the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: mothers (Page 1 of 2)

Mom, Are You a Feminist?


I’m eating some chicken soup my mother made (yes, true!) while reading an article online, when I decide to ask my mother the big question that will finally decide the course of Western history.

Me:  Mom, are you a feminist?

Mom:  Uh, what do you mean?

Me:   Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Mom:    Well, I always worked as a woman.

Me:   That doesn’t mean you are a feminist. Do you believe in equal pay for men and women?

Mom:    Yes.

Me:   And do you believe that both a man and a woman can be the boss?

Mom:    Of course. I was an office manager.

Me:   Will you vote for a woman president?

Mom:    Sure. Like Hillary Clinton. But it’s not like I’m going to vote for that Kardashian woman just because she’s a woman.

Me:  Do you think a feminist should look a certain way?  Like not wear lipstick or shave her legs?

Mom:  She could do what she wants.   I mean, eventually, she’ll probably have to shave her legs at least once.  If she wants to date.  Or before her wedding.

Me:   And what do you think about the different roles of mothers and fathers?

Mom:    Well, I do believe that a parent should stay at home with a young child.

Me:   Aha!  Gotcha!  So, you think a mother should stay at home?

Mom:    No, it could be the father.

Me:  Interesting.   So it doesn’t matter?

Mom:  I think women tend to have a better touch with young kids, but if the woman makes more money than her husband, what’s the difference?  As long as one of them stays home.

Me:   Hmm… so, isn’t it a bit hypocritical considering that you didn’t follow your own rule.  You and dad both worked.  You weren’t always home for me.   Is this why I’m in therapy?

Mom:    No, you’re in therapy because you’re crazy. I DID stayed at home until you went to first grade. Don’t you remember?

Me:   Not really.

Mom:  And then when I worked in the city, you always had your Grandma Annette to go to after school in case I had to work late.

Me:   Still sounds like I was a latch-key child without a home.   I’m blaming feminism for giving me social anxiety.

Mom:    Maybe, but remember this, with both of us working, at least we were able to afford to send you to an expensive college.  Where you ended up studying poetry.

Me:   OK, well, thank you for that.   And talking about college.  Here’s a big issue today.  Do you think both men and women are equipped to study in fields such as math, science, and engineering?

Mom:    I wish YOU had studied in math, science, and engineering rather than being an English major who spends time taking photos on his iPhone.  Maybe that’s why you’re in therapy!

Me:   So you believe women belong in technology?

Mom:   Mrs. Kubota’s daughter, Grace, works in Silicon Valley and sends her mother on a cruise every year. So, yes, women can work in match, science, and engineering.

My mother goes into the kitchen.

Mom:  Would you like some more soup?

Me:   No, thanks.

Mom:    Are you sure? There’s only a little left.

Me:   Mom, we are talking feminism here.

Mom:    So, you can’t be a Jewish mother and a feminist?

Me:   OK, I’ll have some more soup.

My mother pours me some more soup.

Me:  And while we’re at it, let’s discuss cooking at home? Do you think that is more a job for a wife than a husband?

Mom:   Ha Ha, no.

Me:   So why didn’t Dad ever cook? You did all the cooking. That wasn’t fair.

Mom:    Well, that’s me marrying wrong. Or the fault of Grandma Annette for never showing your father how to make anything other than a peanut butter sandwich. That’s how it was back then. But today, men love to cook. When you watch Top Chef, half of the best chefs are men, so I sure hope they are also making dinner at home for their wives.  In fact, this weekend, I’m showing you how to make a brisket.

Me:   What about cleaning? Why do women do more of the cleaning at home? That’s also not fair.

Mom:    Now THAT has to change. The biggest scam ever created.  By men.

Me:   So you ARE a feminist?

Mom:    Yes. And I think cleaning the house equally should be the top priority.

Case Closed.   My mother is a feminist.

Too Close For Comfort

One of the first rules every writer learns is that a good character does not speak “on the nose.”  When a person says something verbally, the true message and emotion can be quite different from what the person says.  I have a highly trained ear for these types of surreptitious messages.  When some of you, particularly the mommybloggers, were commenting  on my last post about this nation’s health care problems, I could tell that, despite your well-expressed ideas, you were sending  me another, more important, message,

“Neil, I wish you would dive between my quivering thighs right now.”

I understand and appreciate that sentiment.  It is one of the reasons I keep blogging, despite not making a penny from this endeavor.   This is my salary for blogging.  I would hate to do anything that would ruin this special relationship I have with some of my female readers.

Blogging requires TOTAL honesty, and I need to be truthful about my life, despite whatever consequences it may have on my relationships with those of the opposite sex.

Fact:  You do realize that I am currently LIVING with my MOTHER, don’t you?  Yes, just like that crazy guy down the block from your house  or Norman Bates in Psycho.  There is an epic story to be told of why I am here in Queens with my mother, but it would require an entire novel, one filled with intrigue, Russian women, Hollywood parties, intellectual New Yorkers, and Chinese gangs.  Unfortunately, I have not yet finished my “book proposal” or befriended the right people.

In the past, I wrote about my mother quite often, but then a kindly male blogger friend sent me a caring email, the gist of the message being,

“Dude, stop writing about living with your mother if you ever want to get LAID again.  Take it from me, no half-decent babe wants to suck your c*ck if she knows your mother made you your dinner last night, even if she does make the best pot roast in the East Coast!  When I lived with my mother after I was fired from my job for jacking off in the executive bathroom, I never told one woman that I was actually living with my mother.  I’m not an idiot.  We would always go f*ck at her place, and I would use the excuse that we couldn’t go to my place because I was taking care of my hermit brother who had some rare illness that made him go bonkers if he saw even one strand of a woman’s hair.  This worked out so well, because sometimes women, being all emotional and shit, would f*ck me twice in one night because they were so touched by me caring for my sicko family member.”

Thank you, dear male blogging friend, for your sage advice.  I know you are right, but I take my role as WRITER seriously.  I blog with integrity.  I disclose how many freebies I get when I post my positive review of the latest Lunchables snack, so I must admit that I am living with my wonderful mother.

But things are getting to the breaking point with my mother.  Within two days of her returning from her European cruise, we have see each other… well, undressed.  The world didn’t end when this happened, and no Freudian nightmare was unleashed, but it was a sign from Heaven that it might be time to make a move.


It was two days ago.  My mother took a shower, and there was water flooding out of the bathroom and into the hallway.  We figured it was a one time event, with the shower curtain not being closed all the way.

Later that day, I took a shower, and there was water flooding again!  We could not figure out the problem, so I suggested we handle this scientifically.  Perhaps there was a leak.  I went into the shower, a towel around my waist, while my mother stood on the other side of the shower curtain.  I took off my towel, hung it on the towel rack, and turned on the water.  Tra la la, I sang some Beatles song as I showered.

Suddenly, my mother’s voice yelled out, “My god, the entire hallway is getting flooded.

I grabbed the towel from the rack, and rushed out.  Water WAS leaking out of the bathroom, creating a mess.  I ripped the towel from my waist and threw it onto the floor, desperately trying to soak up the water.

“What are you doing?” asked me mother.  “You’re naked!”

“I’m trying to stop the flooding.  What do you want me to do?  Roll in the water with my towel on?”

My mother averted her eyes as I bent down to soak up the water.  I wasn’t sure what the big deal was for her.  She had seen me naked before.   But wait — maybe not since CHILDHOOD.   Was there some unspoken tension for a grown man to appear naked in front of his mother?

Later on, I discovered what might have troubled her, and it had very little to do with her seeing my private parts.

“You’re getting so much hair on your back!” she said as she watched Bones, her favorite new show.

So, that was it.  She was not turned on by seeing a hunky young man in his prime.  She was feeling old seeing her cute little baby now with back hair and gray hairs sprouting on his chest!

Just in case you are interested.  the flooding in the shower was my mother’s fault.   The super came up and asked her if she had adjusted the shower head.  She said she is tall and adjusted the head upwards so it would hit her entire body.  This angle was good for me as well, since I am also tall.  Apparently, we had adjusted the shower head at an angle too high, so the water was shooting over the top of the curtain and out under the bathroom door into the hallway.

Problem solved.


The next part of this story will sound fake, because it will seem like too much of a coincidence, but it is absolutely true.  Remember, I vowed to always be truthful, right?

The day after the shower incident, I was watching Obama’s speech on TV when our President’s charisma influenced me to go into the kitchen and make a grilled cheese sandwich.  My mother was getting ready to go play mah jongg with her friends at a neighbor’s apartment.  As I passed by the hallway en route to the kitchen, there was my mother — topless, putting on her bra!

“Oops,” she said, covering herself up.

“Why are you getting dressed here?” I asked.

“I was in a rush.  And I didn’t like my other bra.”

I was embarrassed for both of us, but in all honesty, it wasn’t THAT big a deal.  And maybe there SHOULD be a Playboy/AARP edition.  Just saying.

“Now we’re even,” I said to her as I passed, referring to how she saw me naked the previous day.

Motherhood Advice

For years, I have been jealous of the power of the mothers online. Why do they get all the attention and freebies?  I’m a competive person, and I’ve been scratching my head for months, trying to come up with some gimmick that would beat these arrogant bloggers at their own game.  And then. the idea came to me.  Eureka!  Why not start a mommyblog, make it 100x better than everyone else’s, sell advertising, and become a big success?

I can hear you laughing.

“He’s not a mom!” you say, snickering.  “How can he compete with ME and steal my advertisers?”

Here’s where I pull the rabbit from my sleeve.

Her name is Elaine Kramer.  She is a mother.  My mother.

Compared to your measly knowledge of motherhood, she has DECADES OF EXERIENCE.  If you need a heart transplant, do you want the fresh-faced kid one year out of medical school OR the VETERAN who has seen and done it all?  Mommybloggers love to give advice, when in reality they know SHIT.  Big deal — you can pick up some poop.  My mother knows about picking up the poop, sending her son off to pre-school, being a WAHM, being a SAHM, arranging birthday parties, dealing with a husband, catching her son playing with himself in the bathroom, seeing a child going off to college, seeing him getting married, AND seeing him getting separated?

THE REST OF YOU ARE POSEURS compared to my mother!

Have any parenting issues?  Get all your answers at my new blog, Motherhood Advice.  THE BEST AND MOST COMPLETE MOMMYBLOGGING BLOG IN THE BLOGOSPHERE.  Don’t be a sucker and read blogs by neophytes who don’t know a a mother’s tit from a teenager’s fit!  Why not choose someone with years of experience?!   My mother!

Advertisers welcome.  Please attend the Motherhood Advice Party at BlogHer, sponsored by Streit’s Matzoh.

(I probably am too lazy to actually start this blog, but ask my mother a puzzling parenting question and I’ll get her to answer one of the questions for you in the next post)

Mom Dearest

Have you noticed that I have gone from writing about Sophia every day on my blog to writing my mother? Does this mean that my existence completely revolves around the woman I happen to be sharing my space with at the time?

Don’t answer.

In a week from today, my mother is going to retire from her job at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishers.  She has worked with the company since before she was married, and has seen drastic changes in the publishing industry over the decades.  What does this mean to you, my dear blogger friends?  This means you have one more week to suck up to me, thinking that somehow I can help you get your sleep-inducing “memoir” read by the company’s editor-in-chief.  After that, you can stop reading this blog because I will be useless to you.

My mother does not like the Florida senior early-bird dinner lifestyle, but her friends have pressured her to sublet an apartment in “Century Village” in Boca Raton for three months this winter so she can try it out.  Yes, she has officially become like Seinfeld’s mother.

This creates a dilemma. Do I stay here during the winter while she is in Florida?

Am I ever going back to Los Angeles?

Is there a direct connection between me returning to New York and the immediate collapse of Wall Street?

Imaginary Phone Conversation Between Sophia and My Mother
a one act play by Neilochka

Mom:  How DID you live with him for so long?

Sophia:  Now do you see what I was talking about?

Mom:  And every night it is the same thing!  He watches All My Children, yelling at the TV, saying “Don’t do it, Erica!” and then he locks himself in his room for an hour, making all these weird grunting sounds, like a caveman.  What does he do in there?”

Sophia:  You don’t want to know.  If I were you, I’d get away from him this winter before he makes you crazy.  Go anywhere.  Go to Florida.

Mom:  I hate Florida.

Sophia:  Well, it’s your choice.  Florida in the sun or three long months with…

Mom:  Hola, Boca!  Will you come visit?

Sophia:  Sure.  And I won’t tell him!

The two women laugh.


Yeah, I know I am funny.   But, the only reason I have a sense of humor is because my mother is funnier.

After reading my last post, she bought me this as a gift:

Meeting Mother Kramer

Hi, my name is ACG. My blog is Anonymous City Girl. I live in Philadelphia. On Sunday, I had plans to come into New York. I had a brunch date with some guy I met on Jdate. I wanted to make a weekend out of it, but I wasn’t sure where to stay. I certainly didn’t feel comfortable staying over at my date’s place. After all, I’m not that type of girl. Or at least I’m not that type of girl since March.

I was chatting with Neil about my trip, when he said, “If you want, you can stay the night in Queens with us!” I immediately said yes. I figured Neil was safe. After all, he lived with his mother, and I’ve always had questions about his sexual orientation. I’m not even convinced that the “photo” of Sophia on Flickr is really his wife. I’ve seen that same photo in an advertisement for a penile enhancement pill in my brother’s Maxim magazine.

Neil picked me up in Chinatown (I used the Chinatown bus from Philly). We had a great lunch at some cafe in the Village, and then we took the subway into Queens. In Forest Hills, we went to the movies and had some dessert at a bakery. Then it was time to head into Flushing — I was excited to see Neil’s apartment in Flushing. While New York City has many famous sites — the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, I have little interest in visiting those tourist traps. They “mean” nothing to me. But imagine the thrill as I gazed at some of the actual locations that I knew so vividly from reading my favorite blog, Citizen of the Month! There, right in front of me, was the famous supermarket where a car crashed into a window two weeks ago and Neil was there to take eyewitness photos. I saw the pizzeria which has the photo of Fran Drescher. I stood in awe, taking multiple photos, of the ACTUAL McDonald’s where Neil goes in the morning for his cup of coffee! I could almost see him, scribbling away at his latest post on the back of a napkin. And who can ever forget his wondrous stories of this McDonald’s — the customer who called the cashier a “bitch” after she gave him change of a dollar in nickels or the inept franchise manager who is so stingy she only gives one ketchup packet to each customer.

But what most captured my imagination was being able to meet Neil’s mother — in person.

“It feels like I already know her from reading your wonderful blog,” I told Neil as we went up the elevator. “What should I call her? Elaine? Mrs. Kramer.”

“No! Never call her that,” he said sternly. “You must call her Mother Kramer. And you must never look her directly in the eyes when you address her.”

His warning seemed odd, especially after we rang the doorbell, and it was opened by a kind-looking woman with an open face and white curly hair.

“Hello, Mother,” said Neil, meekly, and he hugged his mother. I thought the hug went on a little too long for a mother and son, as Mother Kramer pulled her thin son excessively close to her large bosom. There was an intimacy to the embrace that made me uncomfortable.

Since Neil seemed distracted, I decided to introduce myself.

“Hello, Mother Kramer. My name is ACG.”

She ignored me, and slowly closed the door, locking it with a chain.

The rest of the night went relatively smoothly, mostly because I was left alone in Neil’s old bedroom. I was not offered any food or drink, and I did not see Mother Kramer again. Neil’s room was comfortable, although it seemed strange that so little had changed throughout the years. When I moved out of my childhood room, my parents quickly tossed out my furniture and turned the space into a “entertainment room.” Neil’s mother kept his room looking like a shrine. An old Aerosmith poster sat unevenly on the wall, the edges fraying and the scotch tape yellow. A trophy for “Third Place, Queens County Spelling Bee” sat prominently on the dresser. Hanging from the doorknob was a pair of Neil’s first baby shoes. Every report card from the 1st Grade to 6th Grade was lined up on one of the shelves of the bookcase, stacked like dominos, next to what seems to be every Curious George book ever published. In the corner of the room was Neil’s actual baby crib, displayed like a relic at a museum. As the air-conditioning blew its cold air, the old wood crib would rock slowly, as did the mobile of Muppet characters hanging from the ceiling, which played a Muzak version of “Seasons in the Sun.” I shut the air-conditioning, despite the heat, because the ghostly sounds were freaking me out.

I opened the door to get some fresh air, and I could hear Neil and his mother arguing in the kitchen, or rather Neil being berated by the domineering woman.

“Who is that girl?” she demanded.

“She’s just a friend.”

“They never want to be JUST friends.”

“She’s just a blogger. I don’t even know her that well.”

“That’s exactly what you said about Sophia, and look what happened?! Do your really want another gold-digging floozy sinking her claws into you?”

“But Sophia… and ACG… are not like that!”

“All women are like that. I tried to warn you about Sophia, but you didn’t listen. All women want you, Neil. Don’t you see. You are special. You are very special. You are my one and only. They all want to take you AWAY FROM ME!”

“Mother, I love you. No one can ever…”

“You want me to move to Florida, don’t you? Then you’ll take this apartment and make it your own. Bring in some sleazy hootchie mama to suck you dry. I saw the way you were looking at ACG’s cleavage!”

“Shh, Mother. Keep it quiet. She’ll hear.”

“Did she give birth to you, raise you, wipe your little heinie when you were little? Did she ever make you Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from the box?”


“Of course not. She doesn’t love you. No woman can love you like I do. These sluts just want you for your body. To use you for their sordid, sinful, sexual desires. But only I really care for you. Are you hungry?”

“A little.”

“Sit down, Neil. How would you like me to make you some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese right now? Or some Chunky Soup? Would you like that Neil?”

“Yes, Mother.”

It was at this point that I quietly shut the door and the lights, and tried to go to sleep, unsure how much of the “truth” behind Neilochka I should reveal to his readers.

Truth Quotient: 12% — ACG did stay over Saturday night.  My mother did make me Kraft Macaroni and Cheese last week.   All women do want me.

(sorry, ACG.  But I said I was gonna write it!)

Why You All Suck Compared to My Mother

Email this morning:

Subject:  Call Me!

From:  Elaine Kramer

Call me when you get up.  Want to know how you feel.   Are you still coughing and sneezing?  Are you taking any medicine?  I worry about you.   My direct phone number is 1-212-xxx- xxxx or you can call 1-212-xxx-xxxx and get Audrey at the desk who will connect me with you, or you can call me on the cellphone at 1-718-xxx-xxxx, or later at home at 1-718-xxx-xxxx.

Your mother

A Year Ago On Citizen of the Month:  Talking Guns with NSC

Outdone by My Mother


The bad thing about having insecurities is that you always looking at the external world, comparing yourself to others.   Today I skipped all blog posts that were about romantic Valentine’s Days.  Was I happy for these lucky bloggers and their contentment with their significant others?  Of course I… oh, who am I fooling.  Bastards.

No matter whatever good happens, a truly negative person only sees that the next person is better off.  I told a friend from film school that I have been taking with this producer about some story idea.  He reminded me about our mega-successful friend who is directing a film with Nicolas Cage.  Jerk.

Thank God for mothers.  Whatever you do, they always put you first.   A mother always makes her son feel like a Prince.   Today I was talking to my mother about my interview post.  She is astounded that so many people have gotten involved. 

“And who’s interviewing YOU?”  she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know.  I’ll probably just put my name at the bottom of the list and let it be random like everyone else.”

“That’s nice.” she said, in her sweet voice.  “I’m being interviewed tomorrow, too.”

“Oh yeah?” I said, laughing.  “Who’s interviewing you?  The Flushing chapter of Hadassah?”

“No, tomorrow, a woman is coming to interview me at work.  From “The New Yorker” magazine.”

“The New Yorker?!”  You’re joking.”

“Why would I be joking.”

“No offense, Mom, but why would “The New Yorker” — one of the most prestigious magazines out there — want to interview you?”

“Well, maybe you need to re-read your “interview” post again where you say that “everybody” is a “somebody.”

The story: 

My mother has worked for one company her entire life, starting the job before she was even married.   It is the literary book publisher of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  Although she isn’t an editor or someone with much decision making power, she has been working there since the days when the company had just a handful of employees, lead by the firm’s founder, Roger W. Straus.   Since then, the company has published twenty-one Nobel Prizes winners in literature. Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, T. S. Eliot, Pär Lagerkvist, François Mauriac, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Salvatore Quasimodo, Nelly Sachs, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Elias Canetti, William Golding, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Brodsky, Camilo José Cela, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney.

With most of the original staff having either passed away or retired, my MOTHER is now apparently the longest-active employee of the famous company.  She has seen the rise and fall of authors and agents, the birth of the mega book stores, the changes in book publishing, and the inevitable growth of the conglomerates eating up the independents.  And The New Yorker wants to ask her a few questions for some general interest article on the firm and book publishing!

Perfect.  I’m going to be interviewed by some dumb random blogger, while my MOTHER is going to be interviewed by The New Yorker!   (Mom, remember to tell her about the blog!  “Citizen of the Month”)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:   A Merry Tale of Whale Watching

One Mother, One Day, Four Messages


“Hi, I just read your post about the coffee shop.  Very funny.  OK, that’s it.  It’s cold today.  Bye.”

“Hi, it’s me again.  They’re going to paint the house on Monday.  They’re doing the bathroom in “Lime.”  That’s light green.  They’re doing the living room in “Ivory.”  That’s white.  I don’t know why they call it “Ivory.”  And they’re doing one wall in the kitchen “American Cheese.”  OK, it’s slow at work today.  Bye.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.  “American Cheese” is orange.  Funny, right?  Because I don’t even like American cheese!”

“Hi, I just read your poem.  I didn’t understand it.  What does it mean in English?  Call me.”


A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month:   Why I am Against Interracial Relationships

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