“Advanced Mother-in-Lawing: Under-handed Methods for Maintaining the Upper Hand,” by Mickie Winkler

Oct 26th, 2016 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Who is the most reviled human being? Who is the brunt of the unkindest jokes? The title gives us away. It’s the mother-in-law.

In this lecture I will not propose that we mother-in-laws feebly protest our bad reputation. Hell no. I say, let’s get born again into society’s stereotype. Let’s use it to get the benefits we so obviously deserve. Above all, let’s help our children expunge those feelings of guilt towards us now, while we’re living, rather than suffer those unfixable feelings of guilt when we’re gone.

Let’s get started with my 10 point program now.

SET GOALS: Goal-setting is key. For example, the mother-in-law who wants to be fondly remembered will act very differently from the one who doesn’t care what people think of her after she’s dead.

Goals must be specific. A goal of “having children love you” is vague and useless. Consider instead the goal of having children demonstrate love by, say, maintaining your car. It’s advantageous to have big maintenance goals for two reasons. First, your children will remove those daily annoyances from your life right now. And second, the more maintenance they do while you are living remotely, the less resistance they will offer when you announce that you’re moving in with them.

MAXIMIZE CONTROL: Money is always a major control factor. If you don’t have money, don’t despair. Just pretend you do.

Instant fortune can be achieved in several ways. If you’re lazy, just claim you won the lottery. If you’re adventurous, attribute your fortune to casino winnings. Assure your children you didn’t tell them earlier because you’re ashamed of your addiction to gambling. Guaranteed. Your children will attempt to make your life more interesting. They will not want to see you lose that fortune by gambling any more.

Will claims of making “it big” be believable? You bet. Scientific research proves that if your kids believed in the holy gift-giver, Santa Claus, they’ll believe in the promise of a big inheritance too. You can explain your continued dowdy appearance and broken-down furniture by the age-old and effective assertion: “I don’t want to be frivolous. I’m saving it all for you.”

MEASURE SUCCESS: You’ll know your strategy is working by the size of the presents you receive on your birthday and your anniversary (or anniversaries, depending on how many husbands you’ve had). But avoid complacency. Keep your kids alert and anxiety ridden. Which brings us to part 4 of the program.

REPLACE GUILT WITH FEAR: We hear every day about scams practiced on unwitting elderly women. Become one. You are sure to get attention by saying, “I met the nicest man coming out of the bank. He offered to handle my financial affairs for me.” When guilt no longer works, fear does—providing your kids think that your money is actually theirs.

PRACTICE UNPREDICTABILITY: Eccentric behavior becomes a “rich,” widowed mother-in-law like yourself. Try leaving a $100 tip at a restaurant. When your kids protest, say assertively “I liked the service.” or, to arouse even more alarm say, with surprise, “$100?? Oh. I thought I was leaving just $1.”

My mom doesn’t do things like that. Is your child’s career sensitive to public opinion? The answer is affirmative if s/he holds public office or works for a bank. In that case, it’s time to dispel the arcane notion that “my mom doesn’t do things like that.” Yes she does. And she does it in front of lots of people. She proves her command of obscene language at local town meetings. She brags about her sexual prowess on call-in shows. Not only does “she do those things,” but she will continue to unless her children fill her needs.

ATTACH STRINGS: Take a clue from America’s foreign policy: give aid so you can take it away. Paying a percentage of the mortgage provides marvelous leverage. Or, make contributions to the local symphony in the name of your children.  Nobody, not even your musically illiterate offspring, wants their names removed from the prestigious playbill list.

Your sons may be pot-bellied. Your daughters may be post menopausal. Their spouses may be sick or gone. Age is no matter. They are never too old to be bought.

SIBLING RIVALRY, PROMOTE IT. Remember how you used to wish your children would stop fighting? If you take this program seriously, those days are gone. Never miss the opportunity to instigate competition, not just among siblings, but among their spouses and your grandchildren as well. To the winner goes the alleged spoils.

BE PATIENT: There are inevitably times in the best of Advanced Mother-In-Lawing, when patience is required and you must go with the flow, like when your children claim to be in love. And this may happen all too frequently as they bumble from one marriage to the next. But be assured:  their love, like the gold-plate on the chain that your late husband gave you, will eventually wear off.

GIVE THEM HOPE: You have moved in with your children. One bedroom and one bathroom in their house is now yours. You have commandeered the telephone, often by claiming that the “doctor is about to call back.” But you notice a certain impatience setting in on their part. The last time you rummaged through their bedroom, you found the phone book opened to the “Nursing-Home” page. Now is the time to give them hope that your demise is imminent. Cite your parents or grandparents who died young. Put your living will on the bulletin board forbidding any major operations (but be careful– do not, sign it). Complain a lot about nondescript problems. Share your wonderful dreams of heaven with them.

AND WHATEVER ELSE YOU DO, STAY FOCUSED ON THE HERE AND NOW: If you take your mother-in-lawing seriously, you will be well attended for life. As for post life, like after the will is read? Take advanced heart in knowing that you will always be remembered, even if not revered.


Defenestration-Mickie WinklerMickie Winkler is frequently published by Amazon.com in its product review sections (which is translated into 96 languages). She plans to graduate from Stanford Law School in 2020, if her application there is accepted. She says: “I have been creating fiction since I could speak, and have gotten into much trouble for so doing.”

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