Build a Jewish Mother GPS

June 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM 3 comments

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Nothing has ever been more motivating than my mother’s voice in my head, especially the voice from my childhood that told me I would never amount to anything if I didn’t listen to her. This is the voice that once said, “You have watched quite enough TV. Go read a book!” And “What man is going to marry such a slob? Go clean your room!” The delivery may have been harsh, but the results are undebatable: I read a lot of books and I keep a tidy home.

My son would tell you that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. I have reamed him out plenty for wasting time on his many gadgets and for being a monumental slob.

“What woman is going to put up with your mess?” I say.

The question never goes unanswered. “Are you saying I’m never going to get married?”

“I didn’t say that. Did I say that?”


“I was just asking a rhetorical question.”

“I’ll be neat for my wife.”

“Be neat for me!”

“What’s your point?”

My mother would know the point, but I get so rattled, I don’t even remember anymore.

Supportive and affirming

The truth is, I possess many of the softer maternal habits associated with my self-esteeming generation and I am more likely to be “supportive” and “affirming” at the slightest sign of initiative my son takes: “I love how you moved that pile of laundry into the corner!”

“Thanks, mom!”

Harmony abounds in our home. If you like that sort of thing.

You see, I can’t help but think that a little negative reinforcement now and then acts as a healthy spur to self-improvement. Speaking for myself, it would serve me well if my mother could hurl a bit of well-timed ridicule at me in at least two areas of my life: Driving and socializing.

Alas, my mother cannot accompany me while I drive or while I attempt some awkward chatter at the occasional party. So, I would like to throw out a challenge to the software development community to come up with a Jewish Mother GPS that will capture the best (or is it the worst?) of the deprecatory voice that has made me the neat, book-reading adult I am today.

Here’s how the Jewish Mother GPS might work on the road.

Itinerary 1: “You’ve driven here how many times and you still get lost? You were supposed to make a right at Englewood, not a left. Recalculating, idiot!”

Itinerary 2: “What do you mean you just ‘spaced out?’ Turn around and get on the ramp. No, you, numbskull! The ramp, not Route 4!”

Itinerary 3: “Riverside? I thought you meant Riverside, California, not Riverside Avenue. It’s too late! You missed your chance! You’re never going to get there!”

For nostalgia’s sake, it would be nice if the coders could throw in a Yiddish word here and there, such as schmendrick and paskudnyak;  big nobody and lowdown cur, respectively.

Here’s how the Jewish Mother GPS might work at a party.

Itinerary 1: “You think somebody’s going to talk to you if you sit like a lump in the corner all night? Get up, you socially maladroit flunky, and schmooze!”

Itinerary 2: “Who says every conversation has to be about James Joyce? If they want to talk about teeth, talk about teeth. Recalculating!”

Itinerary 3: “Only a fool brings up politics at a party. Go left! No, go right! Nitwit! Just stay where you are!”

Bulvan (vulgarian) might be sweet here.

How much unnecessary complication I could avoid if only I had a Jewish Mother GPS! Please, lady and gentleman software people. Start your engines!


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Entry filed under: Bookpod, Family, Travel. Tags: , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara Bennett  |  June 28, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    I’m only getting to this now. Hilarious and poignant.

  • 2. Urban Renaissance  |  June 30, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    I love this idea. If you extend this just a bit, this can become the Jewish mother replanner, not just the Jewish mother GPS! We could carry our Jewish mothers with us for ever!

    (I don’t know if that would be comforting or horrifying.)

  • 3. fakhikid  |  August 4, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    My friend and I have been talking about this particular subject, this is great site and nice text. I will add to my bookmarks, Thank you.


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