest things.
She: You’re welcome.
Z: I feel bad that you’ve gotten better in the kitchen. You actually cook a fair amount now. It seems like a strategic error on your part. And, it closes off some comedic avenues.
She: Thank you?
Z: You’re welcome.
She: I wonder if my father ever had any domestic competencies, or if he went from his mother’s home to his wife’s home, and never had any reason to learn anything?
Z: Maybe while your mom is laid up, he’ll finally hone some of his cooking and cleaning skills.
She: If by cleaning you mean calling a maid service and by cooking you mean going to Subway three times a day — I’m guessing he’ll become a domestic god.
Z: Yes, dear.