My End of a Telephone Call With My Mother

You shot a ground hog?  Why, Ma?

He was in your flowers?  What exactly did you shoot him with?

The 20 gauge double barrel.  I see.

Yes, I know Dad taught you to shoot it.

Yes, I know you have a right to have it, but it’s gone off twice in the house….

Ma, you’re 93 years old.

It went off because your timing is a little off…Yes, I know you handle it well, but then why did it go off in the house?

You can’t remember which way the safety is off or on and you’re mad at me for wanting you to give up the gun?  Prowling around looking for groundhogs with a loaded gun does not make me want to drop in on you anytime soon.

No, I don’t think you’re stupid, I just think it might go off as I come around the corner.  I don’t want to be murdered by my mother.

You’re too old to have the damn thing!  Twice in the house and you put band aids over the holes and covered them with a rug.

No!  The second amendment does not give you the right to keep a gun, especially a loaded one.  No.  Yes, I’ll listen.  Go on, read it to me…the whole thing, including the clause before the comma…the whole thing.

O.K., Ma.  I’ll read it to you:  “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  It says the state has a right to keep an armed militia.  You are not a militia.  And you cannot quote the second amendment by reading the last clause and pretending the first one doesn’t exist.

You bet I’m for gun control, especially after this conversation.  I bet the ground hog’s family is for it too.

No, it’s not that simple.  You do not have to have a gun to shoot the vandals.  The telephone is your best weapon.  Call 911.

You really think you are going to outdraw some experienced street kid?

Wait a minute…you got me off the track again.  The gun went off twice – yes, I know, by itself.  But for whatever reason, it went off and if people had been downstairs they could now be dead.

It doesn’t matter that the pellets hit the dryer, it could have been me.

I know I wouldn’t be doing your laundry….

Look, I’m going to call up every time before I come over….and if I’m worried because I can’t reach you, I’m not coming.  I’m only 63, I don’t want to die.

How can you get so mad when you’ve already had two accidents?

I don’t want to hear any more about the Second Amendment.

Yes, I’m sure Scalia would – yes he probably would write the majority opinion  – BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT.

I want you to give up your gun.

What do you mean, “take it away?”  You’d shoot me before I got to it.  I want you to volunteer to give it up.  You can take it to the police station and ask them to find a nice home for it.

Most people your age are not arguing with their children about shooting guns and driving white convertibles.

No.  I don’t want to talk about it.  I don’t want to talk about the white convertible.

(Originally written in 1994)

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