Fuck, you forgot that it’s Mother’s Day, didn’t you? And now you’re thinking of trying to play it off with a quick phone call and an impromptu recitation of a found poem you’ve cobbled together from an old modernism anthology that you only half-read. Your mom will see right through that, of course, and she’ll be pissed that you made her listen to a bunch of garbled Marianne Moore animal poems. It doesn’t have to be like this, though.
You still have time to cobble together a gift that doesn’t thoroughly suck, or at least a gift that sucks in an inoffensive, ignorable way. Not a lot of time, but the sun is still shining and that means that there’s a retailer somewhere that will be happy to sell you some hastily selected crap. Or you can just get your mom nothing, in which case, I mean, fine, whatever, she is your mother after all, but presents are a two-way street once you become an adult, and you don’t want to cheat yourself out of a really thoughtful gift in the future. Think of yourself this Mother’s Day and get your mom a nice-enough gift that will merit some reciprocal gift in the future. Maybe a new computer or something. That’d be pretty nice, wouldn’t it?
Wine, Like a Whole Box of It
This shouldn’t be a problem if you live in a really boozy state like Louisiana, where you can just scoot over to your local gas station and buy a boxed bladder of wine. If your state has stricter booze laws, well, you’re either about to learn how to make your wine out of vinegar, Welch’s grape juice, and Yankee know-how, or you’re going to learn an important lesson in planning ahead.
A Nice Pen with Some Nice Stationary
Maybe you don’t live with your mom anymore (congratulations, btw, on your hard-earned independence). If you get your mom some tasteful writing implements, you can say something like, “So we can be pen pals, Mom! Email is too impersonal to tell you how much I love you.” This could backfire, of course, leaving your mom feeling slighted that her ungrateful child thinks she’s too bewildered by technology to use a computer.
A Tribute Tumblr
Oh, I know — you could be all like, “Hey, MOM! Here’s this WHOLE WEBSITE I made just for you,” and then send her the url to your tumbler [mom’s name and social security number] is awesome.tumblr.com. This will probably only work if your mom isn’t super-familiar with the Internet, and it also means that now you have to tend to a tumblr regularly enough so that your mom doesn’t call you frantically late one night screaming, “Child of Mine, my Tumble hasn’t been Tumbling recently — I THINK THE INTERNET IS BROKEN!”
Um, Some Candy or Something?
Does your mom like candy? Because you can pretty much buy candy anywhere, and (bonus) it’s cheap. You can buy a whole trunk load of candy for the price of a meal for two at Friendly’s. Or, hey-o, you can take your mom to fucking Friendly’s and get a flotilla of assorted ice creams.
An Old Book That’s ‘Signed by the Author’
I’m not suggesting that your mom isn’t sharp — she probably is. In fact, she’s probably way sharper than you, which is why this might be the most effective weapon in your gift-giving arsenal. Odds are, your mom is will see right through your last-minute gift. She’ll know that you procrastinated, and then she’ll be mad at you for trying to unload a bunch of candy at her house under the pretense of doing something special for her. A mom is like a bloodhound for bullshit, but you can use that against her. Find a nasty, old book (this will work better with a hardcover published within the author’s lifetime) and sign it as if you’re the author. “Here, Mom — I just happened upon this super-rare edition of This Side of Paradise signed by F. Scott Fitzgerald himself! The old man at the bookstore was really helpful — he sold it to me for quite a discount at $150!” If you strike the right note of callowness, your mom will look at the amateurish forgery and feel so sorry for you that she’ll just accept the fact that her kid is a well-meaning buffoon.
A Pet, Like from the Street
Now that you and your siblings have (fingers crossed) left home, your mom is feeling lonely. Who will she criticize about improper bed-making techniques? On whose behalf will she purchase funny socks? An orphaned animal, that’s who. People love surprise pets — just ask anyone who’s ever been saddled with the responsibility of caring for another living thing as it learns (slowly) not to soil itself.
Flowers from a Despised Neighbor’s Yard
On your way to your rendezvous with your mom for whatever Mother’s Day thing you have planned, rip some really nice flowers from the yard of a neighbor who has always annoyed her. Be like, “Hey, Mom — gotcha some flowers from Mr. Fuckwad’s yard!” The two of you can then indulge in a vengeful laugh.
Image via AP, Eduardo Verdugo