Basketball tournament season is in full swing, and you know what that means: My mother will be out of her gourd between now and the time the last championship net is cut, sometime in July or August.
Not that she isn’t out of her gourd the rest of the year, too. It’s just that basketball tournaments turn up the volume, you might say.
For those of you hoping to converse with Mom at any time a basketball game is being played, good luck. You might as well give it up now. There are 3,176 television channels devoted to basketball, and my mother’s satellite dish pulls in every single one of them. If she’s not watching a live game, she’s watching a rerun. Unless she’s watching highlights. Or a classic game from the past. As long as it’s basketball, Mom’s tuned in, which means tuning out everything else.
Mom’s basketball viewing preferences are, in order, Indiana University; any other university in the State of Indiana which happens to be in the same conference as IU; any other university or college in Indiana; any other university in the Big Ten; any other university in the Midwest; any other university in the continental United States; the rest of the world; and the NBA.
A viewing schedule like hers leaves very little time for eating and sleeping, much less answering the telephone when her loving elder son calls. Still, she has been known to absentmindedly pick up the phone while watching a game.
Mom (distracted): Hello.
Me: Hi, Mom.
Mom: Oh, hi. Hold on a minute. Traveling! He traveled! What’s wrong with these refs? Why don’t they call traveling anymore?
Me: I don’t know, Mom.
Mom: Well, he traveled.
Me: Speaking of travel, Mom, I …
Mom: Hold on a minute. Oh my God, how could he miss that? He was right under the basket by himself!
Me: Mom, is there someone there with you?
Mom: No, I’m just watching the game.
Me: I see. Well, anyway, Mom, about traveling …
Mom: Hold on a minute. That’s the way! Don’t let him take that shot! Jam that ball right down his …
Mom: Oh, hi. I forgot you were there.
Me: Right, Mom. Look I just called to say hello and tell you I’m going to travel to …
Mom: Hold on a minute. (Places me on hold and then comes back on.)
Can you call back later? Mike’s on the other line, and I’m watching basketball.
Me: Mom, it’s me.
Mom: Well, they’ll call back. It’s almost halftime. Oh! Did you see that? Why can’t anyone hit free throws anymore?
Me: I don’t know Mom. Look, the reason I called …
Mom: What were you saying? Did you go somewhere?
Me (grasping the end of my rope): No, Mom. I was going to tell you I’m going to sell all my worldly possessions and move to Tanzania to spend the rest of my life playing the ukulele at bus stations.
Mom (still distracted): OK, well, call me when you get there. Oh, my! That’s three 3-pointers for that kid! I have to go. Nice talking to you!
And so on.
P.S. No, I’m not really going to play the ukulele in Tanzania. Don’t tell Mom, though. I want to see what happens when she realizes what I said. That should happen sometime in July.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.